Should This Be the End of Cheap Pay and Play Deals

big_matt

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I think you're just being an idiot.

Try reading what I wrote again, it's not an opinion it's just fact based on every report and article we read on a regular basis.
Is it? Where are these facts that are in every report
Nice clichés but none of that is really in touch with the reality.
Whats the reality then? golf is booming and people are desperate to become new members?
 

Bunkermagnet

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Perhaps with the current situation more people have realised the benefit of golf over the tv package that annually will cost almost as most as a golf membership so the nomad cheap deals thing isn't such an attractive option.
 

Traminator

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Is it? Where are these facts that are in every report


Whats the reality then? golf is booming and people are desperate to become new members?
It is common knowledge that golf participation and membership is in decline.

The reality is that many many golf clubs are a lot more flexible than your old fashioned cliché examples.
 

big_matt

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It is common knowledge that golf participation and membership is in decline.

The reality is that many many golf clubs are a lot more flexible than your old fashioned cliché examples.
I agree golf membership is in decline. It has been in serious decline since well before websites like teeofftimes existed though, so still not sure where these concrete facts are that golf was doing much better before pay to play offers came along.
 

Traminator

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I agree golf membership is in decline. It has been in serious decline since well before websites like teeofftimes existed though, so still not sure where these concrete facts are that golf was doing much better before pay to play offers came along.
Lol.
Nobody said anything about online offers.
There was life before the internet you know 😉
 

big_matt

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Lol.
Nobody said anything about online offers.
There was life before the internet you know 😉
You said it was a fact (in every report) that golf was doing much better before pay to play. Whether online or not, you still dont seem to be able to locate a link to confirm these facts.

Calling me cliched and another forum member an idiot isnt supporting your case that this fact is apparently everywhere.

Yes, golf was thriving a very long time ago. That doesnt mean the same model fits perfectly in 2020.

Ive given some suggestions/ideas. You have only belittled several posters.
 

Bunkermagnet

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Why does everyone assume things will be exactly the same after Covid as it was before Covid?
Perhpas people will re-evaluate their work-life balance and re-examine what and how they spend their free time and money on.
 

Traminator

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You have only belittled several posters.
Wrong, I have countered aggressive responses to a simple statement of fact, which was in itself a response to another statement.

It is well know fact that golf participation has declined since the 90s.

It is fact that before the 90s there were much fewer pay and play facilities.

As I said before, those facts might be coincidence.

Is that easy enough to understand?
 

sunshine

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Golf is its own worst enemy. Clubs will stick to expensive annual memberships only where you need to be recommended to join etc until they go out of business.

Its 2020 and its very much a buyers market in terms of where a golfer wants to go and how much they want to commit to regular play. The smart clubs will offer flexible ways for people to play without full membership.

We are headed for more austerity (whether its called that or not) and high unemployment. If clubs say you cant play here unless you hand over a grand to join then it will definately be bye bye to some of those clubs.

Football did this ages ago: instead of the old full season tickets they now offer 4 game passes, cheaper category games, half season tickets etc. Golf is always way behind hence the problems its having.
Several people have correctly discussed supply and demand. I think we also need to consider the product and the competition in the area.

If a club is blessed with a cracking course on a great piece of land, and is doing a good job on clubhouse, welcome etc, then people will hand over much more than a grand to join. But add in another dozen good courses in the area and suddenly you've got competition and someone is going to lose out.

My perception is that a lot of golf courses were built in the 80s and 90s to feed a short term boom. The best land for golf was already taken, some of these courses are farmers fields, they seem to be the ones offering all the deals and will be the first casualties of austerity.

This is an interesting debate. Many private courses are permanently open to the public. The OP asks a good question: does golf go back to a model of private courses that are private and public courses that are public? I'm happy that the answer is YES in the short term, but NO it can't be in the long term. Despite it's reputation for snobbishness, golf is very democratic and I love the fact that we can play almost any course. Not many people get to play cricket at Lords, football at Wembley, but loads can tee it up at St Andrews.
 
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I see where the OP is coming from with his original points but i think there's a hole in the argument.

