‘Raise VAT’ call leads to angry backlash

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 25, 2012 08:39

‘Raise VAT’ call leads to angry backlash

Proprietary golf clubs have been angrily derided as ‘soulless’ in reaction to a call by the chief executive of Burhill Golf and Leisure for VAT to be increased on membership subscriptions at private members’ clubs and reduced at profit-making ones.

On Wednesday the UK Golf Course Owners Association (UKGCOA) released a statement from its chairman, Burhill’s Colin Mayes, to the golf industry, in which he said that the levy should be reduced from 20 per cent to five per cent at proprietary clubs, and increased from zero to five at private members’ clubs, which do not make a profit for their owners.

However, this has led to an angry backlash from those involved in private clubs, with one person even saying he hopes that several proprietary clubs close down.

Mr Mayes, CEO of Burhill Golf and Leisure, which runs 11 proprietary golf venues and was named by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2010 as one of the UK’s top 100 companies with the fastest-growing profits, said: “Over the past few months, there has been significant debate and activity relating to the issue of tax inequality in golf.

“Both private members’ golf clubs and proprietary golf clubs offer sport and recreation, yet are treated differently – and, in our view, unfairly – by HMRC.

“The UKGCOA is seeking an outcome that is fair and equitable, not just for the UK’s golf course proprietors, but golf and participation sports as a whole.

“And that’s why we seek a level playing field for all and to align ourselves with both England Golf and the Sports and Recreation Alliance by proposing a five per cent VAT rate for all sports clubs.”

Brian Inglis, a former secretary at a private members’ golf club, responded: “To suggest the reintroduction of any level of VAT on regular golf club membership is ludicrous and in my view this loses the UKGCOA some credibility as a body with the interests of our great game at heart.

“Proprietary clubs aren’t running golf facilities for the good of the public’s health and wellbeing, and now that the lean years have set in it’s becoming tiresome to hear the same drum being beaten over and over as it becomes harder to satisfy shareholders.

“I’ve never been one for frequenting the proprietary-type facilities, and with a few high quality and obvious exceptions, I’ve found them to be pretty soulless places from a golfing perspective, with the ‘golf’ part of it feeling kind of incidental to the main commercial activity going on. You’re more of a season ticket holder than a member.”

A separate industry insider, who said that while he does know of successful and profitable proprietary clubs, and unsuccessful private ones, nonetheless even stated that he hoped that some proprietary clubs will close down.

The man, who works for several companies that supply products to both private members’ and proprietary golf clubs, said: “Too many – largely proprietary – golf clubs were built in the gold rush after The R&A stated in the early 1990s that proprietors could make money by building new venues. Around 50 per cent of clubs are now losing members and money. If those new clubs hadn’t been built then the existing clubs would still have waiting lists.

“If only 50 per cent of those clubs had been built I think we’d see something much closer to equilibrium.

“If there were less proprietary clubs, and that’s what market forces suggest is needed, and if dare say it, they deserved to fade away, go under the plough, whatever, what’s the problem?

“And if the current rate of 20 per cent VAT helps them go there, that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?”

Mr Mayes also stated that the results of this month’s Chipping Sodbury case are not likely to be known for many months. He said it will take two to three months to find out the tribunal’s decision and, as the losing side is likely to appeal, a further 12 months until that is resolved. He added that the decision will probably affect all sports’ clubs, and not just golf clubs, and praised England Golf for the work it has done on trying to achieve a fair tax regime for all golf clubs.

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 25, 2012 08:39
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34 Comments

  1. Jackie Talbot May 17, 11:40

    We are a proprietory business and I find the comments of the man in the article ridiculous and short sighted. We have been in business for 25 years and have brought a lot of pleasure to locals who were unable to play at the other local clubs due to their snootiness and snobbery. We do have other things going on other than two 18 hole golf courses, however, we all feel that it adds to the community to provide something for everyone. Why not check us out at http://www.dewstow.co.uk …. near Chepstow, South Wales ….. you may have heared of a few others near us lol, but we have had many satisfied visitors who didnt know we existed. EVERYONE IS WELCOME AT OURS 🙂 …..

