Bedale GC introduces flexible membership16th January, 2013 by Colin Victor
Bedale Golf Club in Yorkshire has become the latest venue to offer a flexible ‘pay as you play’ membership category to retain and recruit customers.
As clubs are increasingly competing to secure members, several have introduced schemes in which golfers pay a relatively small annual fee that entitles them to a few rounds of golf per year, and when they have used them up, they then pay discounted green fees every time they play a round.
Golfers have shown demand for these products as they are more suited to some people’s busy lifestyles, but the majority of golf clubs do not offer them, particularly because they run the risk of members paying less, or an unknown amount of, money throughout the year, rather than one fixed sum that entitles them to unlimited golf.
Clubs that have introduced these schemes, such as Golf at Goodwood, have generally found that they lead to an increase in membership numbers.
“Our flexible membership scheme is available for those golfers who prefer the flexibility of playing golf at any time of the day but cannot justify a full membership,” said a spokesman for Bedale. “The scheme is also attractive to those who may wish to take up the game on a low-cost, trial basis.”
The cost of the category is £200 and entitles subscribers to the benefits of full membership, including discounted drinks at the bar, handicap rights and the ability to play in most club competitions, but not voting rights. The 12-month package starts when the buyer wants – rather than on a date the club chooses.
The £200 allows between 10 and 20 rounds for the year, depending on when they are played, which is cheaper than current winter green fee rates of £19 per weekday round and the current full membership cost of £690. Once the initial £200 has been spent, flexible members can buy extra points as required. If they decide they want to join Bedale as full members, any unspent points can be set against the subscription.
The club has also introduced a ‘second club membership’ category in which golfers who are members of another golf club can join Bedale for £345, irrespective of where they live.
“Around here the days of joining fees and waiting lists are long gone. We have to be innovative in our quest for new members,” said Bedale Golf Club’s chairman Jim Shaw.
“We are optimistic that the flexible member option will prove attractive to golfers who fancy the undoubted benefits of being part of a members’ club but cannot justify the cost of full membership.”