Firstly I think that pretty much any club would very happily adopt a members only policy, with no "green fees" if they could. After all, what's not to like. A facility for the members, paid for by the members, with no inconvenience, interuptions or distubance from non- members, nor any need for service provision for them. Nothing to do with elitism or exclusivity - just a simple matter of why have more bodies than necessary cluttering up the course? So yes, of course they would love to operate without the need for visitors - and I can't think there are many clubs that haven't already considered it at some time. And have concluded the business model doesn't allow it!

If it did, we'd have done it already. Ok, there some some places that manage it, but I for one, can't, and wouldn't want to, pay their level of fees.

Somewhere in the thread there was a suggestion that £100K of greenfees might roughly be equivalent to 75 new members. Maybe so (in fact at my place it would be rather fewer) but 75 new members is a big ask - even in the current situation of abnormal extra demand. Even my club, close to the heart of central London, with probably a larger catchment population than any other club in the country, would find that difficult. More to the point, how many clubs could accommodate 75 new members? Members would want reasonably easy access to the course, and especially so at weekends when, for many, it's the only time they can play. We certainly couldnt accommodate anything like 75 extra folk at weekends. During the week though, is a different matter, when there's space. So the business choice is simple. £100K of greenfees in the week when we can accommodate them, or 75 more members at weekends when we can't? Visitors are here to stay.

And finally, of course, theres a world of difference between "greenfees" and "cheap greenfees". If you're reliant on the latter, then likely your finances are suspect.
 

Fish

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Interesting debate. We've picked up a tidy number of members in the last week or so since being open who were nomads so clearly the current situation has perhaps forced their hands a touch and of the club are offering an inducement to join then I've no issue. I do have a gripe personally but know others see it differently with age related discounts on memberships especially into the 30's. As a 7 day member I accept I have to pay top dollar for being able to play weekends and accept that for the majority of clubs that is the deal. That is why normally I'd be using it every evening in the summer to get my money's worth.

I know some clubs are offering memberships where you buy a fixed amounts of credits and can top it up as you go. For someone that may not play regularly or prefers midweeks and off peak then that makes sense with the flexibility to pay more at weekends. To be honest as long as my club is getting sufficient members to make it viable then how they do it doesn't bother me other than ensuring than I can get a reasonable tee time to play
I do.

Without a joining fee and with a membership bulging at the seems, there’s nothing stopping these previous nomads leaving when all this settles down, to some degree of normality, or just keep moving around local clubs every 2 years.

How can a club forecast it’s revenue streams and growth and have any sort of business model if members can come and go as they please, leaving huge gaps in membership fees.

The answer isn’t to attract more nomads, visitor green fees or discounts as that only alienates the current full member if that spills out, which is always the case, on the recommended ‘society day’.

If the course [mainly] is good enough, coupled with decent practice facilities, a socially active clubhouse etc, then it should attract enough golfers to commit to become full members irrelevant of how much personal time restrictions they may have, if people don’t feel they’re getting value for money by being a member of that club, then they’ll be other clubs and courses in the area that will have no joining fees, lesser membership fees and various discounted age options, but by default, these courses won’t be as good (I know how subjective that can be), as the full membership course with less options.

So it’s down to every individual to choose what they want, and accept that there has to be some compromises, but thats life, it’s not just golf related.

its not for golf clubs (businesses) to try and be a one size fits all, in some cases, not all, it’s not sustainable, hence why those clubs are always chasing extra revenue, offering deals & discounts, have very little if any revenue for investment, it’s your typical high turnover minimum margin business model, and we’ve all seen what happens to those kind of businesses in all markets over the years, they’re dead in the water as soon as there’s a slump for any reason!

All clubs like all businesses will have a position within the marketplace, and more so, know where they fit within their catchment area, how they present themselves as a club, along with [mainly] the quality of their course will depict what they can comfortably charge for full membership and how they accept new members.

Due to an exodus of members from a nearby club that’s had its fair share of issues with its course and the running of the club, which a lot was down to poor investment in some cases because they fell into the trap of selling themselves too cheap with silly offers to win more members that didn’t spend/invest in the club (car park golfers), we’ve got a board full of applications, but I/we don’t want them, especially if they only pay/join pro rata, our membership renewal is in August, as like many nomadic golfers, I doubt many will stay, even though our course is substantially better in various aspects.

