Scottish Golf proposing to allow non-club members handicap

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Grant85

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Scotsman Story

As above, Scottish Golf are proposing to charge non-club members £4.99 per month to have a recognised handicap.

Clearly a concern that it will suddenly be a lot more appealing to people to not have a membership and they can still maintain a handicap and potentially play in Open Competitions.

No doubt a lot of clubs will be concerned, however it could encourage more people to be regular players.

If this happens, then clubs surely have to embrace it and have a pricing strategy that will get them a slice of this growing market with more regular open competitions and will ultimately have to accept that members will leave and take up this option. Continuing as 'business as usual' would be folly for many clubs.

£4.99 per month compares with current Scottish Golf fee of £14.50 per annum for club members. Details still not clear about how a non-club member would get a handicap, but you assume that it would only work if clubs / courses allowed them to play in reasonably regular events (for a fee).

Ultimately golf's problem is one of supply and demand. So the sport as a whole has to either increase demand or reduce supply. This may go some way to increasing demand and reducing supply.
 

Liverpoolphil

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That’s a really poor idea and a great stab in the back for golf clubs

Allowing people to gain a HC without being a member of a club will hurt the clubs a lot more than SGU realise - a club needs a good core members to keep it alive , remove that and clubs will close and then those nomad members won’t have anywhere to play.

If I was a club I would charge through the roof anyone who has one of those handicaps without being a member.
 

pauldj42

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Quite easy to work around:
2 people sign up to the £4.99 pm,
Go play 3 Rounds together, anywhere, fill in scorecards correctly, send to SG.
SG allocate handicap.

The Clubs were the 2 people have played have made the green fees and SG get £4.99 every month.
 

Jacko_G

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I think it's forward thinking and designed to bring more people back to the game who have walked away for various reasons.

I'm confident my mate who walked away due to time constraints of a young family would welcome this. Could be a very interesting development. Unusually I applaud Scottish Golf for this.
 

TreeSeeker

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Great idea, would appreciate if it was made available more broadly.

However, how on earth the £4.99 a month can be considered even close to reasonable I have no idea, unless you are getting more of out the deal than just a membership.
 

Hobbit

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I can see some of the concerns but its not a bad idea at all. A few wrinkles to be smoothed out but I can see it being good for the game.

Well done SGU for trying something different.
 
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Grant85

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That’s a really poor idea and a great stab in the back for golf clubs

Allowing people to gain a HC without being a member of a club will hurt the clubs a lot more than SGU realise - a club needs a good core members to keep it alive , remove that and clubs will close and then those nomad members won’t have anywhere to play.

If I was a club I would charge through the roof anyone who has one of those handicaps without being a member.
Problem is that with the current format, many clubs are struggling as it is and players are being lost to the game.

Plus I think that anyone playing every week is going to be a club member anyway (or it will certainly be financially sensible for them to be).

I personally don't see the point in having a handicap unless you have somewhere to go and play at least once a week, ideally more often. Otherwise you are probably not going to be able to play to that handicap.

I see this as something that might get a few people into the game who have been lapsed members, or for people to maintain their handicap for a few years when they are just not going to play often enough, but are hopeful of getting back into it.

But lets say your club ran a Wednesday 9 hole Open. 1st tee at 4pm. £5 entry. Realistically could tee off until 9pm in midsummer. Could bring a few hundred £ into the club every Wednesday and get people into the habit of playing there.
 

Liverpoolphil

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People are going to jump at it - it allows them flexibility and it also allows them to not pay for when they can’t play or when it’s poor weather etc

People are going to leave golf clubs - years subscriptions will go down and there is no way people getting a cheap HC from SGU is going to fill that gap - clubs need that consistent income to keep them alive , I can see them straight away protecting themselves and bringing in restrictions of who can play in their Open Comps

They believe this will help members club - how they believe that I have no idea. There is a reason why the golf unions have not gone down this avenue - seems the SGU are going to shoot themsleves in the foot

If a club looses 20 members that’s potentially £10k-20k they need make up - does anyone seriously think this idea will fill that gap ?
 

Jacko_G

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Great idea, would appreciate if it was made available more broadly.

