Scottish Golf proposing to allow non-club members handicap

MendieGK

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Double figures

Guys who only play on a Saturday in a Comp , guys that don’t play over the winter prob lose a number of country members as well

Why would they need to spend £1k when they could spend £50 and then just a green fee at club somewhere , even if they paid just the green fee for the comps it would be cheaper
You can already do this at plenty of clubs so nothing would change.

My old home club in Portsmouth charges £50 an year membership and that gets you a handicap. Broome manor by me now charges £85 a year.

Anyone that wants the option now, has it. Just join a club attached to a muni where the membership is seperate from the green fee
 
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D

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Have a look at post 1867 in the I played today thread.
That’s what you will get if this happens.
Rubbish, it’s happening now so totally unrelated to this planned initiative, that’s an internal Club issue.
 

patricks148

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It reeks of Scottish Golf trying to line their pockets, have they said how they plan to reinvest this cash back into golf or is it just a cash grabbing exercise. I can see the Trilby tour coming back to Scotland now.

TBH this could be the case (though not the bandit thing), can't see clubs getting much from it, but all the money going to SG.

as a club member we pay £15 to the SG, so how can they justify £5 to non members for the same thing.

There are no clubs up here who offer the nominal fee for membership and handicap, then pay a green fee. but every club up here has at least one open some 4 or 5, in fact you can play an open every weekend Sat and Sunday from April to Sept for £20 a go or less with the Exception of Dornoch and Nairn who charge £50 ish, but thats still £130 less than the visitor green fee.

not convinced
 
D

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TBH this could be the case (though not the bandit thing), can't see clubs getting much from it, but all the money going to SG.

as a club member we pay £15 to the SG, so how can they justify £5 to non members for the same thing.

There are no clubs up here who offer the nominal fee for membership and handicap, then pay a green fee. but every club up here has at least one open some 4 or 5, in fact you can play an open every weekend Sat and Sunday from April to Sept for £20 a go or less with the Exception of Dornoch and Nairn who charge £50 ish, but thats still £130 less than the visitor green fee.

not convinced
£4.99 per month = 4 times what you pay.
 

patricks148

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£4.99 per month = 4 times what you pay.

i see, thought it was just £5, but even so all money for SG. could be a killer to some clubs around here, esp if you don't play in winter

The SGU did little or nothing in the last few years to halt the decline in club membership over the last few years all the time milking club members and clubs then blowing it all on jollies, white elephants and elite golf, sounds like the SG are going to be the same.

if you are a working man around here that only gets to play at weekends ( of which there are many) and don't want to play in winter (many don't) why wouldn't you give up your membership and do this?
 

Wolf

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Having read the article and all the replies on here, it's good to see that SG are looking at ways of moving things forward. Also as expected to see, so many people jumping on the negative band wagon before anything is even out of the idea stage.

For once I'm in total agreement with Jacko_G. People need to take the member side out of the argument a minute and look at what it provides. It's gives current people that don't play or have drifted away already from playing the opportunity to use it as a road back to playing. They can enter the odd open comp and get the feel for playing competitive golf again, they can play courses that don't allow green fees without handicaps. Pretty sure this idea won't come in without consulting clubs and many will set a list of what can and can't be entered by non members so that solves that issue.

It's going to be difficult to maintain a manufactured handicap for these guys as won't be enough rounds to get increases after a cut. After a few months maybe years as a handicap nomad they may then sign up for full membership somewhere to get the extra benefits or regular club comps and majors comps.

Anything that gets people back into the game is a positive, all the people complaining they'll lose members because some only pay a full membership because they keep a handicap and don't play regularly, guess what at some point you're going to lose them anyway, because if someone is paying a 3 or 4 figure sum a year just for a handicap then eventually that stops being financially sensible or viable anyway. The option is then lose them to the game forever or they go this route keep a toe in the game and when circumstances change in future they can return and reintegrate easily in to clubs.

It could still turn out to be a bad idea, but at least it is an idea being put forward as to something that can help those who don't currently have some opportunities us club members do have.

Personally anyone that plays regularly once or twice a week at their club in comps I don't see leaving
 
D

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i see, thought it was just £5, but even so all money for SG. could be a killer to some clubs around here, esp if you don't play in winter

The SGU did little or nothing in the last few years to halt the decline in club membership over the last few years all the time milking club members and clubs then blowing it all on jollies, white elephants and elite golf, sounds like the SG are going to be the same.

if you are a working man around here that only gets to play at weekends ( of which there are many) and don't want to play in winter (many don't) why wouldn't you give up your membership and do this?
Fair points, but let’s reverse that last paragraph, is it fair that those working men are effectively keeping membership prices down for those who wish to play 52 weeks a year.
Why shouldn’t someone, SG, put the Golfer before the club?
I keep seeing people stating it will be the death of some clubs, but what if it increases the No of golfers? Surely increasing participation is a good thing and if Golf clubs top to bottom are forced to review their product to meet what people want, then again it could be a positive step.
 