If you want to play at a more challenging well kept course that is seen to invest in it, continuously, then you pay and adhere to their conditions, if your finances don’t stretch that far or you feel that it’s not value for money due to limited playing time, then you have to compromise and choose a club that suits your disposable income, but you can’t expect the same quality of course or possibly clubhouse activity.
 

Bunkermagnet

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I do.

Without a joining fee and with a membership bulging at the seems, there’s nothing stopping these previous nomads leaving when all this settles down, to some degree of normality, or just keep moving around local clubs every 2 years.

How can a club forecast it’s revenue streams and growth and have any sort of business model if members can come and go as they please, leaving huge gaps in membership fees.

The answer isn’t to attract more nomads, visitor green fees or discounts as that only alienates the current full member if that spills out, which is always the case, on the recommended ‘society day’.

If the course [mainly] is good enough, coupled with decent practice facilities, a socially active clubhouse etc, then it should attract enough golfers to commit to become full members irrelevant of how much personal time restrictions they may have, if people don’t feel they’re getting value for money by being a member of that club, then they’ll be other clubs and courses in the area that will have no joining fees, lesser membership fees and various discounted age options, but by default, these courses won’t be as good (I know how subjective that can be), as the full membership course with less options.

So it’s down to every individual to choose what they want, and accept that there has to be some compromises, but thats life, it’s not just golf related.

its not for golf clubs (businesses) to try and be a one size fits all, in some cases, not all, it’s not sustainable, hence why those clubs are always chasing extra revenue, offering deals & discounts, have very little if any revenue for investment, it’s your typical high turnover minimum margin business model, and we’ve all seen what happens to those kind of businesses in all markets over the years, they’re dead in the water as soon as there’s a slump for any reason!

All clubs like all businesses will have a position within the marketplace, and more so, know where they fit within their catchment area, how they present themselves as a club, along with [mainly] the quality of their course will depict what they can comfortably charge for full membership and how they accept new members.

Due to an exodus of members from a nearby club that’s had its fair share of issues with its course and the running of the club, which a lot was down to poor investment in some cases because they fell into the trap of selling themselves too cheap with silly offers to win more members that didn’t spend/invest in the club (car park golfers), we’ve got a board full of applications, but I/we don’t want them, especially if they only pay/join pro rata, our membership renewal is in August, as like many nomadic golfers, I doubt many will stay, even though our course is substantially better in various aspects.

If you want to play at a more challenging well kept course that is seen to invest in it, continuously, then you pay and adhere to their conditions, if your finances don’t stretch that far or you feel that it’s not value for money due to limited playing time, then you have to compromise and choose a club that suits your disposable income, but you can’t expect the same quality of course or possibly clubhouse activity.
Theres far too much common sense in there Fish...and very correct.:)
The another thing a good club can do is to have a maximum number of members it allows, and stick to it
 

Diamond

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I could pay £10 for 9 holes at several courses near me and that has not changed since rules have been relaxed.
So I would say no you will still get cheap deals.
However there are always opportunities after every crisis and I believe golf has a massive one right now.

I would like to see all golf clubs have reduced rates for county membership and not just some of them.
 

Fish

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Theres far too much common sense in there Fish...and very correct.:)
The another thing a good club can do is to have a maximum number of members it allows, and stick to it
It should be in your constitution or byelaws, ours are, but we have a current imbalance in our categories which needs to be and will be addressed shortly.
 

IanM

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The year is 2020 guys - joining fees in the hope that it keeps people longer, just stops people joining in the first place.
I am sure that is right. Others things being equal I am against any financial barrier to entry.

However, it is also an effective weapon against churn and groups who ring up and "demand a deal. "

As I said ealier. Clubs are all different. Different products in different markets.

So individual clubs need to understand this and get it right. Entry fees work in some places and could kill others.
 
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I am sure that is right. Others things being equal I am against any financial barrier to entry.

However, it is also an effective weapon against churn and groups who ring up and "demand a deal. "

As I said ealier. Clubs are all different. Different products in different markets.

So individual clubs need to understand this and get it right. Entry fees work in some places and could kill others.
But again, it is also a weapon against people who are on the fence about joining, or considering joining another club that doesn't charge a joining fee.

I get the idea behind joining fees, I just think that they're not going to help a club unless they have a big waiting list.
 
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