Here’s three ideas from the golf industry from the last month

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 1, 2020 15:46

June was a month of extraordinary contradictions – many clubs reported their best ever membership growth figures but with tourism and clubhouses effectively still in lockdown, some are still struggling. Here’s three ideas for growth.

Don’t make your manager redundant

Amid all the positive data that came out of the UK golf industry in June, there was one very concerning story.

Some clubs, due to financial problems caused by the two-month lockdown, went ahead with plans to make their managers redundant, despite the growth in memberships that the industry was seeing at that time and that the manager is the person most likely to steer the club out of trouble.

As one club manager put it: “In the midst of the biggest crisis ever to hit the golf industry, some clubs choose this time to make their club manager redundant. Throw away all his accumulated experience, knowledge, know-how and his ability to get the club to survive this.”

Another said: “Trust me, as someone who is a member at a club who made a similar decision several years ago – find your saving elsewhere!”

Have two-ball time slots

When golf courses reopened in May, most only initially allowed a maximum of two players to play together at the same time, to help with social distancing and to speed up rounds to open up more tee times to meet the surge in demand.

One unexpected benefit was how popular this turned out to be.

As the spokesman for one golf club said: “The 10 minute two-ball format is something we are thinking about keeping – everyone loves a three hour game of golf!”

Now is a good time to review your membership categories

Saying there’s been a surge in demand to play golf in the last few weeks doesn’t tell the whole story. Many of the new or returning golfers have been part of a demographic that golf clubs haven’t necessarily marketed that much to in recent years: young adults who work from home.

The number of people who work from home grew by more than ten times between February and April. Many can now easily take a morning or afternoon off every week to play their local course, something that wasn’t feasible before 2020.

Some clubs are therefore introducing new membership categories to cater for them.

For example, both Foxhills and Farleigh golf clubs are offering flexible corporate membership packages to appeal to professionals who used to commute to central London every day but now work outside the city, and Nairn Dunbar Golf Club has launched a new ‘Lifestyle’ category aimed particularly at people aged 25 to 40 who cannot justify a full membership subscription.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 1, 2020 15:46
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1 Comment

  1. Peter July 1, 18:18

    We’ve seen this picture before !! In times of crisis and economic downturns, organizations go into “retreat mode !” They “slash”, “cut” and “chop” all costs and salaries ! Many times, the manager is the first to pay with decreased salary, benefits or perks ! Often, it is just the opposite that should happen ! Incentivize managers ! A good one will find ways to accelerate business with great strategies and passion !! A good manager is often the only honest one in an organization. Willing to say, what needs to be said and driving accountability to new levels !! That hurts some people, especially those in Leadership ! I know !!

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