Should This Be the End of Cheap Pay and Play Deals

Doon frae Troon

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Goodness me what weird thinking is going on here.
After the Covid 19 and Brexit double whammy we will be in for at least 10 years of severe austerity with approx. 3-4m unemployed.
In times of hardship many golfers give up expensive memberships and settle for the odd PAYP game.
Membership fees will then double turning golf once again into a popular game for the rich, gangsters, drug dealers, smugglers and black marketeers.;)
 

HomerJSimpson

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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
 

SammmeBee

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This is where i have to disagree with the generality of that statement. I am not in an uncommon position, I work all week and have family to spend time with and so I can play once a week most weeks, twice occasionally, sometimes not at all. My club had nothing but 7 day membership and so actually nearly £1000.00 a year for the amount of golf I was playing was not value when compared to pay and play deals available. You add in to that the time lost this year due to the weather and that is what pushed my decision not to renew. For those who can only play at weekends in the main (and that is quite a few) a traditional 7 day membership does not offer massive value.

£20 a week........take 5 day then for less if you can’t play weekends? Play as much golf as you like when the light/weather allows?
 

SammmeBee

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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

Never been said before.....but Big Yellow is accurate and correct on this occasion!
 

big_matt

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I can only see removing pay to play and trying to force everyone into expensive memberships as helping to continue the slow death of golf.

Numbers have been decreasing for a long time. Is someone thinking about trying the sport more likely to try it for £10 for a single round or £800 etc for a years membership?

Id suggest the opposite of the original suggestion: golf clubs have to move into this century and provide flexible, cost effective packages to tempt a variety of people to come and play. Other membership focussed sports worked this out ages ago.
 

Canary_Yellow

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Golf would die out if it were a members only game in my opinion.

There wouldn’t be enough new golfers coming along in the future to sustain the membership numbers required. In fact, isn’t that exactly why clubs had to start offering deals? Because membership numbers dropped and alternative revenue streams were required?
 

HomerJSimpson

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There have to be viable options but as the consumer you also need to consider what works best for you. If weekends are primarily family time and so playing Saturday and Sunday aren't viable then look for five day membership and play midweek or evenings. Also with more and more clubs offering credit schemes then more options open up. I do think clubs need to be more versatile with their offerings (and imo get rid of the age break discounts) and get creative about how they cater for their membership. Clearly the elderly members who regularly play at set times, and those that are happy in their roll up groups won't want a change. Roll ups need to be less cliquey and open for all. However with people working different hours these days (at least pre-Covid) and working practices set to be completely different going forward (for a while) lets look at how we can entice people in and offer them the time to play they want. That is how clubs can survive
 

Canary_Yellow

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It was actually most popular when pay and play didn't exist.

That may be coincidence, but it's true.

Edit: "didn't exist much".

Yep, and then dinosaurs died out, women got the vote, etc

I’m being slightly silly there of course, but I think your cart has over taken your horse.
 

fundy

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There have to be viable options but as the consumer you also need to consider what works best for you. If weekends are primarily family time and so playing Saturday and Sunday aren't viable then look for five day membership and play midweek or evenings. Also with more and more clubs offering credit schemes then more options open up. I do think clubs need to be more versatile with their offerings (and imo get rid of the age break discounts) and get creative about how they cater for their membership. Clearly the elderly members who regularly play at set times, and those that are happy in their roll up groups won't want a change. Roll ups need to be less cliquey and open for all. However with people working different hours these days (at least pre-Covid) and working practices set to be completely different going forward (for a while) lets look at how we can entice people in and offer them the time to play they want. That is how clubs can survive


so what would you do if you run a club Homie?
 

GB72

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Out if interest, how do other sports work (honestly no idea). Can you hire a court at tennis clubs or squash clubs or are they members only. Not trying to make a point just don't actually know.
 

big_matt

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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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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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