Golf clubs need to evolve if they are going to attract a new breed of golf nomads
Golf is changing: more people than ever are “pitching” up at golf clubs to play but these clubs need to evolve if they are going to embrace these new players.
In the UK, there are some 4 million people who regularly participate in playing golf. However, according to a 2013 by market research group GfK, there are a further 8.5 million UK residents who are interested in playing the game, but deterred by a variety of perceived factors – concerns about the cost, a lack of friends to play with, the length of the game, or not knowing how to get started.
With this in mind, the team at the Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club is changing the way it operates to better suit – and, indeed, attract, a generation of golfers.
“Golf is going through a funny time at the moment. More people are playing, but they are playing in a different way,” said Sam Oliver, Director of Golf and Leisure Dalmahoy.
“Historically, you had golf clubs that were bursting at the seams with members. Now, you have more people playing, but fewer people committing themselves to a club. Instead, they are looking at their phones to see where has free tee-times, and playing somewhere different every time.”
This is reflective of a change in the average age of people who play, said Sam, saying younger players were looking for more flexibility in order to fit the game around family and other commitments.
“People are having to make their money go a lot further these days, and big, up front membership fees just aren’t feasible for a lot of people,” said Sam.
“If we want to attract this new generation of players to join our clubs, we need to offer them the flexibility they are looking for.”
Golf nomads are missing out on an important element of the game, said Sam, adding that Dalmahoy had restructured its membership packages to better suit the new generation.
Sam went on: “If you are not a member of a club, you miss out on the whole social side of the game which so many people enjoy.
“We have started offering young adult and family memberships because we want the sport to be open to everyone. We want to offer people the best of both worlds.”
The traditional annual club fees have been replaced with a direct debit scheme and younger player are encouraged to bring their families along. The team has also introduced “golf only” memberships, which are proving very popular with younger golfers.
Potential members will now be able to choose a membership from a range of categories over 3 lifestyle options:
Resort Memberships (access to golf courses and leisure club)
Leisure Memberships (access to leisure club)
and now Golf Only Memberships (access to one or both golf courses).
Sam said: “The average age of golf club members is 50 to 55, but that is changing. And it needs to if the game is going to survive.
“No offence to the older players, but our clubs need fresh blood coming through who will progress through the ranks as members and be the future of our golf clubs.”
Asked why golf was enjoying such a resurgence, Sam said it could be credited to more celebrity role models taking on the game, as well as a growing awareness of the importance of keeping fit.
Golf is a great way to keep fit, he said. Players can burn at least 900 calories playing an 18-hole game of golf, walking around five or six miles during a game, while enjoying the muscle strengthening effects of swinging the clubs and carrying the bags.
To find out more about Dalmahoy’s new membership packages, click here.