Senior discount legislation is shelved28th February, 2012 by Jenny Yu
Forthcoming legislation that would have prevented golf clubs providing discounts for senior members has been shelved.
The age part of the Equality Act 2010, which would have forced golf clubs to charge full memberships for senior citizens, was due to begin this April, but the Equality and Human Rights Commission has ruled that this will now not be brought in for the ‘foreseeable future’.
Several golf clubs offer reduced fees for older members, with both the discount and the age it starts determined by the club.
While the decision has been supported by industry insiders, some have stated that the current pricing system is unsustainable.
“Golf clubs are businesses and many are being hamstrung by constitutions,” said Martin Dempster, a columnist for The Scotsman newspaper. “But it’s not just young blood that we need in the game. Courses would be deserted at certain times of the year if the seniors weren’t out there, meaning clubhouses would be empty, too.
“I believe seniors, especially those who have been long-serving members, should get a discount, even if they do play a lot more than most of us. If they’ve got the time on their hands, then why not? What has become a problem, though, is that the ranks of that army have swelled over the past decade or so and, what’s more, its members are now living longer.”
“We welcome this decision,” said Hamish Grey, chief executive of the Scottish Golf Union.
“However, clubs should always consider the demographic profile of their membership and establish a pricing structure that is not only equitable and fair, but that makes sound business sense.”
Fraser McCluskey, secretary of Ladybank Golf Club, said that many golf club committees will be disappointed with the news.
“A lot of clubs went through a period of senior discounting in a big way,” he said.
“In doing so, they got themselves in a hole and I think they saw this as potential for digging themselves out of that hole as it would allow them to pull back on senior discounting based on age alone. It’s the threshold of eligibility that needs to be reviewed. People are living longer now and are probably getting another 20 years of discounted golf.”
Gordon Simpson, club manager of Hilton Park Golf Club, added: “Seniors vote for what is good for them and maybe not what is good for the overall well-being of the club.”