patricks148

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Fair points, but let’s reverse that last paragraph, is it fair that those working men are effectively keeping membership prices down for those who wish to play 52 weeks a year.
Why shouldn’t someone, SG, put the Golfer before the club?
I keep seeing people stating it will be the death of some clubs, but what if it increases the No of golfers? Surely increasing participation is a good thing and if Golf clubs top to bottom are forced to review their product to meet what people want, then again it could be a positive step.

all well and good without the clubs we have no where to play and then people who are club members and are paying to keep clubs going are subsidising none members who are not contributing to running of clubs.

I'm not convinced this is going to get people into golf if you have never played before, might well get a fair few nomads playing in comps. Obviously there are exceptions but on the whole membership in Scotland is fairly cheap compared to England. IMO the SG would do better trying to convert the massively increasing ageing population i keep readying about and Woman, rather than instead of chucking money at youngsters, who can't afford, don't have the time or inclination to play what is a perfect game for the older person, but i digress;)
 

clubchamp98

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Rubbish, it’s happening now so totally unrelated to this planned initiative, that’s an internal Club issue.
I don’t think the players it impacts on think it’s rubbish .
This is exactly what will happen only on a larger scale.
As these players will need somewhere to play.
But will the members put up with it ? I don’t think they will and it would cause a lot of trouble at some clubs.
But like anything there are two sides to the argument the only real test is if and when it’s implemented then we will see.
 
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all well and good without the clubs we have no where to play and then people who are club members and are paying to keep clubs going are subsidising none members who are not contributing to running of clubs.

I'm not convinced this is going to get people into golf if you have never played before, might well get a fair few nomads playing in comps. Obviously there are exceptions but on the whole membership in Scotland is fairly cheap compared to England. IMO the SG would do better trying to convert the massively increasing ageing population i keep readying about and Woman, rather than instead of chucking money at youngsters, who can't afford, don't have the time or inclination to play what is a perfect game for the older person, but i digress;)
Why would members be subsidising non-members anymore than they are now, it’s the non-playing, hard working family person who are currently hard done to by subsidising the available to play as much as they want member, non-members pay what a club decides.

Less clubs, less choice, surely that gives the surviving succesful clubs more opportunity to increase prices for non-members to play the course.

It seems there is an attitude that if someone wishes to be a member of a club and can only play a few times a year or at weekends they have one choice, pay the full amount or leave.

But if SG gives that person another choice, the clubs will shout it’s unfair.

There isn’t a membership that caters for all, imo, otherwise clubs would use it now.

I agree there’s more to being a member than just playing golf, but to some there isn’t, all they wish to do is use the course and go about their business, they don’t care for the clubhouse or the events the clubs holds etc.

The current method of gaining and holding a CONGU Handicap is very much protected and possibly for some selfish reasons.
 

Grant85

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Personally anyone that plays regularly once or twice a week at their club in comps I don't see leaving

I think this is the point. If you are already playing once a week at a reasonable course, its unlikely you would leave.

If you are paying full fees (c. £1,000) and playing less than once a week, then you are probably not going to remain a member much longer anyway. This was certainly the case for me in 2016 when I couldn't justify full fees.

If you were playing nomad golf (with an SG handicap) you would quickly rack up green fees if you were playing once a week.

This may hurt a few clubs in the short term, but my feeling is that with a bit of initiative and some marketing they could tap into a larger pool of nomad players.

The clubs who think it will be armageddon for them are probably struggling as it is and probably don't have an attractive enough offer.

Also - as Jacko said, there are probably several dozen clubs too many across Scotland and arguably the game would be in a healthier state if there were a number of liquidations or mergers. Ultimately clubs are not pro-active in looking at these and many are probably kidding themselves on about how they will survive and the 'bounty' they will receive with new members if 1 club goes under before them.

The death of a golf club is a very slow process and generally by the time it happens, there are close to 200 members remaining, who won't all join another club and a few that won't live locally any more.

It seems to me you get 2 clubs in the same area that have similar offering and levels of fees. 1 that might be closer to a residential area than the other. You merge them, make 1 a 9 holer with a range / practice area and a portakabin / pavilion. Sell the surplus land, and can invest a bit in the 18 holes to make it more attractive and allow people to see a positive investment that might encourage people to take an interest. You should get the same level of fees, but have saved thousands from your costs each month.

The current situation of both clubs trundling on, at or close to the breadline, pitching deals for nomad golfers each year and basically each deteriorating without proper investment is basically brainless.
 

patricks148

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Why would members be subsidising non-members anymore than they are now, it’s the non-playing, hard working family person who are currently hard done to by subsidising the available to play as much as they want member, non-members pay what a club decides.

