Scottish club sees membership increase following family-friendly approach

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 18, 2018 05:22 Updated

An historic Scottish golf club has reported that its membership figures across male, female, junior and youth categories all rose in 2018.

Elgin Golf Club says the healthy increase is due to it adopting a ‘family-friendly approach on and off the course’.

The inland 18-hole parkland layout now has 1,222 members on its books, an increase of 95 on 2017. Of that number, 581 are full members, but the biggest rise has been in junior membership, up by 52 to 142, with youth membership also up by 13.

As well as work on the course, it’s behind-the-scenes changes that have brought a new vibrancy to the club and in turn attracted a more diverse membership with a younger age profile.

“The town is coming to us now, we were on the outskirts of Elgin before, but they are coming to us now,” notes club manager Barbara-Anne Rumbles of a club founded in 1906 and one now certainly moving with the modern times. “It needs to be more inclusive to the environment we are in.”

Research from The R&A has illustrated the vast potential to grow women’s, girls’ and family golf. For Elgin, 60 women initially turned up for Get into Golf coaching, with 28 signing up for weekly lessons and a £150 membership subscription on offer. Eight converted to full membership, with women’s ordinary and senior membership now totalling over 100.

“The ladies totally love the environment in the club and the social aspect as well,” adds Barbara-Anne. “That is huge for women these days.” Rumbles has been at the heart of developments, first arriving at the club as an administrator with a background in HR and finance in 2015 and soon becoming club manager inside a year, given her passion for the role and the sport.

“We haven’t totally renovated the clubhouse, but it was tired and needed freshening, so we decided to adapt the clubhouse to our current membership,” explains Rumbles.

“We used to have a junior lounge, but we now see it that the juniors shouldn’t be in a room. They are now free to go wherever they like. We utilise that room now as a sports bar, with the main lounge as a function area for the likes of comedy nights, or gin and tapas nights. We have more flexibility in the clubhouse for the membership. We are targeting families, so it’s changing the mindset that golf clubs are not just a friendly place for golfers alone.

“That was one of the big things that we did last year with our women’s coaching. We invited them up, through the support of ClubGolf volunteer coaches, and said ‘look, you’ve never touched a golf club but you are welcome here and can also enjoy the social side’.”

Rumbles explains that also being more open with the membership as a whole has helped drive change. “A big thing was to say my door is always open, so that members and visitors could feel that they could come in at any time. They can have a coffee and if there is an issue or they want advice then things are dealt with there and then.

“I think that was the biggest thing from day one, the open door policy. Before even getting the job, I would spend probably 80 per cent of my time with the membership. I’d come in early and do paperwork and then spend a lot of time speaking to members and finding out any issues. They just loved that. I think nowadays members want a club manager they can speak to and relate to.”

Rumbles added that in 2018 the club also ran a promotion that offered seven months’ membership for the price of six, which drew in 23 new faces, notably among the mid-20s to early 30s age bracket.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 18, 2018 05:22 Updated
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6 Comments

  1. Darren December 18, 13:35

    Golf clubs can prosper… family friendly initiatives are definitely the way forward ⛳️️‍♀️‍♂️ #lovegolf

    Reply to this comment
  2. William December 18, 15:01

    That seems an unbelievable jump in new members!?!

    Reply to this comment
  3. kneale December 18, 21:21

    Great course and great staff well done to you all

    Reply to this comment
  4. ben December 19, 06:36

    Looking after your future development is very important, well done.

    Reply to this comment
  5. David December 19, 09:17

    I played there many years ago, it was lovely.

    Reply to this comment
  6. philip December 19, 13:40

    Well done. all golf clubs should follow your example .Juniors and family members is the future of golf.

    Reply to this comment
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