The average golf club membership for a full play adult is somewhere in the region of £750…… Ill let that sink in.
For me, pricing is incredibly important, especially where I come from where we have over 10 golf clubs in a small area. It’s the balance that is so hard to find, price yourselves too low and you are seen as a poor product that is too “attainable” but price yourself too high and, nowadays, people can’t afford it.
Golf equipment has never been so expensive, which is poor given how cheap these things are to make now but I digress. To be a seasoned golfer that has average equipment and a membership at an average (matter of opinion) inland course you need to be earning! And often a lot! I don’t feel this is right and I feel a lot of clubs are so scared of entering into a price war that a sense of arrogance comes into play.
“We will charge a premium price and people will pay it!” – You best have a product capable of backing it up if that is the case as the members hold all the keys here
Memberships are falling
The average golf club membership figures in Scotland have dropped by 17% across the board since 2004. I’m not suggesting every club is losing members due to their pricing however I doubt many would argue the connection between people saving money since the recession and that figure. The fact of the matter is that, for many, golf is seen as something which they can do without on a regular basis should it be too expensive.
There are websites like teeofftimes and similar which offer cheap games of golf for the sporadic golfer. Why would you pay hundreds of pounds a year for a membership when theoretically you could get 10 games a year, at different courses, for £15 a pop! Golfers have to consider their membership to be value for money, not an expense, in order to compete with this cheaper way of playing the game.
Golfers don’t play as often
As has been mentioned, golfers just aren’t really golfing anymore. In America there has been a 5M reduction in active golfers in the last 10 years, in my opinion this is because, for a number of reasons, there are more attractive options as a hobby. As golfers, and people who love the game, we have to ask why this is? For me, golf is neither financially or mentally, an approachable game
Clubs are seen as stuffy and unapproachable
Golf clubs have this mentality that you must be seen as a quality product by charging high prices and in a sense they are correct however every trend I have mentioned suggests this is not the right approach. Less people are getting into the game than before, the people that are in the game are looking for the cheapest alternative due to golf memberships not being seen as value for money! So why are we determined to borderline rip people off?
The point I would stress is, please get it right haha! Understand your market, consider where you are positioned in comparison to your competition. Set a price according to the standard of your product and the behaviour of the market. Once you have that price stick with it! I’m not saying, don’t increase your prices for no reason other than the balance sheet doesn’t look as great, my club have increased prices over the last two years but that’s because we have 36 holes and we’re charging the same as lesser 18 hole golf clubs in the area. We should be more expensive!
Consider your market and consider yourself, set your price and stick with it! Alongside this, I am coming round to the idea of more flexible memberships that make the game more financially doable and logically sensible for the average golfer. Have you come across any successful templates like this? Tell me why they worked and what you like about them!
To answer my question, Yes, I feel we are pricing people out of the game.