The Club Company becomes the UK’s biggest golf club operator

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 7, 2020 08:15

Crown Golf is no longer the UK’s biggest golf club operator, as it has sold six of its 15 golf clubs.

Earlier this year Crown Golf said it had evolved from ‘a purely golf course operating business into a property development company’, and the sale means it has gone from running 25 golf clubs to nine in the last eight years.

This also means The Club Company, which runs 15 golf clubs, is now the UK’s biggest golf club operator. Mytime Active is second with 14.

The six golf clubs have been acquired by Get Golfing CIO, a charity that was set up in 2018 and has now acquired seven golf clubs just during the pandemic – having taken on Warley Park Golf Club a couple of months ago – to bring its total up to eight.

The charity says its specific purpose is to increase participation in golf and encourage the obvious health benefits of the game, and it has plans for further acquisitions in the future.

The six clubs are a mix of freehold and leasehold properties, and they are Hampton Court Palace Golf Club, Surrey, Oak Park Golf Club, Surrey, Pyrford Golf Club, Surrey, Sherfield Oaks Golf Club, Hampshire, Mill Green Golf Club, Hertfordshire, and  The Bristol Golf Club, South Gloucestershire.

Stephen Towers

Stephen Towers, CEO of Crown Golf said: “The sale of these courses is the culmination of a strategic restructure, which allows us to focus investment on core sites with both golf and leisure, as well as development opportunities.

“We have greatly enjoyed being custodians of these clubs, and are very pleased to have found a buyer who is committed to the game of golf, and to taking the clubs on the next stage of their golfing journey.”

Spokesman Ben Allen added: “It is encouraging for the golf market to report this landmark sale, especially at times of uncertainty.

“This acquisition makes Get Golfing one of the country’s leading golf operators.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 7, 2020 08:15
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  1. Eddy October 25, 07:58

    Get golfing have just acquired Pyrford. The GM has promised members experiences to improve. On the course they are doing works to bring it up to a good standard which is great but the playing experience is horrendous with 8 min tee times and 4 balls everywhere. Club matches even have to be played in 4 balls!!!
    5 hour rounds minimum.

    He is clearly the puppet on the string of get golfing who together are ruining membership of what could be an amazing club. Working from home = playing golf so let’s hope as offices reopen Get Golfings approach will unravel.

    Reply to this comment
    • Edward Richardson May 5, 12:14

      Hello Eddy, hopefully now you have had some time to reflect and see our commitment to Pyrford you may want to reflect, to make reference to the Manager at being a puppet isn’t fair or showing any respect. Pyrford was on its knees with GUR bunkers and 4 greenstaff . We have invested, employed more staff, and the popularity of Pyrford has risen and existing members are having to share the facilities with new members. If you have issues in the future, please reach out to me without having to go onto a public forum.

      Reply to this comment
  2. David Hersey August 10, 22:10

    Having been a member of redlibbet I cannot a lot wrong with the new owner lots of new work has been done all new bunkers lots work on tee yes lots of people on the course you have two to three weeks to book stop winging

    Reply to this comment
  3. Hampton Court Member August 9, 12:18

    GetGolfing are destroying the whole concept of being a member of a golf club. Members are now penalised if they want to play in 2 or 3 balls with their mates and forced to play with complete strangers. GetGolfing’s only plan is to get 300+ players every day, which will ruin the course. All promises of investment into the course have been broken, staff furloughed and emails pleading poverty being sent. This “charity” has no interest in people playing golf, just as many as they can get paying their bar & food prices for their other business. I won’t be rejoining!

    Reply to this comment
    • Edward Richardson May 5, 12:58

      While appreciating that everyone is entitled to an opinion, the message by the un-named Hampton Court member is factually inaccurate. HCPGC was a Crown site that was in poor condition and had received no investment in many years. It now employs twice as many staff, membership has risen significantly, and has received close to £500,000 of investment. While not knowing the identify of the writer, I suspect they are unhappy that the Club is now popular and busy and they don’t have it to themselves. For all us passionate golfers, we either need to evolve our Clubs to become more relevant to todays world, or we run the risk of them closing.

      Reply to this comment
  4. HCP Member August 5, 11:24

    Agree with previous comments.
    As a member of Hampton Court Palace GC for many years it is patently obvious that Get Golfing are solely focused on maximizing profits whist masquerading as a charity and have turned the club into a badly run pay & play…. pro shop- Gone, members roll ups – Gone, Allocated tee times for comps – Gone….. they would probably charge for car parking if they could get away with it!

