Where Senior Golfers Stand in the Game - What You Said
Prior to the current surge of play in golf and the growth of golf membership that we are seeing across the country, which has come in the aftermath of the COVD-19 pandemic sending shockwaves around the world, we ran a short survey following the publishing of the article below which focused on the attitudes of golfers, specifically with regards to senior golf.
Golfshake writer and a senior golfer himself, Derek Clements took the time to review the findings and break down the key questions, stats and analysis from the survey completed by over 2,000 avid golfers.
THE average age of club golfers is on the increase - that is a fact. And it is also highlights the struggles the game is facing in attracting younger players.
It has been proposed in some quarters that senior golfers, who play more golf than anybody else, should pay more, but you disagreed. And resoundingly so. Only 5.8% of you said that the over-55s should be asked to pay more for their annual subscriptions than other age categories.
We also asked you if seniors who have been club members for more than 30 years should be given reduced subscriptions. This is something that many golf clubs already do, and, overall 62% of you were in favour of this, with 27% believing that they should be charged more. Interestingly when analysed based on membership status only 56% of club golfers said yes compared to 70% of the non club golfers. Breaking this question down further into age categories 59% of the under 35s said yes, 30% said no. 65% of the 35-54 age group said yes with 23% no. And bizarrely slightly less of the over 55s age group, 61%, said yes with 29% saying no.
There is a feeling within the game that seniors hold up play and cause delays but 70% of you didn’t agree, with only 18% believing that they are responsible for slow play.
But perhaps the most interesting response came when we asked you if seniors are the lifeblood of your golf club. Remember that these are people who play the most golf and, by definition, probably spend more money in the clubhouse than any other age group. But only 51% of you agreed, with 24% saying no and 25% telling us that they were unsure. Many of you say that juniors are the lifeblood of any golf club and while we all clearly want that to be the case, attracting juniors remains a serious issues for most.
We asked if you thought seniors were the lifeblood and your responses were varied:
“All they do is buy a cup of tea - and then slink off when it is their turn to buy a round.”
“They can be the death of some clubs.”
“All members are the lifeblood”
This was a view expressed by a huge number of you. In other words, seniors are simply a part of any well-run golf club but are no more or less important than other age groups.
“They play too many matches and block tee times for other members and visitors.”
Again, this was a view that many of you shared. There is clearly a lack of tolerance for inter-club senior matches and senior days.
“Most seem to play golf and then go home, not using the clubhouse at all.”
There is actually no evidence to support the view that seniors use clubhouse facilities less than any other age group.
“They are welcoming and friendly to new members.”
“They are not the key to the successful future of any golf club.”
“They are an essential part of any golf club.”
“They can be set in their ways and struggle to move into modern times.”
“Seniors need to pass on their knowledge and experience.”
“Without them, there isn’t a members’ club anywhere that would survive.”
“Younger men have huge pressures with home and family life.”
We asked if you thought they should pay more for their golf and the vast majority of you said no.
“We have worked all our lives. Have you seen the amount of the state pension?”
“No way! They are on the course when nobody else is, like on cold Monday mornings in winter.”
“If you price them out, they will walk away. Most opt for five-day membership.”
“If you increase their fees golf courses will be deserted during the week.”
“I already contribute plenty, thank you very much.”
“I am a senior and play three times a week and contribute by spending money in the clubhouse.”
“How can you justify asking seniors to pay more?”
We also asked you if seniors who have been club members for more than 30 years should be given reduced subscriptions.
“In the past yes, but all golf clubs are struggling now.”
“I get a discount now I am over 65 and have had 20 years of membership - it’s a kind of a thank you from my club.”
“I have been going to the same petrol station for 15 years - they don’t give me a discount.”
“A scheme where they could buy life membership is a good idea.”
“Only if they use the club less frequently.”
“Seniors play more than others so already get a benefit.”
“Golf should be free for the over-85s - and also for the under-14s.”
And finally, we asked if you thought they slowed up the game. There is a perception that seniors are slow, but the vast majority of you don’t agree:
“They know when to pick up the ball and when to wave people through.”
“They don’t replace divots, rake bunkers or repair pitchmarks.”
“There are slow groups in all ages.”
“In my experience, the slowest players are juniors - they watch too much golf on TV.”
“The lack of distance in seniors golf means they find more fairways and spend less time in the rough and in the trees.”
“I am sick of hearing about slow play. It is up to golf clubs to educate their players.”
“Our senior section plays in four balls. We play ready golf and get round in under four hours. At the weekend, it is more like five hours.”
“Slow play is more likely to be from visitors and guests because they don’t know the course.”
“I am 66 and always let others through when I am grovelling around in the rough looking for a lost ball.”
“Not if they allow following groups to play through if they have lost a hole on the group in front.”
“It’s the player and their ability and awareness, not their age.”
“I don’t walk as fast as when I was younger, but my course management is much better.”
“It’s unfair to blame seniors for slow play.”
“Some are slow, but so are some younger golfers.”
“Some are downright belligerent and refuse to let others play through. It gives all ‘vets’ a bad name.”
“There are slower senior golfers at my club but they are aware of it and let others play through.”
So the good news is that, despite any perceptions that may exist, it seems that most of us are as tolerant of seniors as they are of any other age group.
What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/