    Reply to this comment
  2. Paul Taylor September 23, 07:45

    If any of you would want to learn more about vat, what England golf are doing, what the UKGCOA are doing for vat and golf, please come and attend the ukgcoas roadshows for free. It includes a free lunch and quality time with owners and CEOs in the Uks golfing industry.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mork May 31, 15:07

    Most people on this thread are either cut and pasteing, blowing their own trumpets or slating a guy for having an opinion oh yes and I see no apologys yet. Sad.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Alan Key May 31, 12:27

    I find it quite humorous that most people in this thread are having a healthy debate and “Mork” comes in and tries to belittle people without actually bringing anything valid to the conversation, very mature!

    Fact of the matter is there is a distortion in VAT, but there is not a distortion (despite what many private clubs believe) in operations, therefore it is not a level playing field and the situation is unfair.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Brian Inglis May 29, 16:50

    My curiosity is now running wild……..thanks for the support Mork, and I can understand your position of anonymity as there is no point in risking the wrath of the “speed-readers” by revealing your name……you can be accused of all sorts as I have found out this week to my chagrin……and mild surprise I must confess.

    On reflection, I was probably a bit more polite to Richard H. than the tone of his post merited, but there you go…..and he may retract his comments, or he may not…….no big deal either way to me.

    I clicked on Ken Thornton’s link and wondered if it were he to whom you were referring when you coined the ironic phrase “bright spark”? His link doesn’t work, so he’s certainly in the frame…..

    Good point about the forum too – who would dare?

    Reply to this comment
  6. Mork May 29, 14:36

    just noticed that the last bright spark to slag you off can’t even type his own website proper and maybe Mr driving range, farmer all round greatest guy in the world ever will take it back too. Long live punter golf! Hilarious.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Mork May 29, 13:29

    Brian, stop defending yourself man, they’re not in the mood. Poor guy gives his opinion and gets murderred for stuff he never said. Hope the new forum is a bit easier to understand for the dimwits who can’t read mind you I can’t see many people posting on it if the abuse aimed at Brian Inglis is anything to go by. I’ve met him a few times in the past and he is maybe rude etc but he’s good at what he does not that’s going to matter to some folks on here

    Reply to this comment
  8. Alistair Dunsmuir May 29, 11:41

    Can I reiterate Brian’s comment that he did not say that he hopes proprietary clubs go under.

    This comment was made by an anonymous industry insider who works on a daily basis with proprietary and private members’ clubs.

    Due to the enormous interest in this story we will be launching a forum for people to debate golf club management issues, rather than merely individual stories that can quickly go out of date, in the next few days

    Alistair Dunsmuir

    Reply to this comment
  9. Ken Thornton May 29, 11:31

    To me there are two extreme points of view here. There are a number of proprietary clubs and private members clubs who fall in between. Yes there are big groups who do make a profit but there are far more stand alone proprietary clubs, like us who have been around since 1929, who probably provide good facilities for its members as any private club and the majority of members would not know they are a member of a proprietary golf club.

    Brian Inglis’ comments wishing that many proprietary clubs should go under is a very selfish attitude as this would put a lot of people out of work and many of these stand alone proprietary club owners have worked extremely hard to be in a position to own a golf club.

    I think Brian also seems to be looking for excuses why more people do not belong to clubs when really I think he should be looking to England Golf who have lost thousands of members over the years and seem to be doing nothing to try to win these members back on all our behalf.

