What we learnt about golf club management in September27th September, 2013 by Alistair Dunsmuir
What we learnt about golf club management this month:
6. If you’re a fisherman in Scotland, then a golfing body will be in touch with you
The Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association are targeting footballers, fishermen and mountain climbers, aged 18 to 45, in a new marketing drive to get more people playing golf at their local clubs.
Phase one – posters at five-a-side football clubs, has already begun. This all leads to two important questions:
What will phase two entail?
What is the average age of a Scottish fisherman?
5. If you’re a goose, then it might be best to avoid golf courses
Some geese are designated as vermin, which means some golf clubs can get permission to shoot them.
But, as Bank House Hotel and Golf Club, which was suffering from a hygiene issue due to their faeces, has discovered, this can lead to a backlash from local residents and poor PR for the club – particularly if the animals’ bodies are not cleared away.
4. Walton Heath Golf Club doesn’t have quality practice facilities
It might have two golf courses rated in the top 30 in England and had royalty and politicians including Winston Churchill as members, but Walton Heath’s practice facilities are not up to scratch.
As a sweetener, the club is offering a bigger stretch of land the other side of a nearby motorway as new common land, but some locals are not happy.
3. Clubs that embarked on a flexible membership scheme at the start of this summer are rather pleased with themselves
At the start of the summer various clubs introduced flexible membership schemes – where golfers pay a discounted annual subscription to be a member of the club, and then reduced or free green fees for a certain number of rounds they play.
Hayward’s Heath Golf Club in Sussex brought in 40 new members in the first three months of the scheme going live, with more than half of them aged 30 to 50. Panshanger Golf Complex in Hertfordshire said the scheme had brought in more than £12,000 over the summer months and former football chairman, Ron Noades, now chairman of The Altonwood Group, which includes five golf clubs, said his flexible scheme had been a “great success”, with revenues covering the cost of implementation in less than 12 weeks.
2. The golf pro at Stapleford Park is a very calm man
The golf club wanted to convert a wooden building next to its clubhouse into a golf simulator zone in which customers could play the best courses in the world during the off-season.
Everything was going relatively smoothly until builders found bats living in the building, and the £250,000 work had to stop.
The bats have now flown away, but the club has to convince the council that everything was done correctly – and that could take several weeks, meaning it could miss out on thousands of pounds of income.
The pro’s response?
“Bats have become vulnerable due to diminishing habitat and are a protected species,” said Richard Alderson. “Stapleford Park is very keen to play a part in helping to preserve this endangered species.”
1. Even if you hate golf, it makes sense to play it regularly
Research from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has found that the death rate for regular golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status. This equates to a five-year increase in life expectancy.
And a Finnish study found that inactive middle-aged men who took up golf two to three times a week improved their aerobic fitness, reduced their weight and waist size and had higher levels of protective HDL cholesterol in their blood.
But be warned: “A full English breakfast, heavy lunch or several drinks at the clubhouse could undo all the benefits gained from your round,” said a spokesman.