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Golf Today > Amateur Golf > 2009 > News, Features & Events

Clubs will “feel the pinch”
19th February2009

Recent research by GreenFree Limited, the UK 's premier 2 for 1 green fee scheme, shows golf clubs throughout the UK will start to really “feel the pinch” as the recession bites.

GreenFree surveyed 3,471 golfers in late December 2008 of which 2,488 were members of golf clubs.

The survey provided an interesting commentary on the pressures facing golf clubs and the golfing habits and spending power of the individual golfers.

3.7% of golfers surveyed said that they would not renew their golf club membership when it becomes due. Translated across all 1.1m UK golf club members and it's a staggering 40,375 golfers not renewing.

At an average membership fee of £900 that's an incredible £36.5 million which will not be available to UK golf clubs next year.

The figures become all the more worrying if golf clubs are looking to increase fees.

5% average fee increase and 9% of golfers, 99,035, would not rejoin costing clubs £89 million

15% average fee increase and the figures are catastrophic with 48.7% of golfers 535,410 not rejoining costing clubs £482 million

Over 87% surveyed considered current green fees to be expensive and 81% indicated that they would play more often if green fees were reduced. A massive opportunity one would think for golf clubs around the UK .

Shane Derby, who heads up golf course recruitment at GreenFree, said “There really is no doubt when we speak to clubs that they are all very aware of the difficult situation that they find themselves in. We believe however that there is an opportunity for clubs who are not part of the GreenFree scheme to get on-board and start to generate additional income from available tee-times.”

Interestingly in the survey only 15.96% of golfers stated that they “ never ” use a GreenFree 2 for 1 voucher. Over 84% declared that they use them “ sometimes ” or “ always

Shane continued: “GreenFree has established itself over the years and currently has over 800 courses available to golfers including The Belfry, Marriott Forest of Arden, Old Thorns, Trevose and De Vere venues.”

“We're currently undertaking a course recruitment programme inviting selected clubs to join the scheme. In these tough times we honestly believe that being part of the GreenFree programme will help clubs generate much needed additional income, not only through green fees but also through significant ancillary spend in the pro-shop and clubhouse the pro-shop, clubhouse, etc”

Research showed that a golfer spends on average £61.96 on a visit to a golf club including their green fee. Multiply that by 2-ball or 4-ball formats, or by attracting a golf society, and the additional income becomes material.

“Greenfree is a key marketing partner for Galgorm Castle generating  18.9% of our total green fee revenue in 2008, 62.5% of which was from midweek play'' was the view of Gary Henry, General Manager at Galgorm Castle



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