    I believe that England Golf should move over to become a marketing organisation that promotes golf and to try to change the concept that lots of people had about belonging to a golf club.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Vivien Saunders May 29, 00:51

    Actually the UK Golf Course Owners Association is doing absolutely nothing to support the proprietary clubs in fighting the VAT distortion. It is Association of Golf Course Owners which, through its volunteers is doing all the work on this. We are a lobbying group which has been fighting against VAT distortion since 1993 and have always come up against the EGU whenever we have got near Government Ministers. England Golf is now trying to step in to campaign for 5% VAT. The UKGCOA wants to be close up to them. AGCO started the ball rolling with an e-petition asking for 5% instead of 20% for all sport. Proprietary clubs cannot even be affiliated to England Golf. Their members’ have to have their own club which has the vote to England Golf. AGCO has raised the funds to get Michael Sherry, the tax barrister, to represent the whole industry at the Chipping Sodbury VAT case and once that battle is won will campaign for fairness in business rates, affiliation fees and corporation tax. UKGCOA is too keen to be Establishment to tackle those issues. I suggest we stick to tax and things we understand and they do benchmarking, group buying and the ‘nice guy’ easy things!!! And as for Brian Inglis …. His business is about selling his services as a locum or for holiday relief as a manager. He might have wiped out most of his opportunities by being so rude about proprietary clubs. Before his brief stay at Lancaster GC it looks as though he was running a proprietary club in Scotland.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Brian Inglis May 28, 16:00

    Richard, I’m sorry if my comments have caused you offence, although the “bankrupt” statement came from the chap who had the sense to remain anonymous!

    I was asked my opinion and gave it –
    I don’t agree that UKGCOA should fight one battle by advocating that VAT be added to club subscriptions where there is currently none, and I think they are losing sympathy via this stance.
    I also said I found the constant complaining to be tiresome and though I accept I could have used more sympathetic words, it was hardly vitriolic as you suggest.
    I also said that I hadn’t particularly enjoyed many visits I had made to proprietory venues, and had had the feeling that in many cases money making seemed to overshadow the golfing aspect for me. That’s clearly not the case at your venue, and many others of course, but that’s the impression I’ve had elsewhere.

    So, an unreserved apology from me to you for any perceived ill will on my part towards you and your brother – I know only too well how much our great game depends on people like you (of course there are many) and wish you all the very best in what you do today and in the future.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Richard H. Chatham May 28, 15:20

    How sad that the game of golf should be soured by such a vitreolic statement made by somebody who, apparently, should know better. Twenty years ago, my brother and I opened our driving Range, two years later we opened our 9 hole course. 6 years ago we built and opened our Clubhouse. During those twenty years we have introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of boys and girls, men and ladies to the game of golf. On the driving range, all junior lessons are subsidised by free balls. Every year we close the Range and hold our local TriGolf Festival for the local Primaray Schools.(150 children booked in this year on June 13th) We do not charge anything for that – we actually give all those attending a gift – not great I admit, but a gift – oh yes, and free lessons with one of our Professionals for the 10 most promising. We run lessons for secondary School groups – subsidised by either England Golf or The Golf Foundation, our junior annual fee is £95 – 20 % VAT of Course. our 5 day fee is £395 – 20% VAT of Course, and our 7 Day fees are £465 – 20% VAT of course – oh sorry, I should explain, the VAT figure is contained within those figures. Oh yes we are a real profiteering organisation.

    Have we, as a Proprietory Club, brought anything to the sport of golf – yes I believe we have. We have brought a “no fear” attitude to the introduction of golf. I would not dare to criticise some of the private members clubs, but even gaining an entrance to their club house to enquire about golf is a terrifying ordeal. That is up to each club and a member’s club – owned by the members – has the right to handle their club and business as they wish. When we built the new clubhouse as well as steps to the front door we also made a sloped approach – not to compy with DDA but to make it easier to approach the front door!!! However, we open our doors to the local Gloucestershire College for Adult Evening Classes. We host lessons and practice for disadvantaged members of our community. We welcome the local Young Farmer’s group, Scouts, Round Table, 41 Club, Rotary, W.I. and many more societies to try out the game. We also host the Gloucestershire Golf Partnership on some of their training days, the County Junior Squad and the County Junior Academy on their training days, we host County matches, from under14’s toCounty Seniors versus County 2nd Team!! I sit on the County Executive of the Gloucestershire Golf Union, I have been a representative on the County Golf Union Council for 18 years and this week, I shall give up four days to be a Senior Marshall for the Wales Open as I do every year. 2 years ago I was Senior Marshall in charge of hole 13 for the Ryder Cup – I gave up several weeks for that! When we started the Club in 1995, we linked up with two other local Proprietory Clubs to give our members a taste of competitive Golf. Two years later a group of us in the County started the Glos. 4 Ball League, now included in the County year book and our Juniors take part in the North Glos Junior Alliance.