Less clubs, less choice, surely that gives the surviving succesful clubs more opportunity to increase prices for non-members to play the course.

It seems there is an attitude that if someone wishes to be a member of a club and can only play a few times a year or at weekends they have one choice, pay the full amount or leave.

But if SG gives that person another choice, the clubs will shout it’s unfair.

There isn’t a membership that caters for all, imo, otherwise clubs would use it now.

I agree there’s more to being a member than just playing golf, but to some there isn’t, all they wish to do is use the course and go about their business, they don’t care for the clubhouse or the events the clubs holds etc.

The current method of gaining and holding a CONGU Handicap is very much protected and possibly for some selfish reasons.

you are entitled to your opinion, but personally i don't think this is going to get more people to get into golf, and i don't think for one minuet its going to help out golf clubs, it just looks like a slippery slop for golf club membership. without members clubs there would be no where to play at a reasonable cost, it would all come down to money making and and courses for the rich..

its will be great for those who either can't afford or don't want to pay to be a member, or they don't play enough, i can't see golf clubs in Scotland being over the moon with this scheme.
 

clubchamp98

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Why would members be subsidising non-members anymore than they are now, it’s the non-playing, hard working family person who are currently hard done to by subsidising the available to play as much as they want member, non-members pay what a club decides.

When you say the “Avaliable to play as much as they want member”
Are you referring to the ones who were working themselves 20/30/40 yrs ago but paid their subs when they had families and could only play once a week.
These members were the ones who kept the club open over the years.
Or someone else?
 

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If it goes ahead and members do drift away then maybe clubs will just put up their visitor rates to claw back the money that way from all these new nomads, which could be a reasonable compromise.
 

Jacko_G

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you are entitled to your opinion, but personally i don't think this is going to get more people to get into golf, and i don't think for one minuet its going to help out golf clubs, it just looks like a slippery slop for golf club membership. without members clubs there would be no where to play at a reasonable cost, it would all come down to money making and and courses for the rich..

its will be great for those who either can't afford or don't want to pay to be a member, or they don't play enough, i can't see golf clubs in Scotland being over the moon with this scheme.

I don't agree, I think that the majority of clubs that are struggling are already down to their "hardcore" membership who will support the club through thick and thin.

I genuinely can't see this type of member giving it up for the sake of SG now being prepared to hold a handicap for them. If they were wanting to do this why not just take out a country membership somewhere else for about £150/200 and play three opens, return the cards and your handicap is secure for another playing season. That would have been the logical answer. Most of these members are members of the club for the social as well as the golfing side.

As I have said earlier it's designed to capture the guys who leave golf for either financial or personal life reasons. The figure I was quoted was 5k per year on average leave golf clubs. This now gives them an avenue to keep golfing, play in opens and social games by paying on or entering an open plus subscribe to SG to keep an active handicap.

Golf clubs get revenue from increased participation from this class of golfer and it allows this class of golfer to "stay in touch" with golf until their circumstances perhaps change. Instead of potentially losing them forever.

I think this is an interesting and positive move. As I said previously I may be wrong but certainly think it's worth exploring and trialing.
 

HankMarvin

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I think this is the point. If you are already playing once a week at a reasonable course, its unlikely you would leave.

If you are paying full fees (c. £1,000) and playing less than once a week, then you are probably not going to remain a member much longer anyway. This was certainly the case for me in 2016 when I couldn't justify full fees.

If you were playing nomad golf (with an SG handicap) you would quickly rack up green fees if you were playing once a week.

This may hurt a few clubs in the short term, but my feeling is that with a bit of initiative and some marketing they could tap into a larger pool of nomad players.

The clubs who think it will be armageddon for them are probably struggling as it is and probably don't have an attractive enough offer.

Also - as Jacko said, there are probably several dozen clubs too many across Scotland and arguably the game would be in a healthier state if there were a number of liquidations or mergers. Ultimately clubs are not pro-active in looking at these and many are probably kidding themselves on about how they will survive and the 'bounty' they will receive with new members if 1 club goes under before them.

The death of a golf club is a very slow process and generally by the time it happens, there are close to 200 members remaining, who won't all join another club and a few that won't live locally any more.

It seems to me you get 2 clubs in the same area that have similar offering and levels of fees. 1 that might be closer to a residential area than the other. You merge them, make 1 a 9 holer with a range / practice area and a portakabin / pavilion. Sell the surplus land, and can invest a bit in the 18 holes to make it more attractive and allow people to see a positive investment that might encourage people to take an interest. You should get the same level of fees, but have saved thousands from your costs each month.

The current situation of both clubs trundling on, at or close to the breadline, pitching deals for nomad golfers each year and basically each deteriorating without proper investment is basically brainless.

