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Did Your Golf Club Tell You Why It Increased Your Subscription

By: | Sun 17 Dec 2023

This article forms part of a series of articles from our 2023 end of season survey looking at golf club membership.  This is the first article looking specifically at the feedback from golf club membership and information they provided on their 2023 subscription.

INFLATION is a fact of life. And it hits golf clubs just as it has an impact on each and every one of us - and that means that increases in subscriptions are inevitable.

But do you feel that your golf club has been fair to you?

It comes as no surprise that 82% of our survey respondents saw their membership costs increase in 2023, with the average golf club membership increasing by 0-5% (42%), 32% 6-10% increase, while 16% stayed the same and 9% increased by more than 10%.  Just 2% saw their membership fee decrease. 

Golf Club Survey

Interestingly 30% of those completing the survey didn't get an explanation from their golf club on why their golf club subscriptiong had increased but whilst most of us would have expected rises, it wasn't simply down to the general inflation we are seeing throughout the economy.  The following provides feedback from the survey comments.

Forced Increases

Due to age related membership being under 30  It progressively increases each year until I am 30 and it is a full paying membership.

The age related subscription was increased by 66% to bring it in line with other clubs.

All had to be 7 day member , so my fee went up as I was 5 day

They removed a Location based County Membership that I had joined on over 10years ago now have to pay full 7 day membership rate


Many increases were down to clubs investing in their courses. Here are some of the reasons that were given:

Contribution to irrigation

Course improvements. Increase in salaries. New course machinery

Held over covid and now reinvesting in the course especially the bunkers

To maintain excellent playing surface and to have funds to invest in repairs and improvements

Inevitable Rises

Covid presented its own challenges. Many clubs rewarded their members by refusing to increase subscriptions in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown. You would expect members to be unhappy with now having to pay more but this generally doesn’t seem to be the case.

My club had held the cost of subs through covid and now had to increase them because of rising wage costs.

I honestly believe that golf club membership has been too cheap for too long and hasn't kept up with the increased costs involved with running a golf course.

They had not increased our membership for several years and with the rise in inflation they had no choice but to increase.

To be fair the club had not raised the fees for the previous two years.

New owners have improved the clubhouse and course, although more needs to be done on the course. Members are expecting a 10% increase in the cost of subs next year and for the first time ever, there is now a waiting list for new members.

Cost of living crisis affects us all and I can understand the clubs wanting to protect its finances.   Since Covid and the rapid increase in golf membership you can understand prices rising like everything else it’s supply and demand.

The cost increases that my club has incurred needed to be covered by increased membership fees. The overall membership cost is still very competitive.

Cause For Concern

There are some areas of concern.

Golf clubs seem to want to increase revenue against the membership while at the same time not charging enough to visitors. This means that tee times are not available to members as visitors seem to take priority. Retired members get great value for money while working members struggle to get tee times on a weekend and when the weather changes they take their names off the sheet at the last minute.

My experience is that most golf clubs charge seniors the same as other members. There is a perception that seniors get better value for money because they have more time on the hands and are thus able to play more golf. But it also means that they spend more money in the clubhouse. It surely cannot be right to expect retired golfers to pay more?

Our club increases the membership fees by much higher than the green fees.  It is really hard to get tee times due to the increasing number of green fees which is why we may leave.

This is another difficult one. Visitors pay green fees, spend money behind the bar and help to keep annual subscriptions in check.

It is inevitable that prices will increase. A few members at our course are saying they will leave, but the big question is to where. Most golf clubs are roughly around the same in any given area, they have to be to compete. Nomadic golf is no longer cheap, clubs are squeezing them and insisting they pay a fair market price, unless they play in the evenings when members don’t play.  Balanced against the good golf does for you both physically and mentally can you stop playing.

Look out for further articles in the coming days featuring more insights from this survey.

Related Articles

Do Golf Club Memberships Offer Value For Money

The Issues That Non-Members Want Golf Clubs to Address

Survey Reveals Attitudes And Barriers to Joining a Golf Club

The Barriers to Become a Golf Club Member


What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: industry inside golf survey golf insights

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