    So Mr inglis, if you have any shred of common decency and value the game that has obviously fulfilled part of your life – I will not ask if you were paid as Club Secretary or did you give your time free gratis and for nothing as I do with my Club – I request a formal and open apology to those of us in this sport who give of their time and energy to further it development. Yes, My brother and I may be owners of a Proprietory Club but for how much longer – not much if you get your way but that ownership brings with it a singular commitment to the sport. It certainly does not bring expensive cars and salaries to compete with employed staff elsewhere in similar circumstances. However, This sport faces too many challenges and obstacles in the near future, falling memberships, rising costs, difficulties in amenity grassland managemnent which will bring massively increased costs, HSE, environmental health and ecological restrictions. We need to meet this as one not one divided for any reason whatsowever. Whilst there is any divisive element, HMRC will be raisng flags and jumping for joy. A divided sport is far easier to clamp down upon by degrees.

    The application of VAT is unfair and divisive within this sport. What Mr Inglis fails to acknowledge is that the exempt status enjoyed by “Non Profit Making members Clubs” naturally precludes them from claiming VAT on that sector of their costs. A 5% figure across the board would cost these exempt clubs nothing worth worrying about but would allow them to claim on certain development projects. As farmers in our pre golf existence, our outputs were zero rated meaning we could claim tax on inputs back. Exempt status precludes that. A level fairway will give us all the opportunity to work together to further our sport and regain those members who have left all forms of Clubs in the past four years. Check your own County figures!

    Mr Inglis, I and many other devoted Proprietory Golf Club owners, await your apology for stating that you hope my brother and I, along with many others go bankrupt. How sad, Mr Inglis how very sad.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jackie Talbot May 17, 11:43

      Just read the article above …. how ridiculous and I agree with everything you say. I have put a comment on …. hope they publish it. Good luck to you both, hope things are going well, we also are a family run business 🙂

      Reply to this comment
  13. Brian Craven May 26, 11:48

    VAT IN GOLF
    SOLUTIONS ARE NOT A PROBLEM

    The VAT Triangle

    Since before July 2006 when I made my first visit to my MP The Rt Hon William Hague over VAT and the golf industry I have been seeking a mutual resolve for what has become in my opinion a very confused situation.

    I recently met Vivien Saunders OBE representing The Association of Golf Course Owners (AGCO) when she kindly agreed to come up from Cambridge on the 18th May 2012 to discuss and enlighten The Rt Hon William Hague with the issues surrounding Romanby Golf & Country Club, which of course also apply to the many other proprietary owned golf facilities in England.

    Vivien Saunders pointed out to me that golf is unique in that almost all golfing facilities in the UK are open to all golfers, no part of the community is excluded from taking up the sport and very few providers exclude any section of the community from playing and using their facilities. This is what sets golf and the provission of golf almost exclusively apart from any other participation sport. Despite how you may choose to play golf the facilities used are the same; for instance a regular player may choose to become a member of a Club or a less regular players may choose to pay for each round of golf individually, which ever route is taken the golf facility provided is open to everyone, that is what sets it apart from other sports.

    Put to one side for the moment the legalities involved, the complexities of words, historic definititons and the like that seem to tear the industry apart, pitching private members clubs against proprietary owned clubs and indeed for that matter the authorities, in this case HMRC VAT. Why should any one of these three bodies be disadvantaged by the others?

    Let’s not for the moment look back and concentrate purely on a solution for the application of VAT on the provision of golf in the future, let’s for the moment put to one side the legal definitions, clever words and out of date definitions and find a solution that gives the providers of this great sport equal opportunities to provide.

