Grow your club’s membership by providing flexible payment options

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick March 19, 2021 12:25

With a surge in golf participation expected shortly, Fairway Credit has, for the last six years, operated a solution that enables members to apply directly for finance which does not require the club to obtain credit broking authorisation, writes Roger Brown, chief commercial officer, Fairway Credit.

With the re-opening of golf clubs at the end of the month, over 25 million people vaccinated in the UK, and longer days with better weather on the way, things are beginning to feel so much better.

Of course it’s been a really tough time for golf club management over this last year with many months of empty fairways, silent clubhouses and the financial implications created as a result. There is, however, great optimism from club managers as a sense of ‘returning to normal’ inches closer.

Preparing for the future

Behind closed doors there has been a flurry of activity to get everything ready for a successful re-opening – from greenkeepers and maintenance staff, to hospitality teams and housekeeping, preparations are well underway to welcome players back albeit in a gradual, staggered way.

This is great to see but how is this activity being funded? Although club managers are constantly looking at ways to diversify income streams and encourage visitors to spend more when at the course – golf club membership remains the major source of income for most clubs. How are your membership numbers looking for 2021?

Never before has it been more important to retain existing members and bring new players into UK golf clubs – members are the financial life blood and the route to a secure and sustainable future. At Fairway Credit, we believe this will be a pivotal time in golf history – increasing golf club membership will not only help clubs survive in a post pandemic era, but thrive. The future of clubs that cannot sustain and grow membership will become increasingly precarious.

Following heightened interest in the game after the first lockdown and the early reintroduction of golf, multiple annual club memberships taken out then, will soon be up for renewal. So too, of course, memberships will align to the start of better weather. For the recruitment team, this is the time to strike, promoting the benefits of membership and securing much needed income.

Using a credit option to pay for membership

It’s important for clubs to consider compliant payment options for existing and new members. Recent economic uncertainty has made the financing of golf club memberships attractive. In addition, many golfers are looking at new ways to conveniently manage their ongoing annual expenditure effectively by spreading the cost of their club memberships over convenient monthly repayments.

It is also beneficial for clubs, providing them with a smooth, reliable and regulatory compliant cash flow. With memberships paid to the club in full at the start of each membership year, the club can manage their own financial planning.

Fairway Credit, a trading name of Premium Credit, is a market leading brand providing this service to the golf market for over 25 years, providing our services to nearly 40,000 golfers.

As well as allowing golfers to spread the cost of membership, clubs can receive a percentage commission for every member that uses our service. More importantly the club receives the annual membership fee upfront in a timely manner, allowing cash flow to be maintained and capital to be spent when and where it’s needed most.

Clubs that actively engage in promotional activity relating to credit facilities can often require FCA authorisation. However, since 2015 Fairway Credit has operated a solution that enables members to apply directly to Fairway Credit for finance which DOES NOT require the club to obtain credit broking authorisation, provided the Fairway Credit regulatory guidance processes are followed.

We are aware that there is much misinformation in this area which has unsettled some clubs but as the industry leaders and experts we are happy to provide guidance to our golf clubs to help them keep facilities live and compliant.

Whether the golf club directs its members to Fairway Credit’s dedicated payment portals set up on behalf of the club or the payment option is integrated into the club’s existing invoicing systems via Club Systems, we have an unrivalled insight into the requirements of both the member and club. We use this invaluable experience, backed by industry leading administration and systems support from our UK based offices to provide a smooth, seamless customer journey.

Fairway Credit is the popular option, with one in four fee paying golf clubs working with us, and almost 20 percent of members at these clubs choosing Fairway Credit.

Our Fairway Credit facility helps golfers enjoy the benefits of membership, and clubs the satisfaction of knowing their subscription administration is expertly managed and that income generation is being sustained.

If we can offer assistance in this area, help you build your membership base and grow revenue opportunities for your club, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the Fairway Credit team on 0344 736 9818.

www.premiumcredit.com/products/fairway-credit

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick March 19, 2021 12:25
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2 Comments

  1. Legal Counsel March 21, 20:56

    I fail to see (somebody please prove me wrong) how a Golf Club can introduce its Members to a facility to obtain credit and that such introduction does not require them to obtain some kind of licence from the FCA. Please direct Golf Clubs (and the rest of us) to the exemptions that are contained within the applicable legislation and/or the FCA Handbook?

    https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/authorisation/process/credit-brokers

    https://www.brownejacobson.com/insurance/training-and-resources/blogs/2020/02/credit-broking-know-your-permissions

    https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/CONC/2/5.html

    Consumer credit is a highly regulated activity and in the current world we live in, protecting consumer Golfers and Golf Clubs as businesses is paramount (just check out the 2021 Woolard Report https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-publishes-woolard-review-unsecured-credit-market).

    Just my view, but this article should be caveated with a disclaimer stating that Golf Clubs should seek their own independent legal advice before engaging with any third party that enables their Club to provide or introduce its members to credit.

    Reply to this comment
    • Roger March 24, 16:11

      Hi Ryan, thank you for your comments.

      You are absolutely right to point out that clubs who are actively engaged in the provision, or marketing and promotion, of credit/instalment facilities to members need to tread very carefully to comply with the law.
      Given the range of new regulatory requirements over the last few years – from Affordability, to Vulnerable Customers, to enhanced Forbearance during the pandemic – clubs offering an in-house solution will have had to work quickly to gain a detailed understanding of the new requirements and implemented several changes to stay on the right side of regulation and that is why working with a market expert like Fairway Credit has never been more popular.

      For over 20 years Fairway Credit, an FCA regulated business, has designed products to ensure that clubs promoting our services have the appropriate licenses and structures in place to be compliant. Our reach beyond golf extends to nearly 2 million customers and £3.5 billion of lending so it’s an area we take very seriously.
      For those not wishing to be directly authorised, we have structured a product that enables golf club members to apply directly to Fairway Credit so that there is no “credit broking” carried out by the golf club. We freely provide guidance to our golf clubs to help them not to overstep the mark and inadvertently undertake any regulated activity, and always encourage them to seek their own legal advice. We even have an Appointed Representative solution that we use in many schools, some clubs and professional football.

      We would be very happy to engage directly with you to help you understand these further or indeed any club that would like to know more of these compliant solutions. Please contact us on 0344 736 9818.

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