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How to challenge the ‘race to the bottom’ at your golf club

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Golf clubs witnessed an unprecedented boom last year with PlayMoreGolf’s data showing a 260% spike in members since July 2020. Today, however, we find ourselves in limbo with golf courses seeking to drive revenue and enjoy the resurgence we’ve seen in the game at all levels.

This is the time of year when ‘traditional memberships’ renew, and players consider if a 7-day membership still suits them and if they’re getting value for money. This decision has been made harder this year as the economy struggles under the strain of a global pandemic and millions of workers remain on furlough leave. Retention rates for ‘traditional’ memberships have been a concern for clubs no matter where you are in the country. 

We sat down with James Short, General Manager at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club, to get his view on how the last year has been for him and the club and why golf clubs need to look beyond price if they want to deliver value for their members. 

By his own words, James is an optimist and has taken Wiltshire’s ‘hidden gem’ Ogbourne Downs Golf Club to an unheard-of high in 2021. At the time of writing, James and his team welcomed 162 PlayMoreGolf members, 101 of which are under the age of 50. 

James has witnessed a marked difference in his PlayMoreGolf members, with 45% of their golf being played midweek and after 1 pm. Brilliant for keeping his tee sheet busy at a time that would otherwise have seen the course lay dormant. 

The club in Wiltshire sits just off junction 15 on the M4, a few miles from the historic market town of Marlborough. Famous for its hard bouncy fairways and fast greens in the summer it still offers a stiff test of golf especially when the wind blows.

James says that central to the success of golf clubs in the future is taking time to improve their offering, enhance customer experience and implement technology updates. Ogbourne Downs and PlayMoreGolf have worked together to widen their membership offering to attract future generations of members to their club. 

All golf clubs should now be looking beyond summer 2021 and considering how they can add value for their members – improvements to the course and practice facilities will always appeal to members. Remember, value doesn’t always mean spending the fewest pounds, it can also mean having the best experience. 

PlayMoreGolf has already helped hundreds of golf courses to implement an online tee sheet and they can also work alongside your club to attract new members with the flexible offerings. Find out more about introducing a flexible golf membership at your club by emailing sales@playmore.golf or visiting playmore.golf/club-partner and our team of experts can arrange a no-obligation membership health check.

Written by Stephen Page

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