Should clubs offer reduced green fees for UK golfers ?

Junior

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Spurred on from the ‘Random Irritations’ thread.

I know it’s supply and demand, I know the SGU offer something for Scottish residents but I fear the top golf courses may soon by out of reach for the average green fee paying golfer.

A lot of these top courses used to accept county cards and offer reduced fees for a couple of hours tee times on a Tuesday afternoon and it was a great way to spend half a days holiday. Sadly this is no longer the case as a lot of the top courses near me (NW coast) are cashing in on the golf tourism trade. Some are reporting that 70% of the green fees are from American golfers.

Should / can something be done ? Or will we just go the way of the USA whereby green fees on top courses will be for the minority who can afford it ($595 for Pebble this Summer)
 

jim8flog

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but I fear the top golf courses may soon by out of reach for the average green fee paying golfer.

Top golf courses have always been out of my reach as a fee paying visitor and I have played for over 40 years.

I have been lucky to play a few in this area through interclub matches and at one time Senior Opens but even those are now increasing beyond my pocket.

The top courses in this area went off the county card over 30 years ago.
 
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We seem to be way behind everywhere else on this. I've been to so many places that have local resident rates. Scotland, Ireland, USA, Australia......they all seem to have them and they apply to all courses that accept visitors.
Until the supply of rich americans, aussies, japanese etc dry up I think we are stuck with the crazy prices.

There does seem to be a growing number of 'clubs' you can sign up to for access to top tier clubs but they are often only for members of 'top 100' clubs but these can be expensive as well. Thousand Greens used to be free but is now $250 a year.
 

Billysboots

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I think the clue is in the second paragraph - it’s all about supply and demand.

Sadly, these clubs, like any others, need the green fees to survive. Whilst visitors are willing to pay extortionate fees, and sadly many are, the clubs will continue to charge them.

It’s been that way in the 40+ years I’ve been playing the game, and won’t ever change.
 

Crow

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I believe that part of the swell in American visitor numbers can be put down to the YouTube crowd (No Laying Up, Good Good, Eric Anders Lang, etc, etc) playing UK courses and highlighting how cheap and accessible they are compared to US courses.

There are a lot of wealthy Americans more than happy to make a one-off or even an annual or trip to play these historic and great courses.
 

Slab

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We have different rates for several activities that tourists may use including green fees. A rock up tourist (without golf inc their travel package) can expect to pay up to three times the rate of a local resident
 

patricks148

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Alas even the SGU discount rates have dwindled over the last 10 years, used to be dozens of course with offers to SGU members but thats now a fraction of what it was when i first started playing up here. I suppose membership is still relatively cheap compared to England. Ireland has the best set up as far as i can see.
 

pendodave

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I believe that part of the swell in American visitor numbers can be put down to the YouTube crowd (No Laying Up, Good Good, Eric Anders Lang, etc, etc) playing UK courses and highlighting how cheap and accessible they are compared to US courses.

There are a lot of wealthy Americans more than happy to make a one-off or even an annual or trip to play these historic and great courses.
I agree, but it bugs the hell out of me.

They all belong to lovely private clubs that won't let any anyone in, then come over here and say how lovely it is to just rock up and play our best courses.
We should refuse entry unless they offer up reciprocal access.

I'll go and lie down now.
 

williamalex1

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Scottish Golf hold a ballot for a limited number of winter tee times at some top courses .
Fees vary from around £300 to £350 for a 4 ball.
Muirfield, Preswick, Royal Troon, Cabot Highlands, Castle Stuart.
 
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HeftyHacker

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I believe there's also a knock on impact of the overseas tourism in that many of the clubs surrounding the Open venue courses have had to UP their prices in order to attract the overseas visitors.

Was talking to a few members from St Annes Old Links and they were saying their visitors green fees were jumping up because if they weren't expensive enough the overseas visitors simply dismissed them when visiting the area to play Royal Lytham etc. and assumed they weren't worth a visit.

From the clubs point of view it makes perfect sense - half the footfall for the same money and anything else is a bonus. But from a local POV it's a real shame.
 
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I agree, but it bugs the hell out of me.

They all belong to lovely private clubs that won't let any anyone in, then come over here and say how lovely it is to just rock up and play our best courses.
We should refuse entry unless they offer up reciprocal access.

I'll go and lie down now.
Not only that. The comments you read from some of these yanks are in line with "and it's not very expensive either". I clearly live on another planet as these folks! :ROFLMAO:
 

Lord Tyrion

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Yes, it would be a good thing to do.
Doesn't seem to be many visitors from UK at my club these days.
I was lucky enough to get an invite to play North Berwick this year, not far from you I'm guessing. £15 as a guest member. Fabulous day, fabulous course. The green fees that day were £215 and there were stacks of Americans in 4 balls, with caddies etc. I've just checked their site now and fees for next year are £240. I won't play there again unless I'm lucky enough to get another invite. It just doesn't stack up.

I don't blame the course / courses, it makes business sense. It is just a shame that these courses are not easily accessible now, financially.
 

Banchory Buddha

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We seem to be way behind everywhere else on this. I've been to so many places that have local resident rates. Scotland, Ireland, USA, Australia......they all seem to have them and they apply to all courses that accept visitors.
Until the supply of rich americans, aussies, japanese etc dry up I think we are stuck with the crazy prices.

There does seem to be a growing number of 'clubs' you can sign up to for access to top tier clubs but they are often only for members of 'top 100' clubs but these can be expensive as well. Thousand Greens used to be free but is now $250 a year.
This is just not the case. Scottish resident rates are rare, and where in place are usually local postcode rates and not Scotland wide
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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I think the clue is in the second paragraph - it’s all about supply and demand.

Sadly, these clubs, like any others, need the green fees to survive. Whilst visitors are willing to pay extortionate fees, and sadly many are, the clubs will continue to charge them.

It’s been that way in the 40+ years I’ve been playing the game, and won’t ever change.
Could you elaborate a bit on this please…
 

Billysboots

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Could you elaborate a bit on this please…

I should have thought it was obvious. Whilst perhaps a generalisation, every business requires revenue streams to remain on an even keel, and I suspect that applies to pretty much every club there is, regardless of status.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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I should have thought it was obvious. Whilst perhaps a generalisation, every business requires revenue streams to remain on an even keel, and I suspect that applies to pretty much every club there is, regardless of status.
They could cut their outgoings to match reduced income…I doubt any would go under.

Strikes me that too many top clubs - especially the older great clubs, not just championship clubs - have entered into a pact with the golfer (perhaps most often from US/Japan) who has the money, and expects the course to be in immaculate condition - with fairways like Axminster carpets and greens like billiard tables. These things are not necessary, but having gone down that route the clubs then have to charge what they do to maintain that standard - it is a self-perpetuating cycle of increasing cost leading to increased expectations leading to increased costs.

And it is not necessary.

When I have played great (and the better) courses I am looking for what the course architect and nature has set me as a challenge. I do not need perfect fairways and greens to enjoy the glory of Perthshire when playing the challenge Braid set for us at Gleneagles, or the beauty and challenges of the links landscapes of Ayrshire or East Lothian. I quite simply do not.

Reduce visitor greens fees; accept reduced income; cut costs; let the course evolve and return back to what it was even just 30-40yrs ago, a time when green fees for the championship courses were relatively high…but they were also relatively affordable.
 
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