    At the moment none of the three parties involved; private members clubs, proprietary owned clubs or HMRC can be said to be happy with the current situation.

    Although what I am about to suggest is not radical or new it is borne out of a meeting held on the 4 March 2009 at Whittlebury Park GC called by Fred Cowgill of Vatability and supported by Craig Wagstaff, Financial Director of the then EGU and Trevor Williams the then Chairman of EGU Club Services. At that meeting the suggestion that a 5% VAT rate for all was proposed and it was suggested that it went right across the board covering private members clubs and proprietary clubs, all at that meeting seemed to be in support of the proposal.

    Now consider with an open mind why the solution would not fit your circumstances for a united golf market going forward.

    Proprietary Golf Clubs

    For proprietary golf clubs it would allow more of its revenue to be put back into providing the facilities, particularly at these time of recession, yes it would lower the tax paid to HMRC but not by a significant amount.

    Private Members Clubs

    Private members clubs as it stands (where membership is exempt from VAT) but greenfees attract 20% VAT, would I am led to believe, be no worse off or even slightly better off (depending on their proportion of greenfee to membership revenue split). They would rid themselves of difficult to administer exemption formulas, be able to reclaim all input VAT on purchase made for the golf course, simplify accounting and reduce future exposure to challenges from HMRC on their business activities.

    HMRC VAT
    Let’s pay some regard for HMRC, why should they loose out? At the moment I can see no end to the wrangles and court cases over the present anomilies in the application of VAT. How I am sure they would love a solution that fits everyone and rid themselves of a future full of tribunals and fighting, which let’s face it will only go away when each party is satisfied with the outcome of such actions.

    Lets work together for the commen good of the sport and the pople involved in the supply of golf and apply the only natural solution given by Fred Cowgill, Craig Wagstaff and Trevor Williams.

    Let’s all get together as a united front for the industry and support the 5% VAT rate on golf related activity and enjoy a settled future going forward, one body doing what we all do best; providing the British golfer with a facilities to play the great game of golf.

    Brian Craven
    Director
    Romanby Golf & Country Club

    26 May 2012

    Reply to this comment
  14. MVP May 26, 10:38

    I’ve played at Lancster during Brian’s time as Secretary and found him and the club very welcoming.

    I do not 100% agree with his views but I can see where he is coming from – I feel sorry for UKGCOA and England Golf who whatever they do will have people moaning at them! It is either AGCO on one side or the private clubs on the other!

    And I do not vote Conservative either!!

    Reply to this comment
  15. WLS May 26, 09:03

    What a blast from the past to hear such patronising and vitriolic views expressed by the old guard – who’s beating the same drum now? It is an unfair VAT situation that probably won’t change but it is right to try. Private members’ clubs are not paying the taxes for which every other business is liable and the quicker HMRC wakes up to it, the better.

    Why do some private members’ clubs persist in seeing proprietary clubs as the enemy? Think of us more as feeder schools – your new members arrive already trained. Many proprietary clubs are a stepping stone for what some new golfers see as a step up to a private members’ club. But my 20 years’ of experience shows that a lot return to a proprietary club after a year or 2, not everyone wants to be treated as though they are still at school after handing over hundreds of pounds for the privilege.

    I would suggest that my proprietary club has bought more players to the game of golf in the last 20 years than most private members’ clubs. Many people who had never picked up a golf club joined us and became single figure players, several going on to qualify as golf professionals. Why did they come to us? Often the local private members’ clubs were unwelcoming. It’s quite amusing now to see how the mighty have fallen and are begging for members, have dropped their joining fees and offer bargain subscriptions. Our club has never needed to resort to any of those measures – and we pay our taxes to boot!

    Yes, there are too many golf clubs in many areas and some are already going over to building land, under the plough or even just closing as they can no longer make a living. But unless attitudes like those expressed in this article don’t change, it will be private members’ club who will be wondering themselves in 10 years how they are going to survive. He who rejects change is the architect of decay…….

