Should This Be the End of Cheap Pay and Play Deals

backwoodsman

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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.
 

howbow88

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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.
 

Slab

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Leaving aside the initial post lockdown rush

Isn't a no visitor model on members clubs a bit like having your cake etc
Don't many members clubs have affiliate deals giving member players nominal /free golf at other courses?
Financially what's the benefit in giving that tee time away for next to naff all (to a non member) when a visitor could take the spot and pay double

Why should a member at one club take a tee away from a member or visitor at another club for little or no financial gain

Are these (nearly) free rounds any different to that club offering a cheap deal on a 3rd party website?
 

Fish

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Leaving aside the initial post lockdown rush

Isn't a no visitor model on members clubs a bit like having your cake etc
Don't many members clubs have affiliate deals giving member players nominal /free golf at other courses?
Financially what's the benefit in giving that tee time away for next to naff all (to a non member) when a visitor could take the spot and pay double

Why should a member at one club take a tee away from a member or visitor at another club for little or no financial gain

Are these (nearly) free rounds any different to that club offering a cheap deal on a 3rd party website?

My club has no reciprocal clubs.

I suppose those that do monitor to gauge if the traffic is indeed reciprocal and not one-way.
 

slowhand

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Slightly different area, but what are people’s thoughts on the points based schemes such as play more golf? Just been looking at a club near me (Scarcroft) which charges £1300 for full membership (which I cannot even begin to justify with how often I play). With the points system I would pay £325 for the year, and get 100 points. Most expensive tee time is 9 points, which means I get 11 rounds before I need to think about buying more. Since I play once to twice a month in summer, this seems like a good fit.

But how do full members view it? Do you resent these “cheaper” members. I wouldn't get all the benefits, as I wouldn’t be eligible to play in the clubs majors
 

Slab

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Clubs generally limit these reciprocal tee times.
They are an added value to each club's membership package that costs each club nothing.

Costs a tee time doesn't it, that a visitor could buy

Ok maybe its limited to a couple of times a year... Times 400 members

I'm just saying if you favour a full members model and don't want 3rd party players then be prepared to give up any affiliate deal too
 

ScienceBoy

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If anything this should be a move away from the traditional model of membership for a number of clubs, a great chance to reset the business model to something that doesn’t rely on bar intakes to turn a profit.
 

Slab

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A couple of weekday 4 balls per week maybe, all of whom will probably eat and drink something? I doubt there are many members clubs that are so rammed every weekday that they can't reciprocate 2 tee times per week.

Why would any club want to give it up, it's a nice benefit.

Probably can fit them in no problem but equally they can fit in some visitors too
I'd have thought there was an equal chance of a visitor having a drink and some food though?

If a members club doesn't want visitors that's cool, no problem at all. But let's not pretend that a member at club A is anything other than a 3rd party pay and play golfer when they are playing at affiliate clubs B, C & D a couple of times a year (maybe not even paying anything!)
 

garyinderry

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When I played at a club that had reciprocal deals.

You could only play when it really really suited the other club. Limited to the amount of times you could do it.

It was a nice idea but a pain in the backside to get sorted.

Only did it a few times.
 

Doon frae Troon

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In my opinion future price modeling at most golf clubs will see OAP/Senior benefits go and I would imagine some sort of membership fee that is based on the amount of rounds you play.
Some of the smaller clubs will have to revert back to the artisan\volunteer methods of the 1950\60s to survive.
Discounts only for 'family' type memberships.
 

Crumplezone

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Just joined here to have my say on this thread.

My wife & I have played golf for 8 years or so and have little interest in joining a club. Speaking for myself, I don't want play the same course every week. I enjoy playing different courses. I have no interest in the social aspect of a golf club. The type of people who are, are generally not the sort of people I am interested in socialising with. I have had the misfortune to encounter some of the more obnoxious members on and around courses. I have no interest in playing in comps or with random people. I have no interest in getting an official handicap. I don't care if a course isn't in pristine condition. I play with friends too. So there is no incentive whatsoever for me to join a club.

I use online booking to get the best price I can. Sometime this is through the club's site, sometimes through teeofftimes etc. It seems that some club members look down on those who aren't and don't think they should be allowed on their course. Or they think that visitors have less respect for the course. It's clear to me that many members fail to fix divots and pitch marks and don't rake bunkers, which I always do. At a time like this, if tee times are at a premium, then members should get priority up to a point, but visitors keeps clubs going too.

Plenty of people don't join clubs for one or more of the reasons I've mentioned. Golf still has a snobby, exclusive and expensive reputation because of attitudes like this and many people are put off the game. In reality there's no reason why golf can't be fairly cheap and accessible, but maybe some don't want it to be.
 

GB72

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You make so many unfounded, incorrect assumptions there, it's just laughable. Nearly.
Have to agree there. I started the post just as a debating point not from some elitist standpoint. As I have said in this thread, I am currently not a member at a club and am looking at various options as membership does not suit me at the moment but just thought it interesting that clubs would be helped by more members but membership could be hindered by the fact that they also offer cheap deals. At the moment those deals are less prevalent and it has, in some cases resulted in the increased membership they have been looking for.
 

Crumplezone

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You make so many unfounded, incorrect assumptions there, it's just laughable. Nearly.

I haven't made any assumptions. It's exactly how everything appears to me from my direct experience and posts on this forum. I can't see how anyone can disagree with any of it. Can you be more specific?

Rates for tee times are higher since lockdown, but I still have no interest in joining a club and do not foresee ever joining a club.
 
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