Survey finds golf club membership resignations are rising

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 17, 2023 11:34

A new survey of UK golf club managers has found that membership resignations have risen amid annual April subscription renewals.

Contemporary Club Leadership says that it regularly surveys golf club leaders and in its most recent findings, the average resignation rate is six per cent.

“This is back to the level golf was experiencing before the pandemic struck,” Kevin Fish, who runs the company, told The Herald.

“While it is not the mass exodus many feared this year, it is still a return to the familiar slippery slope golf has been on since the turn of the century.

“For three years, golf clubs have never been busier, but the easing of lockdown coupled with the severe economic challenges of recent months has sent club boards into a tailspin wondering what increase in subscription fees could be charged this year. We have never seen more volatility in member subscription rates, with the increases ranging from zero right up to 25 per cent.”

Many clubs time their members’ annual subscriptions to run from the beginning of April to the end of March, which may explain why there’s been a recent rise in resignations.

Fish believes that the golf industry, which has seen a boom in participation in the last three years, is in a healthier position than it was before the pandemic, but questions about its long-term future need to be asked.

“Is the decline we have seen since the year 2000 terminal, or has lockdown done enough to shock clubs into running their affairs in a more business-like manner?

“Our latest survey reveals that almost one third of clubs are concerned about their long-term future, beyond 2028.

“Our data also shows that the gap between the large and small clubs is getting bigger, as evidenced by resignation rates, subscription revenue and, this year in particular, the levels of salary increases given to secure the best staff.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 17, 2023 11:34
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  1. ShortyGolf April 26, 14:23

    The club I am a member of is run by a lady who has openly admitted in front of the members, that she hates Golf. She is more fixated on running the newly built restaurant than looking after the members who return year on year and believes a members only area would be inappropriate given the restaurant ambience. So no clubhouse per say, very limited on course maintenance and alienation of some members, i can only see membership continuing to decline at this club as the majority of members only join due to the convenience of the location.

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  2. One Handed Golfer April 20, 11:31

    Our club recently lost its committee due, in effect, to a small group of disgruntled members staging a “coup”. Due to a badly drawn up set of rules we now have a committee running the club which nobody voted for & I estimate 90% of members are against. Their first decision was to cancel members 10% discount on bar & beverage purchases. Not a great way to retain (or attract) members.

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  3. Whistling April 20, 09:04

    Having just moved Club after 32 years I find that many Clubs just don’t think of their members as Customers. They certainly don’t ask them enough what it is that keeps them as a Customer. I think they believe their future is based on attracting new members only rather than retention and it should be both. If they reassessed they may find that what they spend the subscription money on would be very different.

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  4. The Pastry Chef April 18, 11:24

    Why is it we have over 100 people on our waiting list to join……clubs have to realise what keeps members happy….. is it
    The course
    -too many societies
    -too many competitions
    -no practice facilities

    There are so many reasons, clubs need to simply listen to their membership…..

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ady April 18, 09:47

    It’s typical of the industry we had a great opportunity post Covid to invest in membership and most clubs have decided to do nothing about retention

    Reply to this comment
  6. MW April 18, 06:47

    The gap between the top clubs and the middle/bottom tier clubs is absolutely getting bigger. From speaking to most of our new golfing members recently, it also seems the majority are choosing to spend more on their membership and join ‘better’ clubs.

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