    Reply to this comment
  16. Rob May 26, 06:47

    Just reading through Brian Inglis comments shows just how out of date and touch some people really are, it’s obvious that he thinks its OK to not pay tax in certain circumstances. In my opinion it makes him and his fine upstanding members no better (perhaps even worse, as they should no better) than scrounging dole cheats.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Brian Inglis May 25, 17:58

    ……and a very fine venue it is too! One would have to look long and hard to find a better “Stay and Play” package in the north of England. A beautifully kept Jclassic ames Braid course and a magnificent 14th century listed building in which to dine, socialise and stay. Superb food and friendly members too and I’m extremely proud to have spent time there.

    Perfect example of point-missing by the last poster as well.

    Just in case anyone who knows me is reading these comments, I was deeply offended by one earlier correspondent’s remarks and I would like to categorically deny that I have ever contemplated voting Conservative………and less of the “old” please!

    Reply to this comment
  18. Vivien Saunders May 25, 15:28

    The comments from Brian Inglis are a disgrace. Brian was secretary at Lancaster Golf Club, which openly advertises its dormy house accommodation for up to 18 people at £120 per person per night. Lancaster Golf Club also advertises its wedding venue and various other money making activities. Clearly it is a substantial profit making concern, running as it does to subsidise the members’ subscriptions. Like nearly all member-owned golf clubs it has moved so far out of anything that can reasonably be described as “non-profit making” that the club should clearly be classified as commercial. There is no logic for the members to get VAT exempt subscriptions. Let’s hope that Brian Inglis is fully away of the way that member-owned clubs should pay corporation tax on their trading with non-members.

    Reply to this comment
  19. John Pennington May 25, 14:26

    I left a members club because they had no vision did not invest in course but spent silly money on club house. Love my new club.

    There is room for both types of clubs but let’s have a level playing field regarding vat etc

    Reply to this comment
  20. HC May 25, 14:25

    I wonder if the outcry is because some private clubs are worried about what the taxman might find out?

    Reply to this comment
  21. Mile End Golf Club May 25, 14:25

    Proprietary Clubs are modern, forward thinking establishments that have broken down many elitist attitudes

    Reply to this comment
  22. trent park golf club May 25, 13:49

    The arrogance of old farts like Brian Inglis and the British Golf Establishment is breathtaking. Proprietary Clubs are clamouring increaingly for a level playing field on taxation in golf because of the response by Private Golf clubs to the breakdown of their Membership model and their resulting relentless assault on the Visitor green Fee market, the mainstay of the proprietary golf sectors business.

    With Membership revenues falling and aided in the last couple of years by online tee time providers like teeofftimes , onlineteetimes and their own online booking systems which make it much easier to market and distribute tee times at low cost most Private Clubs are winning significant business from Proprietary Clubs to the extent that it is correct to say that most Private Clubs are now Public courses on weekdays.

    This only matters because the tax treatment of Members Golf Clubs is entirely different from Proprietary Courses and results in a huge loss of tax revenues to HMRC and creates enormous competitive distortions to the detriment of the Proprietary sector. This is tax inequality on a grand scale. It is clear that something is very wrong when Private Clubs like the Berkshire, Walton Heath, Swinley and numerous others are finding ways to pay essentially no Corp Tax on their massive visitor income which often accounts for over 30% of total revenues. The beneficiaries of this tax inequality and the tax avoidance/evasion presently carried on by Members Clubs in respect of their visitor income are the largely elitist and conservative voting members at Private golf Clubs who enjoy subsidised membership fees at the expense of the UK taxpayer.

    The competive position is further aggravated by the 600 or so CASC registered Private golf Clubs and Not for Profit Leisure Trusts (like Mytimegolf who are now the largest operator of Pay and Play facilities in the UK) who in return for agreeing some srtuctural & management guidelines (which most are ignoring in spirit and in letter presently without penalty) are enjoying a minimum mandatory business rates relief of 80% and probably also resulting in higher Rateable Value figures for all courses as HMRC valuation officers try desperatly to maintain the overall business rates “take” from Golf.