    Reply to this comment
    • Edward Richardson May 5, 13:05

      Great shame that the individual who wrote above has chosen not to share their identity. Get Golfing is a charity set up to increase the number of people who play golf and its been successful — there is no masquerading and it is a shame that one choses to make public statements of this nature when clearly not knowing anything about the individuals and commitment that the trustees and founders have contributed. As an FYI, the pro shop is online, roll up continue (all we ask is that you put your name down on the tee sheet) and competitions at our clubs have a start sheet like any other self respecting competition. We invest all the profits, we employ more staff and the membership has significantly grown, if this is at the expense of the few having the Club to themselves, then we can not apologise for that.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Unhappy golfer August 1, 18:16

    As a member of the Bristol golf club, I am not happy with get golfing. They are discounting prices to attract as many paying punters as possible, regardless of ability. Also joining 2 balls who have booked a tee time with other 2 balls. No interest in the members, all about making as much profit as poss

    Reply to this comment
    • Anonymous August 3, 18:12

      Agree with these comments. Mill Green has seen an influx of non members, which in itself I’m not against, actually enjoy the extra buzz. But, this does naturally bring in players who are not as caring about the course and standards, such as SLOW play and huge increase in pitch marks left on the greens. Along with no competitions for members, closing the Pro shop and fairways deteriorating, Get Golfing still show no signs of member care. First impressions count and this is a bad start, lots of disgruntled members right now

      Reply to this comment
      • Edward Richardson May 5, 13:16

        I appreciate that it has been a while since you made this public post, so it would be nice to have an update. Is the course in better condition, have Get Golfing invested in staff and the facilities, and is the club more popular? I hope the answer to each of these questions is yes.

        Reply to this comment
    • Jim August 5, 11:38

      It looks similar at Hampton Court. It’s changing to Pay and Play, and all block bookings for roll ups, seniors, men’s and Ladies are being cancelled. No point in being a member anymore as they are killing the social side, a lifeline for many of the seniors.

      Reply to this comment
    • Edward Richardson May 5, 13:13

      Dear Bristol Member. We do not discount our golf, but we do operate a dynamic pricing model that means that tee times that aren’t taken up by members (invaluably afternoons) are cheaper than traditional peak times.

      We are a charity so ALL profits are reinvested back into our sites. We also make every effort to keep golf affordable, which is why all membership subs at the Bristol are under £1,000 a year and rates have not increased in two years. In that same period we have invested £50,000 in irrigation and drainage, £65,000 in much needed course machinery, and are completing a £150,000 clubhouse improvement. The course maintenance budget has risen by 27% and, unsurprisingly, the membership the number of members has increased by 30%. We do prefer 4 balls so that during peak times so everyone gets a game.

      Reply to this comment
  6. djm July 9, 21:47

    Get Golfing……..A company formed in 2018 to benefit from tax breaks that CICs don’t get. It will pay no tax on income providing certain purposes can be satisfied.It can also claim Gift Aid on any donations. It will more than likely benefit from 100% rate relief, but more likely obtain 80%. From a VAT perspective, certain activities delivered via a charity qualify for concessions, and charities don’t pay stamp duty land tax when purchasing properties or leases.

    Give it 2 years & these golfing operation will be seeking new owners

    Reply to this comment
    • Rcp July 27, 14:19

      As a member of a club get golfing have taken over. I feel exactly the same. Bet the directors have big salaries,. A shame for golf and the taxes sadly needed in the country at this time.
      Time for an overhaul of charities to get back to there ture purpose

      Reply to this comment
      • CW August 13, 20:28

        I can only agree with what has been said on this forum. Friendly matches cancelled because they want to charge our visitors £40 a head and wanting us to play county matches 2 balls as a four ball but 2 matches on the same tee. Yes work that one out. Once Corona sorts itself out and people go back to their original lives Get Golfing will be wishing their members hadn’t voted with their feet. HCPGC RIP. Charity yea right. Greedier than the greediest thing.

        Reply to this comment
        • Edward Richardson May 5, 13:34

          Dear CW,
          I think its relevant to understand the history of Hampton Court. It used to be a members Club, but when the membership could no longer afford the rents, it became a proprietary club. Get Golfing took over in July 2020 and since then, membership has risen and the Club is used by a lot more people – which I hope is considered a good thing!
          Since the post, HCP have seen significant investment and the number of members has risen to 900.

          Reply to this comment
      • Edward Richardson May 5, 13:28

        Dear RCP,
        If one is to share an opinion within a public forum it might be worth ensuring one has one’s facts correct. We are a charity, no Directors or fat cats, rather Trustees who receive nothing for their time. All cash trading surpluses go back into the clubs and as a result Get Golfing have invested £1.25m in the past 6 months without increasing subscriptions. As a charity, we operate in much the same way as a private members clubs, so if you maintain your opinion on tax about us, you should do the same to all other Clubs.

        Reply to this comment
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