However, how on earth the £4.99 a month can be considered even close to reasonable I have no idea, unless you are getting more of out the deal than just a membership.
Admin and maintenance cost will be covered in the monthly fee. Not sure how they arrive at that figure but it's about a pint of lager less a month out of your budget.
 

Jacko_G

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People are going to jump at it - it allows them flexibility and it also allows them to not pay for when they can’t play or when it’s poor weather etc

People are going to leave golf clubs - years subscriptions will go down and there is no way people getting a cheap HC from SGU is going to fill that gap - clubs need that consistent income to keep them alive , I can see them straight away protecting themselves and bringing in restrictions of who can play in their Open Comps

They believe this will help members club - how they believe that I have no idea. There is a reason why the golf unions have not gone down this avenue - seems the SGU are going to shoot themsleves in the foot

If a club looses 20 members that’s potentially £10k-20k they need make up - does anyone seriously think this idea will fill that gap ?
You have flexibility as a member too. You can scratch from the competition if the weather is rotten as a member. I'm not convinced droves of people are going to walk away from club membership to take this option up!
 

duncan mackie

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Interestingly, and probably as a result of the pricing differentials at the cheaper end of the market, many 'clubs' have existed down South where a significant function is the operation and management of handicaps - the other being the organisation of competitions. Pricing generally being in the same arena as that proposed here (probably a bit more now - after 27 years of membership of one, based on a council p&p, I gave it up when I joined my current club).
I understand that there are clubs in Scotland operating in a similar manner, but not to the extent of the English ones.
The SGU plan looks to be in line with the US golf associations - they work.
However, most of the examples I've given rely primarily on people giving up their time for little, or no reward. Not sure how this fits with SGU, nor how it fits with their wider (stated) role.
 

clubchamp98

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That’s a really poor idea and a great stab in the back for golf clubs

Allowing people to gain a HC without being a member of a club will hurt the clubs a lot more than SGU realise - a club needs a good core members to keep it alive , remove that and clubs will close and then those nomad members won’t have anywhere to play.

If I was a club I would charge through the roof anyone who has one of those handicaps without being a member.
I would agree with this.
How do you police it there’s already enough bandits playing open comps to win prizes while just maintaining comp hcap, this will be a farce.
I do think some of the things the golf powers that be are going to far in trying to get new people to play .
Will they use CDH numbers to differentiate between categories of golfers to enter opens.
 

Liverpoolphil

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Problem is that with the current format, many clubs are struggling as it is and players are being lost to the game.

Plus I think that anyone playing every week is going to be a club member anyway (or it will certainly be financially sensible for them to be).

I personally don't see the point in having a handicap unless you have somewhere to go and play at least once a week, ideally more often. Otherwise you are probably not going to be able to play to that handicap.

I see this as something that might get a few people into the game who have been lapsed members, or for people to maintain their handicap for a few years when they are just not going to play often enough, but are hopeful of getting back into it.

But lets say your club ran a Wednesday 9 hole Open. 1st tee at 4pm. £5 entry. Realistically could tee off until 9pm in midsummer. Could bring a few hundred into the club every Wednesday and get people into the habit of playing.
Not a chance you would get anywhere near those levels. And why would the club run a Comp like when there is no guarantee the level of entrants.

Reality is it’s expensive to run a golf club - that’s just the way it is , and the better the club the more expensive it is. The minute corners try to be cut is when clubs will go down the pan

For a golf club to do well make the product attractive and worth the cost. Golf in Scotland is already on the whole cheaper than in England and the clubs in England are making their product attractive to bring in the people

Sometimes instead of being desperate to get people to play they also need to remember about the guys that already play - if a club starts to lose money because of ideas like this then the club need to get the money from somewhere
 

Jacko_G

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Not a chance you would get anywhere near those levels. And why would the club run a Comp like when there is no guarantee the level of entrants.

Reality is it’s expensive to run a golf club - that’s just the way it is , and the better the club the more expensive it is. The minute corners try to be cut is when clubs will go down the pan

For a golf club to do well make the product attractive and worth the cost. Golf in Scotland is already on the whole cheaper than in England and the clubs in England are making their product attractive to bring in the people

Sometimes instead of being desperate to get people to play they also need to remember about the guys that already play - if a club starts to lose money because of ideas like this then the club need to get the money from somewhere
You're totally jumping the gun. You MAY have some valid points in the future as this evolves and goes forward. However at this time you can't state that your scenarios will happen.