Wow some if your ideas are pie in the sky I mean merging 2 clubs and making one a 9 hole course with practice facilities yeah like that's ever going to work or happen.
 

duncan mackie

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I don't agree, I think that the majority of clubs that are struggling are already down to their "hardcore" membership who will support the club through thick and thin.

I genuinely can't see this type of member giving it up for the sake of SG now being prepared to hold a handicap for them. If they were wanting to do this why not just take out a country membership somewhere else for about £150/200 and play three opens, return the cards and your handicap is secure for another playing season. That would have been the logical answer. Most of these members are members of the club for the social as well as the golfing side.

As I have said earlier it's designed to capture the guys who leave golf for either financial or personal life reasons. The figure I was quoted was 5k per year on average leave golf clubs. This now gives them an avenue to keep golfing, play in opens and social games by paying on or entering an open plus subscribe to SG to keep an active handicap.

Golf clubs get revenue from increased participation from this class of golfer and it allows this class of golfer to "stay in touch" with golf until their circumstances perhaps change. Instead of potentially losing them forever.

I think this is an interesting and positive move. As I said previously I may be wrong but certainly think it's worth exploring and trialing.
I think its important to be a little more specific about the target market....and there's also the small matter of the unintended consequences. (Note I don't mean STU being specific - I mean the contributions here 🤔).

Here's a few aspects to consider -
1. The only thing that changes for those leaving a club but going down this route is that they will have a CONGU handicap.
2. Clubs offering opens do so for a variety of reasons (the most heavily marketed is to showcase their course to prospective new members).
3. What are the implications for people who don't live in Scotland - the only geographical restriction applicable to SGU will probably relate to where the clubs are situated, or any competitions organised (obviously a factual matter to be established, but could have significant consequences).
4. Anyone who has been involved in the Open scene in Ireland will be aware of the fiasco associated with the closely related country membership deals and opens/handicaps/eligibility. The opportunity for unintended consequences here are huge (as shown in Ireland) - there was a long thread on this here about 18 months ago from memory. It doesn't take to much imagination to envisage clubs being concerned about a high proportion of their open visitors being dedicated nomads, the members that have historically supported them deciding that aspects of the TT handicapping approach by people whose handicap committee is unlikely to have either met them, or anyone whose played with them much) so move on as well and the whole open scene falling by the wayside...and that's ignoring those who further question why they are remaining a club member and paying fees.

Please don't get me wrong, I think it's admirable that such issues are being looked into in this way - must surprised that the SGU sees itself as the appropriate body to operate and manage the scheme; especially given it's responsibilities to clubs (then again that may be the right reason for them to do it...)

I share Patrick's concerns, as I understand them, but would hope that a better solution can be found rather than simply discarding this one.
 

Jacko_G

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I'm not sure I agree with number 2. Opens are hosted for a variety of reasons. Mainly to generate revenue in terms of green fees and bar takings. Picking up members midway through a golf season isn't really at the top of any agenda I've seen while engaged in committee work.

What about people out with Scotland? SG isn't offering them a handicap. Also under the new handicap/slope rating/index whatever I was under the impression that your handicap can/would travel anywhere?

Dedicated "nomads" with a handicap operated and held by SG will be entitled to play regardless. I'm also quite confident that such scenario will have been studied and lessons learned.

To completely poo poo (not aimed at you Duncan) something without trying it is nonsense especially when there are many benefits to be explored and captured.
 

Hobbit

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For those that have concerns that this may lead to relatively large numbers of nomads I'd ask the question how many of them would leave the club they are at to become nomads. And amongst their swindle/roll up groups how many do they think they might lose.

In reality, the whole club experience is very much ingrained in the vast majority of golfers. The weekly game, the banter amongst relatively large groups. You know what I mean.

Personally, I don't think there'll be an exodus of members and expect the numbers leaving clubs will be pretty much no different than they are now. But as Jacko says, I believe it will keep some people in the game that would have otherwise have left. And of those becoming nomads, especially those doing it for financial reason, where are they going to find the extra money for 3 or 4 green fees a month - might as well of retained membership.

As an aside to that, how many clubs do you think will put up new restrictions to opens, e.g. "must be a member of a club?" There's lots of wrinkles and unknowns to be recognised and addressed before this takes off.
 

Grant85

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Wow some if your ideas are pie in the sky I mean merging 2 clubs and making one a 9 hole course with practice facilities yeah like that's ever going to work or happen.

It's hardly pie in the sky. It's what a business would do in that situation. It makes impeccable sense for clubs to explore options like this. And yet, they don't.

Clubs will defend their independence and will struggle on for well beyond what is sensible and have members volunteering to do jobs that should be done by paid for staff. At that point, it is almost impossible to recover and they don't have a plan to do so either.
 
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