Loss of Membership at Golf Clubs
Guest Post from John Lewis of Planet Golf UK
According to the 'Golf Participation in Europe 2011' survey by KPMG, the number of registered golfers across Europe is down for the first time in over 20 years. The UK & Ireland was hit considerably, with a net loss of registered golfers down by -3.1%.
In view of these disappointing figures, Golf clubs have to take a long hard look at themselves. Do they want to stay in the past and maintain “Tradition” or move into the future, embrace change and see more golfers hitting the range?
The golf club has to change, it must be more user friendly and it must encourage families to be participants of the club. The club must be seen as a part of the community, not a haven for the elite as is sometimes the case.
Dress codes are a thing of the past too. If you look at old photographs of football matches in days gone by, everyone was wearing a flat cap, however... these days this is not the case at all. Also, no office worker went to work without his Bowler hat or Homburg or Trilby, now it is more likely that you'll find us Brits wearing a baseball cap, if anything at all.
It is striking when one travels to other European countries such as France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland just how relaxed the golf clubs are there. They have worked out that golf is meant to be a fun pass-time and a hobby, not a rite of passage. Surely the tradition is in the game of golf itself not in the rituals that some clubs are trying to cling to.
Sure, tradition is something we all admire but it has its place, and clubs have to work out where that place is. It is especially noticeable how many junior golfers, particularly girls, are to be seen at these clubs and how they are encouraged to be full participants in the fabric of the club no matter how they are dressed, this will surely come as they mature and become fully fledged members of the club.
Keeping Costs Down
A rather large bug-bear for very many golf club members is the prices that are being charged for food and beverages.
Many members are realising that it is better to go to the High Street to socialise after a round of golf at their golf clubs, than it is to pay the exorbitant prices that some clubs are charging for what in many cases is basically.. Pub food. Surely it is better to have the members spending money in the golf club rather than spending that money elsewhere.
OK there are a lot of clubs out there who manage to keep the members happy by the fees that visitors pay, and by charging them more for food and drink than they charge the members, but in this shrinking market they are becoming harder to attract.
Let’s face it, the advances and mass production methods of golf equipment such as golf clubs and golf trolleys, the golfer has never had it so good, and with such a wide variety of golf kit at affordable prices, it's never been cheaper to take up the game. At the top end which is the same with all sports, it's an expensive game, but to get started it is as cheap as chips, we just need the clubs to get behind young and amateur golfers and try to encourage more enthusiasm in this age old sport.
To maintain golf as a growing sport even with the amazing talent that we have at the top of our game, the clubs must take a look at themselves and if they can afford to be elitist that’s great but for the majority.. change and forward thinking is the only way.
J. Lewis - Planet Golf UK
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)