View From The Fairway - Flexible Members Are Spending More at Golf Clubs
Golfshake's Derek Clements addresses several key topics and headlines in his latest View From The Fairway!
GOLF clubs across the UK are enjoying the spoils of flexible members, as players are regularly spending on average £10 at their ‘home’ pro-shop before each round. The good news for club pro shops doesn't end there; PlayMoreGolf members are also spending an additional £197 per year on upgrading their clubs, trollies, and GPS devices. Making the most of on-site expertise and pro-shop knowledge before purchasing. The research was gathered from 1,200 of PlayMoreGolf's 14,000 members to understand their pre-round habits and secondary spending when playing at home. PlayMoreGolf is the UK's largest flexible membership offering and works with more than 250 golf clubs in the UK.
- 84% of PlayMoreGolf members spend up to £9.24 per round played in the pro shop
- 20% of members spend on average £197 on upgrading their golf kit per year
- 18% spend more than £100 per year on lessons with PGA professionals at their home club
Whilst some clubs are looking to bolster the traditional member category, golf clubs are already reporting that course occupancy is returning to pre-pandemic levels. The challenge for clubs into 2022 is generating alternative revenue streams to the club and generating sales in the club pro shop as well as through food and drink. Data released at the start of 2021 by PlayMoreGolf shows that members contribute more than £2m of food and beverage revenue at our 250 partner clubs (roughly £12 per round). Plus, 70% use their points to play on multiple UK golf courses - underscoring the importance of flexible memberships to boosting the bottom line at UK courses.
Alastair Sinclair, CEO, PlayMoreGolf, said: “2022 is going to be a challenging environment for golf courses as we return to pre-pandemic levels in terms of course usage. For clubs to stay competitive they must welcome a wide range of players and look to utilise those who are willing to travel and spend money in their pro shop, restaurant, and bar. This is why flexible members are still an important part of the golf club eco-system.”
THE R&A and USGA have announced that, from January 1, driver shafts will be limited to 46 inches. It is a move designed to curb the vast distances being achieved by leading tour professionals but the reality is that it will make little or no difference. If you doubt it, think back to the Ryder Cup, when Bryson DeChambeau smashed a drive recorded at more than 400 yards while using a driver with a 46-inch shaft. If golf's governing bodies really want to reduce distance then they have to do something about either the golf ball, the size of driver heads or the lofts permitted on drivers. The truth is that they do not want to face litigation from the club and ball manufacturers and putting a limit on shaft lengths is the easy way out.
IF YOU want proof that golf is in rude health you need look no further than the news that The Belfry has just been sold to investment bank Goldman Sachs for a cool £140m. They had to fend off a rival bid from bond fund manager Pimco to secure the four-time Ryder Cup venue and its attached hotel. Believe me when I tell you that Goldman Sachs would not be investing such a huge sum of money unless they were convinced they could make money on their investment. You can also be pretty certain that they will be spending more money to improve what is already a very impressive facility.
ANOTHER reminder that we are still in the middle of a pandemic comes with the announcement of the field for this week’s Zozo Championship. It is being played in Japan and a host of top American and European players have decided that travelling halfway across the world is simply not worth the risk, including defending champion Patrick Cantlay. The 78-man tournament has no 36-hole cut and a prize fund of around $10m but Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy et al have decided to put their feet up and stay at home. And it is hard to blame them.
YOU may have missed the news that the ANA Inspiration, the first women’s major of the season, has a new sponsor. From 2023 it will become the Chevron Championship and it will no longer be played at Mission Hills. One of the great traditions of women’s golf is that the winner of this tournament leaps into Poppie’s Pond, beside the 18th green. Next year is the last time that will happen as the tournament is expected to move to Texas. It turns out that, even with the majors, money talks. The LPGA has welcomed Chevron's input because it is boosting the prize fund from $3.1m to $5m in a six-year deal. It is a question of simple economics. Nothing more, nothing less.
A tribute to Renton Laidlaw: 1939 - 2021.— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 14, 2021
In the thoughts of everyone at the European Tour. pic.twitter.com/OqR2GezDP2
I HAD the pleasure of meeting Renton Laidlaw several times and it was with great sadness that I learnt of his death at the age of 82. He was a titan of golf broadcasting and journalism and a true gentleman. Laidlaw spent much of his life working for the BBC and reported on 58 Open Championships and 42 Masters. He had an an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game and a wonderful sense of humour. "Renton's knowledge, insight, wit and wonderfully distinctive voice made him an immensely popular figure in golf and sport in general," said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers. "He was admired by so many of us who grew up listening to his commentary or reading his reports from The Open and the other major championships. Renton made a remarkable contribution to golf over a long and successful career. He will be greatly missed by players and fans throughout the world and by his many friends in The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.” He will be sadly missed.
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