Club cuts fees due to flexible success7th January, 2014 by Jenny Yu
A prestigious English golf club has revealed that its flexible membership scheme has been so successful that it has enabled it to reduce subscriptions for full members.
Flexible membership schemes typically involve golfers paying a relatively small amount of money to be a member of a club, and then either receiving a limited number of credits that can be redeemed against green fees or paying reduced green fees to play the course.
They have dramatically risen in popularity with golf clubs in recent years as an increasing number of golfers have shunned the traditional model of paying for unlimited golf. However, the majority of golf clubs still do not offer a flexible option, particularly because they are concerned that they would lose full members to the category, and therefore a significant source of income.
However, Crowborough Beacon Golf Club in East Sussex, which introduced a flexible scheme in 2011, has said it has been so successful that it has reduced full membership subscriptions for the last two years – something very few clubs have been able to do.
“Flexible membership allows those with precious little spare time to enjoy the benefits of membership of such a prestigious golf club,” said the club’s general manager John Holmes.
“Over 150 local golfers now enjoy the opportunity to play, even if only occasionally, as flexible members participate and compete alongside full members, as equals, as time and opportunity permits, at a fraction of the cost of full membership.
“Full membership fees have fallen, not out of desperation but because we were able to and because we believed it was the right thing to do. We don’t believe that golf club subscriptions can continue to just rise, rise and rise annually, which has become something of the norm, while membership nationally continues to fall. Ultimately, this could drive everybody away.”
Mr Holmes added that the reduction in fees is “almost certainly unprecedented at any other golf club in the south east, never mind one of Crowborough Beacon’s qualities”.