Golf operator sees business grow by 50% in last year

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 27, 2019 19:13

An operator of two Scottish golf clubs has said its business has grown by more than 50 per cent in the current financial year.

North Lanarkshire Leisure, operator of Palacerigg Golf Club in Cumbernauld and Lochview Family Golf Centre in Coatbridge, says the growth is down to offering shorter versions of the game, attracting children to the venues, offering affordable golf and investing in the facilities.

“Golf is changing,” said John Kelly, North Lanarkshire Leisure’s golf manager.

“From people playing nine holes instead of 18 and looking at different ways to play the game. At Lochview Family Golf Centre, we have a driving range and a junior academy, and we are bucking the trend by having a hundred kids at that most weeks for lessons.”

Speaking to The Scotsman, Kelly added: “It doesn’t have to be as negative as a lot of people are painting it to be as it is the complete opposite as far as we are concerned.

“I think what we offer is the future for a lot of people. Palacerigg used to maintain the clubhouse and they had to put that charge on their members. That was, say, £200 and we were then charging £300 for a season ticket, meaning it was around the same price as some of the private clubs.

Palacerigg Golf Club. © Facebook

“We’ve taken over the ownership of the clubhouse and Palacerigg have dropped their fees to £50 to £60. That has opened the floodgates. People are leaving Dullatur, Westerwood and Airdrie because they are getting golf at a very affordable price.

“When Mount Ellen shut recently, we took in 48 members. We have the same expenditure as any private golf club. We just keep investing year in year out and we are seeing the benefit of that.

“I personally don’t see all this negativity. Everything for us is quite exciting and, when I go to the CEO of North Lanarkshire Leisure with a new idea, she will generally say, ‘great, let’s give it a go’. For instance, we have what is called a ‘bolt-on’ membership. If you are a member of our gyms, you can play golf for £17 per month at both courses. It is like a lifestyle membership. You are rolling your health and leisure into one payment.

“You need to think out of the box and my message to clubs would be have a look around. It’s not just about the money. People can’t justify the time now. People are looking for options. I’m not encouraging people not to join golf clubs. That’s 100 per cent not what I am doing. But, if you can’t justify that, we can still keep them playing golf in some way.”


Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 27, 2019 19:13
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