Historic golf club reveals it has had an outstanding year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 13, 2020 06:35

One of the world’s oldest golf clubs, which could have closed down six years ago, has said it has experienced a more than 200 percent membership increase.

North Inch Golf Course in Perthshire had its future ‘hanging in the balance’ in 2014. The venue, which has had golf played on it for more than 500 years, has since recovered, but it has not seen growth like it has this year in living memory, thanks to the golf participation surge that followed the spring coronavirus lockdown.

Golf course officer Niall McGill has presented the club’s annual report to Perth and Kinross Council’s environment and infrastructure committee.

North Inch. Image from Facebook

He revealed that season ticket subscriptions for the year from 2019 to 2020, which includes parts of both year’s playing seasons, had grown by 203 percent, compared with five years earlier. It is thought almost all of this growth happened this year since it started the year with 175 members and by the end of the summer was hoping to have 400 members.

Overall revenue had also risen, by five percent, even though the venue was closed for more than two months due to the pandemic, and there have been restrictions since it reopened at the end of May.

He said: “Golf has taken a bit of a mini boom just now. It’s one of the few things that people can actually do just now.

“I think people are really seeing the benefit of the outdoors and the health and wellbeing and social aspect to that.

“We’re seeing overall – throughout the UK – that this is happening at golf courses everywhere.

“It’s bringing people back to the sport and it’s bringing people into the sport.

“The key going forward is that we have things in place to be able to retain these people. But certainly – as it seems at the moment – we are one of the few industries that have a really positive chance to help people going forwards in the sport.”

Growth has been so strong that there are suggestions that Perthshire could be marketed as the world’s most family friendly golf destination.

The PGA golf professional said: “In Perthshire we are a fantastic family outdoors destination. And we are pushing Perthshire as the number one family destination.”

Despite a wet summer in 2019, North Inch Golf Course’s income rose by five per cent in 2019/20 and the number of season ticket holders has increased by 203 percent.

North Inch. Image from Facebook

The municipal golf course has also seen its junior season ticket membership jump from five to 72.

Multiple categories of season tickets have been introduced to attract 19 to 29-year-old players to help the transition from being junior golfers to full season ticket-holders. Over a five-year period, season ticket-holder numbers have increased by 203 per cent from 175 to 355.

Overall revenue grew from £113,995 to £120,474. McGill said this was down to the “continued improvement of the golf course condition, which has boosted the reputation of the course, both locally and further afield.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 13, 2020 06:35
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1 Comment

  1. Peter November 24, 10:37

    Great to hear !! However, this is no time to ease up !! Almost 400 members, doesn’t quite get it done for me and for most clubs !! Time to get after the Membership Director to keep the momentum going !!

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