Just 6% of golf clubs detail dress code rules1st October, 2013 by Tania Longmire
A survey of nearly 500 UK golf clubs has found that just six percent reveal their dress code rules to golfers when they book their rounds.
One PGA fellow has said that this lack of communication has a detrimental effect on repeat business for the golf clubs concerned.
Dress codes are one of the most contentious issues in golf clubs, with many commentators, such as Mike O’Connell, club manager at Hoebridge Golf Centre in Surrey, believing they “restrict entry into the game of golf”. A survey last year found that 89 percent of golf club members felt that if their club relaxed the dress code this would have either no, or a positive, effect on bar and restaurant revenues.
However, several members also believe that dress codes are essential to maintaining high standards of behaviour at a golf club, and that they are important as they form part of their club’s, and the game’s, history.
Last year, Troon Golf, the world’s largest operator of golf clubs, announced it was relaxing dress codes.
Ryan Walls, Troon’s senior vice president of operations, said: “While history and tradition have always added to golf’s appeal, it is important that our facilities adapt with golfers’ preferences by updating dress guidelines to ensure they always feel accepted and comfortable every time they visit.”
This new survey, based on visits by mystery shopper service 59Club, suggests that it’s not just dress codes that put people off returning to a golf club – but a lack of communication about the policy is potentially even more damaging.
PGA fellow Simon Wordsworth said: “Just six percent of clubs provide visitors with sufficient dress code information at the time of booking.
“Golf course operators must take responsibility for communicating their individual policies to their customers.
“The key message to golf club managers is if you don’t communicate to your customers, how can you expect them to behave in a particular way, fairly enforce any policy and therefore allow them to enjoy their experience to the full – thus increasing chances of return business?”
The survey also found that just 19 percent of UK golf clubs communicated the expected time it should take to play a round of golf at their club to visitors before the start of their round.
This is despite the fact that more than a fifth of golfers have said that slow play deters them from playing golf and that the authorities in the USA have brought in a raft of measures this year to tackle the issue because it is viewed as a major threat to venues, including even television advertising featuring the likes of Tiger Woods and Clint Eastwood.