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Why Do Golfers Give Up Their Club Memberships

By: | Mon 05 Feb 2024

There are numerous ways to play golf and hone your ability, which makes it so welcoming for a large group of people.

Can you only spare 20 minutes a week? Head to the range and hit a small bucket of balls.

On the other hand, you have the passionate golfers who will try to start their day with an early morning round - and who can blame them?

Golf is accommodating to many styles and timeframes, which is why so many people fall in love with the terrific sport.

The most traditional form of experiencing golf is through a club membership, which offers plenty of incentives to retain your interest throughout the year.

Preferential tee time booking, discounted apparel and range balls and excellent access to a strong social life are all real benefits of joining a golf club.

However, some clubs are seeing a drop in memberships across the country, which poses the question - why do golfers give up their club memberships?


(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)


As opposed to nomadic golfers who simply need to part ways with a green fee whenever they golf, club members need to commit to a 12-month window, which can be challenging.

During the length of a year, an individual’s circumstance could change which enables them to have less time to be enjoyed on leisure activities.

This can be a big problem as most club’s require golfers to commit to a 12-month period, which is a massive financial commitment.

Furthermore, the general cost of golf balls, tees and other accessories quickly adds up, and it’s yet another cost that you will need to include in your budget.

Golf Club Too Popular

After golf returned following the first lockdown of the COVID-19 era, gaining a tee time at your home club seemed an impossible task.

I personally met three members of another club who simply couldn’t gain access to their home course, forcing them to pay green fees for alternative options.

It would become disheartening - and could even reduce your enjoyment from the sport - if you are constantly met with tee sheets that are full to the brim.

Whilst it’s important golf clubs are bustling, if too many members are accepted, it ruins the enjoyment for the bulk of the membership base.

Joining Fee

This would qualify for cost, but it’s such a hefty additional expense that it should be discussed separately, having warranted it.

Joining fees were common practice in the past, with the majority - if not all clubs - asking for a joining fee when first signing up for membership.

The joining fee is an additional expense that may not be easily afforded by golfers who are simply looking to join a passionate community.

Despite joining fees becoming less popular in contemporary times, they are seemingly making a comeback - which is not good news for the average golfer.

Busier Schedule

Golfers who are on tight schedules will struggle to commit to the 12-month timeframe that a large majority of clubs ask for.

The nomadic lifestyle is far more enticing as they will be able to play golf wherever they like and whenever - which will suit hectic lifestyles.

Golf club members typically play with the same group of people and normally at the same time of the week too, such as the Friday roll up.

Golfers who either work a lot or travel extensively due to family will struggle to play whenever they want, failing to justify the expensive fees that golf clubs demand.

Young people may also be susceptible to a changing schedule, as moving to university or gaining employment may restrict how much time they can spend at the course.

Generally, with young families and a career to establish, it could be argued that traditional golf membership is more tailored towards older golfers who have more free time. 

With interest seriously waning in the professional circuits, a lot of golfers are getting their fix from recreational activities as opposed to watching the world’s greatest players battle it out.

Due to this, can we assume that golf may experience a short dip in popularity?

Golf clubs need to listen closely to the concerns of their members and act positively to improve the golf club membership experience.

Failing to do so could have a disastrous effect on golf at grassroots level, which would be a shame considering what has happened to the professional game. 

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