Now is the time to rethink member retention

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 20, 2021 11:39

At BRS Golf we have seen amazing growth in member numbers and member rounds being booked using our technology over the last 18 months. At the tail end of 2019 we had 554,000 members registered and using our platform. Fast forward to August 2021, and that number is in excess of 705,000+ members – a 27 percent growth in golfers using our member booking technology.

Going hand in hand with this increase in members, is the growth in member rounds. This year, to the end of August, we have processed 15.3 million member rounds. This equates to a 45 percent increase on the same period in 2019, or an additional 5.6 million rounds played. Compared to 2020 we have seen an additional 938,000 member rounds played in the year-to-date.

There can be no doubt that member golf is in a much healthier place than it was pre-pandemic, however digging into the numbers a little further, we can see that 2021 is starting to show signs of a shift in booking habits.

At the beginning of the year golf in the UK was closed, everywhere except Scotland, for pretty much the entirety of the first quarter. When courses did reopen, we saw the expected initial spike in April and May. Member rounds in these two months were 111 per cent up on the same period in 2019, with May seeing in excess of three million members rounds.

As the summer progressed and the UK and Ireland began to reopen in other sectors, the number of member bookings has been dropping month on month June to August. June saw a 21 percent drop year-on-year in member rounds, July was 23 percent down and August saw an 18 percent dip.

This represents two million fewer member rounds played over these three months – traditionally some of the busiest months in the calendar.

External factors certainly came into play this summer. A spell of poor weather, the Euros and England’s progression to the final, restaurants and bars reopening, live sport welcoming back spectators, and people starting to return to the office in a flexible format, all contributed and golf had to compete once again for its share of people’s time.

It should be noted that the numbers we are seeing in 2021 are still miles ahead of the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, but there has been a shift over the last three months, and we thought it prudent to highlight the changes in member play.

As the main golf season starts to draw to a close, it would be a good time to analyse your member base – who hasn’t played in a while, do certain golfers only play weekdays, do some only play weekends? What can we do as individuals and clubs to ensure our current members remain in the game?

Member retention technology

The golf market is changing, so offering choice and flexibility will help clubs adapt to this diverse customer base’s needs. Clubs need to be agile and adapt to retain the new customers sent their way during the pandemic. Trends among BRS Golf customers show golf clubs are embracing technology that makes it easy for golfers to engage on their own terms.

BRS Golf’s new Memberships software, fully integrated with the Tee Sheet, member booking website and app, helps simplify member retention, billing and payments and is our fastest growing product offering. Together with our Payments solution, Memberships allows clubs to bill members online, design custom payment schemes, chain subscriptions based on age or length of service and create introductory offers that convert to full memberships.

Save admin hours with our powerful reporting, bill tracking and automated features. Use our completely flexible software to design the right membership subscription types for your club and your golfers.

To cater for members who are hesitant about renewing a full subscription, a growing number of clubs are enabling BRS Golf’s Flexible Memberships for free. This self-managing, green fee points-based solution has been used to great effect by customers including Golf South Ayrshire. They enabled Flexible Memberships in June 2020 and by August the same year had over 4,700 members using the system. This form of membership is perfect for recent joiners who have perhaps found they aren’t getting enough use out of their current membership due to returning to work or other sports and activities reopening.

Another increasingly popular option for BRS Golf clubs is Membership Finance. This allows golfers to apply for a loan from V12 Retail Finance to cover the cost of their subscription and more than £1.14 million in membership loans have been processed since its launch in early 2020. If your club is thinking about next year’s member renewals or looking for ways to make joining more accessible, Membership Finance is an effective tool. By allowing golfers to spread the cost of their subscription, you mitigate cancellations due to affordability.

Knowledge is power

More clubs than ever are taking advantage of our unrivalled market intelligence by requesting Member Playing Statistics from BRS Golf. Track your members’ playing habits and arm yourself with the information you need to make data-driven decisions when it comes to your member retention strategy. Delve into your club’s peak playing times and how they have changed over the years and months. Reports are free for BRS Golf customers.

Find out more about how our software can help you grow and retain membership

Get in touch by phone +44 28 9568 0288 (UK) +353 1800 852 935 (IE) or email


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 20, 2021 11:39
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