Here’s the top 3 things I learnt about golf club management in November

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 2, 2014 14:42

Here’s the top 3 things I learnt about golf club management in November:

There’s something to look out for on May 8, 2015

As someone with a degree in politics, I’ve always been a big fan of election nights, but next year’s one will even have a golfing element attached to it, as Vivien Saunders, chair of the Association of the Golf Course Owners, will stand as an MP, possibly in Maidstone and the Weald, on a platform of a reduced rate of VAT for all sports.

She wont get elected and she wont even retain her deposit, but Vivien will bring more prominence to an issue she has campaigned on for many years.

Is it time we started asking tough questions about ethnic diversity?

All this year there has been so much focus on why women, who make up just 14 percent of golf club members, are so underrepresented in golf, which culminated in The Royal & Ancient Golf Club’s vote to admit females as members this September.

But there is barely any talk about why just two percent of regular golfers in England are non-white.

It is a shockingly low figure and is the reason why the Surrey and Middlesex county golf partnerships set up a ‘Get into golf’ stand at the recent London Mela cultural festival – which became a fact finding mission on what deters people from ethnic minorities from taking up golf.

It’s time more followed Surrey’s and Middlesex’s lead.

The economic downturn has meant golfers have got older

Fifteen years older in just five years, to be precise, as the average age of golfers who play once a week is up from 48 to 63 since 2009, according to new research.

It’s a very worrying figure for anyone concerned about the long-term health of the game.

There are several clubs that have increased the percentage of members they have aged under 50 in the last five years though.

It might also be time more followed their lead too.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 2, 2014 14:42
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1 Comment

  1. Bob Braban December 9, 17:24

    Seniors are usually a hot topic in golf clubs so I am surprised not to see a few comments. For many clubs it has been a committee tradition to treat seniors with disdain, when the smart club should be very welcoming. You could very easily sustain a club with a lower age limit of 55 years; try doing it with an upper age limit of 55! The statement ‘It’s a very worrying figure for anyone concerned about the long-term health of the game’ is shallow. There are more seniors coming to retirement at this time and they are the golden generation. Many have quality pensions so can afford to pay club subscriptions, they have time to play so can justify the growing expense and a good number retire looking for a sport that will replace a busy working life. Moreover, they are amongst the most likely members to introduce the younger members to the game. On the financial side, they also give better support to club catering facilities and provide a significant part of the income; they do not change their shoes in car park and give the remainder of the club a wide berth as is the habit for many younger players who do not have the time to offer more. Seniors may not frequently be among the raucous evening occupants at the bar, but that is a false measure.

    The intelligently managed club will develop this considerable asset and formally recognise a Seniors’ section that encourages more seniors to join it. The smart business takes its customers from wherever they may be found and does not deter certain types of customer because it prefers others. However. that seems to remain the culture of some golf clubs.

    Bob Braban

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