The multiple functions of golf clubhouses: The ideal venue for your next poker tournament

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 12, 2020 16:41

Golf is one of the UK’s favourite sports, as evidenced by England having more registered golf courses than any other country in the UK by a long way.

2017 figures showed there were 1,872 English golf courses registered. The next closest to that figure in Europe was Germany, with less than half the amount at 731. There are also more than a thousand additional UK golf courses once Scotland, Ireland and Wales have been factored in, so there is certainly no shortage of choice for the UK golfer. These golf courses almost always feature a range of other facilities, including a clubhouse. With so many clubhouses across the UK, these buildings have the potential to play host to more than just golfers.

Function rooms

Many UK golf courses offer members the option to hire out the clubhouse as a function for room myriad events, including weddings, birthdays and more. The facilities are also ideal for expanding other, more informal events, such as poker tournaments, to bring in more players. Many golf clubhouses will already have almost everything required to set up a poker tournament. Depending on how formal the event is set to be, there may just be a few additional items to purchase, but once bought, these can be re-used time and time again. Most function rooms have several tables that can be moved around to suit the purpose of the event, accommodating far more players than would be possible in a home poker tourney. Refreshments are usually available in clubhouses, and there may even be the possibility of an observation area for non-players or those that are out of the game to watch the proceedings unfold.

Setting up the tables

There are professional, regulation poker tables than can be purchased that might be worth the investment if poker tournaments are to a regular, formal event in the clubhouse, although these are not cheap. However, there are many other, more affordable options, such as folding poker tables that can be placed on top of regular tables. The important thing is to ensure that there are enough tables to comfortably accommodate all players without overcrowding. Chip trays can also be a good idea, especially in a multi-table tournament, to help keep things organised and make it easier for players to transport their game as they move tables.

Licensing and restrictions

There are few restrictions on hosting poker games in licensed premises in the UK – it is generally permissible by law under exempt gaming regulations. As most golf clubhouses are licensed to serve alcohol, they should be automatically allowed to host poker games. Licensed premises are not allowed to charge people an entry fee for playing or deduct any costs from winnings or player stakes. Games should also comply with any code of practice as defined under section 24 of the Commission and be supervised by a nominated gaming supervisor. However, these restrictions are relatively minimal, and the club is likely to make money on food and beverage purchases by participants.

Golf and poker

There are multiple recorded examples of players enjoying the combination of being able to play poker as well as golf. In the United States, the RIGT (Recording Industry Golf & Poker Tournament), which last took place in June 2019, saw prominent names from the world of international golf competing in a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in Santa Clarita, California. The famous MGM Resorts chain hosted an online charity poker event early in 2020, where professional golfers and golf celebrities were invited to take part. Golfers and poker players share many of the same traits, which makes it understandable that those who enjoy one game will equally enjoy the other. Both are games that require skill, strategy and just a small element of luck. Golfers and poker players will find themselves having “hot” moments when they are on a winning steak and can do no wrong, just as they will have runs of “bad luck” that will leave them playing catch-up. Players of both games require the mental fortitude to deal not only with their own game, but the mind games and other outside factors that contribute towards how a game is played.

With golfers and pokers players sharing so many of the same attributes, and golf clubhouses featuring almost all of the main facilities required to host a poker tournament, it makes sense that these rooms would make viable options for regular poker game night hosting. These could range from small, informal events solely for club members, to larger tournaments attracting new players, some of whom may later decide to become members. Particularly at quieter times of year for the golf club, hosting a few trial poker tournaments could result in an increase in business that will keep bringing people in all year round.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 12, 2020 16:41
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