    The tax base and inequality will be further eroded by the recent Didsbury GC case and in the catastrophic event that HMRC loses its appeal in the Bridport VAT case which would result in Members golf clubs no longer having to account for VAT on visitor green fees.

    With the largest operator of Pay and Play courses in the UK, Mytimegolf, currently operating under the guise of a Not for Profit Leisure Trust who pay no VAT on green fees, no Corp Tax and get 80% rates relief the commercial sector is further threatened. When bidding for commercial golf assets the commercial sector should not have to compete
    With Not for Profit Organizations. The recent purchase of Orpington Golf Centre by Mytimegolf, who because of their tax advantages outbid a commercial operator, will result in approx £300,000 per annum in reduced taxes for HMRC. If the acquisition had resulted in lower charges for golfers then perhaps one could argue it was reasonable but has this happened ? Of course not. The only beneficiaries are the salaried directors of this so called “not for profit” !

    The present situation is untenable. The solution is

    1) the immediate withdrawl by HMRC of all the VAT exemptions for Golf presently enjoyed by Members Golf Clubs and Not for Profit operators like Mytimegolf on the grounds that the present position causes competitive distortion

    2) the publication of clear and equitable guidelines for how Corporation Tax should be calculated on Visitor Income at Private Clubs and rigourous enforcement of these new guidelines or the imposition of a flat 20% tax on all Visitor Income at Private and Not for Profit Clubs

    3) the abolition of CASC status for Golf Clubs or at the very least rigourous inspections and enforcement of the current rules which are currently flouted with impunity.

    4) New regulations to forbid “Not for Profit Leisure Trusts” from acquiring any golf operations where the loss to the taxpayer is greater than £20,000 per annum

    For Camerons “Big Society” to tolerate the current abuses and inequality which result in the ordinary man paying tax on his golf while the elite few like Brian Inglis fail to pay their way is unconscionable and scandal waiting to be exposed

    Unless the position changes it will not be long before the commercial sector has been completely squeezed out of the golf market.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Alan May 25, 12:02

    Golf memberships have declined in the past 10 years because so many clubs are stuck in the dark ages, it the proprietary clubs that are pushing the game forward and increasing the number of members because they are run like a 21st century business. If proprietary clubs diminished it would be terrible for the sport.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Trent Park Golf Club May 25, 11:35

    why is HMRC not cracking down on CASC abusing, Corp Tax evading Private Golf Clubs. Perhaps because theyre mainly conservative ?

    Reply to this comment
  25. Pat May 25, 10:49

    We all have tales of private club shenanigans. Good & bad. Ditto proprietary. Mostly private though.

    Reply to this comment
  26. Trent Park Golf Club May 25, 10:33

    ll Golf Clubs should pay VAT at 20%, CASC abusers (and thats most of them) should be investigated and CTax paid on visitor inc biggest Pay and Play operator in UK is @mytimegolf a so called Not for Profit. A scandal and further erodes the tax base of golf

    Reply to this comment
  27. HC May 25, 10:32

    for years golf had a reputation of being elite, this has declined since the late 90’s. Is that not good for the game?

    Reply to this comment
  28. Royal Liverpool May 25, 10:31

    Have you visited us here @RLGCHoylake ? Did you get a warm welcome? #memberfortheday

    Reply to this comment
  29. keith cordukes May 25, 10:31

    we are a private club, & allow jeans in the clubhouse & have a public licence, anyone can come in hardly snooty

    Reply to this comment
  30. HC May 25, 10:13

    so all clubs should still have waiting lists and then there would be no where for people to learn the game?

    Reply to this comment
  31. Michael Ball May 25, 10:12

    I have played 5 Open courses & could not have been made more welcome. Some of the best courses are not private

    Reply to this comment
  32. Ross Murdoch May 25, 10:05

    Definitely an issue, but some private clubs are great. I’ve always felt welcome as a non-member

    Reply to this comment
  33. Martin Brown May 25, 10:00

    private clubs are often snooty and unfriendly

    Reply to this comment
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