As for "bandits" surely the fact that the SG are now more closely monitoring their handicap it's actually going to reduce the bandit status.
 
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Grant85

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Not a chance you would get anywhere near those levels. And why would the club run a Comp like when there is no guarantee the level of entrants.

Reality is it’s expensive to run a golf club - that’s just the way it is , and the better the club the more expensive it is. The minute corners try to be cut is when clubs will go down the pan
Sorry I meant a few hundred pounds, rather than players.

In case you hadn't noticed, clubs are already going down the pan and there aren't enough regular golfers to sustain the number of clubs. But in your eyes, just plough on it will be ok?
 

clubchamp98

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Sorry I meant a few hundred pounds, rather than players.

In case you hadn't noticed, clubs are already going down the pan and there aren't enough regular golfers to sustain the number of clubs. But in your eyes, just plough on it will be ok?
This will be imo the death of opens ,as bandits will manipulate this system as they do now and most club golfers will just say “it’s not worth entering”.
This has already started happening and we go to opens for a day out now and nothing else , as we can’t shoot the ridiculous scores you need to win now.
It’s good they are trying to grow the game but just don’t think this is a good idea.
 

Liverpoolphil

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Sorry I meant a few hundred pounds, rather than players.

In case you hadn't noticed, clubs are already going down the pan and there aren't enough regular golfers to sustain the number of clubs. But in your eyes, just plough on it will be ok?
A few hundred pounds ? How many do you think will enter a 9 hole Comp and a what price ? And people playing a Comp on a wed night during the working week ?!

Golf is levelling out numbers aren’t dramatically decreasing overall and yes some clubs will close - some close due to the land they are on being valuable , some because the course just isn’t that good. Can anyone name a quality course that has closed ? Nope many are thriving with waiting lists etc.

Golf is getting to the expected levels we used to have before the 80’s boom where courses all over the country popped up with a lot on poor ground.

Clubs that will survive will already be a great product or make it attractive for some to play the sport. Golf is not crumbling around us. Don’t need to start panicking
 
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Grant85

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Also, this could revolutionise municipal golf.

As things stand, the chances of a non-golfer turning up at a club and paying £900 to £1200 in an annual fee to start playing regular golf is slim.

But get them down the muni and then get them a proper handicap and they might quickly start to play at a level where club membership is the next step.
 

Jacko_G

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A few hundred pounds ? How many do you think will enter a 9 hole Comp and a what price ? And people playing a Comp on a wed night during the working week ?!

Golf is levelling out numbers aren’t dramatically decreasing overall and yes some clubs will close - some close due to the land they are on being valuable , some because the course just isn’t that good. Can anyone name a quality course that has closed ? Nope many are thriving with waiting lists etc.

Golf is getting to the expected levels we used to have before the 80’s boom where courses all over the country popped up with a lot on poor ground.

Clubs that will survive will already be a great product or make it attractive for some to play the sport. Golf is not crumbling around us. Don’t need to start panicking
A few course in the Glasgow area are on the brink. Won't name names and I'm sure Grant also knows of one!

You have to realise that golf in Scotland is significantly different to golf around the London area. Most clubs up here have a large shortfall of members. Not just 10 or 20 but ten times that number.
 
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Grant85

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A few hundred pounds ? How many do you think will enter a 9 hole Comp and a what price ? And people playing a Comp on a wed night during the working week ?!

Golf is levelling out numbers aren’t dramatically decreasing overall and yes some clubs will close - some close due to the land they are on being valuable , some because the course just isn’t that good. Can anyone name a quality course that has closed ? Nope many are thriving with waiting lists etc.

Golf is getting to the expected levels we used to have before the 80’s boom where courses all over the country popped up with a lot on poor ground.

Clubs that will survive will already be a great product or make it attractive for some to play the sport. Golf is not crumbling around us. Don’t need to start panicking
Well obviously no one is going to play unless you run the competition and have a go at it. 30 or 40 people spend £10 to £20 each. It's hardly the most unlikely prospect.

You have no clue if it would work or gain traction, so why are you so bullish about a casual idea that a club could easily work if there were several hundred nomad golfers in their town, with a handicap and on the look out for some golf to play.
 
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