Members Information 5th Dec 2014

By BR - December 10 2014
Members Information 5th Dec 2014


Every two years England Golf send out a detailed survey to all the Golf Clubs in the country, including us, and ask them to feedback information on membership numbers, categories and business trends amongst many other things. England Golf then use this information to compile an up to date report on the challenges facing Golf Clubs and also they highlight any Clubs that have put policies in place that have proved to be successful in reversing some of the more worrying trends. 

Earlier this week we received the latest report England Golf, a copy of which has been placed downstairs in the bar for members to read at their leisure. It “paints a picture of a precarious situation, with declining memberships and an increasing number of independant, unaffiliated golfers” and “offers a series of recommendations to help golf clubs increase their membership and survive and thrive in a challenging climate”. 

The report “urges clubs to review their membership structures and to offer a golf club experience combining social and playing benefits which outweigh the advantages of independant play”. 

The report finds that the average club has 499 playing members, mostly white and mostly adult males (77%) and that just over half of all members are aged 55 plus. Less than a quarter are aged under 35 and women account for only 15% of members. 

The average adult subscription is £845 for men and £848 for women (the difference being due to the current different affliliation fees charged by the mens and ladies governing bodies) and over the last two years clubs have attracted an average of 77 new members while losing 85. 

To reverse the trend the report recommends the following: 

Attract new members by breaking down barriers and creating a welcoming club environment. It advises that lowering subscriptions is less likely to attract new members than providing additional benefits or hosting induction days or offering structured coaching and working with County Golf Partnerships. It points out that potential members are often deterred by long winded, non-transparent joining systems and by a joining fee. 

Retaining existing members by ensuring year round quality and value of the course and the club environment, which must be attractive to golfers of all generations. It suggests flexible membership packages are arguably the most powerful way of attracting and retaining members: 34% of clubs which offer these increased thier membership in the last two years. Intermediate and Student membership are influential in retaining members in their 20’s and 30’s. 

Encouraging junior members by making it easier to join. Offering junior tuition and the services of a junior organiser will appeal to youngsters and their parents. A positive experience of junior golf will encourage players to continue their membership into adulthood. 

Over the past 2 years the influx of new members has helped us reduce the average age of our membership from 62 to 56. We have introduced the voucher allowing members to bring 3 free guests each year, negotiated various deals with other clubs and organisations to allow Arcot Hall members to get reduced green fees at other courses (Braid Association and the Newcastle & District Golf Partnership) and set up the link with Eaglescliffe to allow members to play another course free of charge excluding Saturdays. 

We have also introduced the new Intermediate age categories, changed the rules regarding dress code in the Clubhouse to try and increase bar sales and help create a more welcoming atmosphere, run group classes in conjunction with the County Golf Partnership and through Dan and now Kris we have extended the tuition options available to juniors as well as creating a new membership category of family junior allowing children and grandchildren of existing members to join the Club for only £30 per year. 

We still have a lot of work to do and will continue to do all we can to ensure that the club has a bright future.


Kind Regards    


Brian Rumney