Top Links:

Get A Golf Handicap

UK Golf Guide

Golfshake Top 100s

Find Golf Travel Deals

Golf Competitions


Community Forum


Tee Times | Search | Reviews


Gear | Tour | Industry Insider


Video Library | Tuition Sections


Join | Log In | Help | Useful Links


The Biggest Issues That You Want Golf Clubs to Address

By: | Mon 15 Jan 2024

Whether you are currently a member or have been in the past, there is no question that golf clubs remain at the heart of the sport, serving as the bedrock that supports the recreational game across this country and beyond.

It's at these institutions where many of us were first introduced to golf, while thousands among you have spent years at the same venues building relationships and improving your handicap.

However, there are some issues that clubs need to address. With society and habits continuing to evolve, more people now greatly value flexibility and there are doubts whether a traditional model of membership will be relevant in future decades.

These days - given inflation and cost of living pressures - the rising expense of subscriptions is proving to be a concern. That was the overriding takeaway from our recent survey completed by over 4,000 golfers late last year.

Beyond that, there were other specific areas that you most wanted to see golf clubs tackle in 2024:

Communication & Customer Service

For any business, engaged and regular communication is essential. When you have a customer base of members who are naturally more connected and invested, this becomes more vital for golf clubs to successfully review feedback and ensure they are looking out for the best interests of all who are part of the club.

We take a closer look at the feedback that was submitted and what it could mean for the game going forward:

“Communication is key. Our club encourages feedback via book in reception and regularly holds member forums.”

"Member opinions matter and member satisfaction is paramount. Bringing in extra income in terms of cooperate/societies during unused times of the course and club is essential to keep subs levels reasonable."

"It's critical that club management is transparent and communicates regularly with members and actively seeks feedback on intentions prior their implementation.”

"Committees should communicate with members more thoroughly before making decisions on expenditure and course changes."

Does your local golf club do enough in this regard? It's clear that despite the positive comments above, there are some who can be more proactive when it comes to communication with their members.

“I want the secrecy relating to management meetings to stop and members made fully aware of decisions."

"As a new member I expected more contact from management, players, societies. But I received only one invitation."

“Clubs should adopt a better customer focus to members, rather than taking them for granted as if they are doing members a favour by being there.

"Unfortunately the biggest problem I see is bad mannered professionals and committees that fail to communicate to members the reasons for their actions."

Course Conditions

We have recently analysed the wet weather that has made many courses across the UK unplayable this winter. Consequently, some of you out there are questioning whether it's time for more flexibible membership options:

“After 40 years, I am not sure I can justify it for the courses available to me in my area. Which are all too wet and borderline unplayable. If we had a links course within about 20-30 miles I would join in a heartbeat."

"With wet winters now the norm and closures, restrictions on buggies and trolleys an increasing occurrence, more clubs should offer April-September memberships for seniors.”

"With wetter winters clubs should consider a March-October membership. And then a discount pay as you play for remaining months."

"Not worth the money when for three or four months of the year the course is in really bad condition."

"It’s not value for money anymore. This is due to wet winter months and only being able to play at weekends in winter."

Issues For Golf Clubs to Solve


One of the characteristics that makes golf special is that it can be enjoyed by all ages and is inclusive for those who have disabilities and physical impairments. But some of you believe that there are clubs who haven't done enough to open their doors to everyone.

"I am a disabled blue badge golfer with my own single rider buggy. I believe that the club should have a disabled golfer policy which allows us to play whilst the able are banned from using buggies. I lost considerably more playing time last year than able golfers."

"All the golf clubs we contacted did not cater for disabled golfers and do not have the same opportunities to play as able bodied people. They also have to pay a premium if it is a mobility disability. It is a very close decision as to whether membership is value for money as during winter months we are not able to play that frequently."

Joining Fees

The gradual return of joining fees at many clubs has been a theme since demand for membership increased dramatically during the pandemic. And it's something that a significant number of golfers believe is a potential barrier to attract new players.

"I never paid a joining fee, but from 2023 there is now a joining fee which stops my grandson joining.”

"Stop charging ridiculous joining fees and stop doing the buying points to use to play as it costs twice as much as a membership."

"There should not be a joining fee. Young people need encouragement to join not barriers".

"Stop the joining fees and just add a little more to the membership fees, if it will counter the loss of income. Surely someone who stays a few years and being able to afford it, will be a better investment."

However, some of you believe that joining fees are necessary.

"I was happy to pay a fee to join, I could have joined other clubs with no fee but I prefer to play on a better course. Too many people want a Rolls Royce but are only prepared to pay for a Mini."

"I did pay a joining fee, but the club no longer has a joining fee, although it is considering reinstating one. This is something I agree with because I feel it would help establish loyally to clubs again."

"Golf clubs need members who are looking to be there for the long term. Entrance fees are in part a commitment to this. In addition membership entitles one to access to the assets of the club. This should not be free, they need replenishment. Annual dues are not enough. The people complaining about entrance fees should stop whining and suck it up."

Pace of Play

Yes, it's that old chestnut yet again. Slow play is a subject that continues to feature in our surveys! The role of golf clubs in addressing that is complex and we have previously outlined some possible solutions.

"Golf has got progressively slower over the past decade and I am often happy to play fewer than 18 holes as I do not want to be spending over four hours on a golf course."

"The pace of play has got worse in the last few years. You have to allow four hours for 18 holes because fourball groups play very slowly and are not good at letting people play through."

"There’s a complete lack of understanding about how to deal with the pace of play. This stems from professional golf and needs to be eradicated. Ultimately, slow play will kill the game."

Become More Progressive

There is a lot said about growing the game - and the clear target for that is young people. How can golf clubs attract boys and girls to join and play regularly? Not to mention the likes of students and young adults who are faced with balancing expenditure and time pressure. Some of you want to a see a more progressive outlook from your clubs.

"I fully understand the cost of living crisis, but there aren't enough youngsters playing and the course/club is run for pensioners who can play any time, but still feel entitled to play weekends and flood the course.”

“I detest the clothing rules which discourage the young.”

"Too many old people who don't want to part with their money and effectively are holding the club to ransom. Consequently while day-to-day costs are covered the club has no reserves to fund development and no resilience to changes in the business environment."

"Ageing membership means people playing less but still have to pay full annual price to subsidise lack of new younger members due to high cost. Therefore we regularly lose seniors."

"Clubs need to do more to attract young boys and girls to play golf and be part of the club. Perhaps little or no sub payments and support from older members.”

Those are just some of the main issues that you want your golf club to address in 2024. These aren't new problems or are simple to solve, but until positive action is taken, frustration among many golfers out there will only continue to grow as we enter the middle part of this decade.

Related Content

Golfers Describe Concern at Rising Cost of Club Memberships

Will You Be Renewing Your Golf Club Membership in 2024

Do Golf Club Memberships Offer Value For Money

How Waiting Lists And Joining Fees Made a Comeback at Golf Clubs

How Could The Cost of Living Crisis Impact Your Golf

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

Tags: industry insider GOLFERS Golf Clubs Golf Club Membership Golf daily picks

Scroll to top