British successes have no effect on business30th January, 2014 by Alistair Dunsmuir
Just under two thirds of all UK golf clubs say that golfing British successes in major championships, such as Justin Rose winning the 2013 US Open and Rory McIlroy the 2011 US Open, have no bearing on their business performance, according to a new survey.
Sixty four percent of clubs said their victories had no impact whatsoever on their businesses, challenging perceptions that successful British golfers boosts participation at venues, according to a poll of 254 golf clubs by Sky Sports News.
The poll also finds that just one percent of UK golf clubs say that the key 31 to 40 age group is the dominant section at their club.
One of the biggest problems for golf clubs is an over reliance on an ageing membership profile, but more than 80 percent of clubs’ dominant membership categories consist of people aged 51 or over.
This finding mirrors an England Golf survey last year, that found that 69 percent of the average English golf club’s members are aged 45 and over, and 32 percent are aged 65 and over.
However, when the question ‘what age group dominates your membership?’ is asked, it shows that the difficulties in attracting younger adults to join clubs are widespread.
The survey also looked at the effect Majors and the weather have on golf clubs’ business.
It found that The Masters, despite being hosted in the USA, not fully screened on terrestrial television and occurring usually before the golfing season has started, has a bigger impact on business than the Open, the BBC-screened UK event that takes place in July.
Nearly 30 percent of clubs said The Masters has a significant effect on their business, while just 21 percent of clubs said the Open does.
Nearly three quarters of clubs also said they have lost at least 15 days of business due to bad weather over the last three years, with 37 percent of clubs saying they have lost at least 31 days, that is more than 10 a year.
In addition, the survey found that three quarters of golf clubs have seen their female membership drop over the last five years, only slightly higher than the 70 percent of clubs that said membership generally has dropped over that timeframe.
Finally, a staggering 94 percent of golf clubs said they have a problem with slow play, with more than nine in ten clubs saying that this was the biggest talking point in the club in 2013, with an almost identical number calling on golf’s authorities to bring in measures to tackle it.