Loss of big societies has been blow to golf clubs

David Roy of Crail Golfing Society
David Roy of Crail Golfing Society
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An award-winning golf club manager has defended clubs using discounted vouchers in the battle to offset lost revenue from the disappearance from the scene of golfing societies linked to big companies, writes Martin Dempster.

David Roy has now been at Crail Golfing Society, one of the most successful clubs in the country, both with members and visitors, for the past 13 years, after cutting his administrative teeth at both Linlithgow and Taymouth Castle.

Referring to what have become known as nomads – people who play the occasional game of golf but are not club members – he said: “The old model when I was at Taymouth Castle was very much where we got our business and involved golf sections from companies like Rolls Royce and Motorola coming up for a game.

“You would get a bus party of around 30 people and they’d play golf and also have some food and drink. There were quite a lot of these golf sections that supplied the so-called golf nomads, but that just doesn’t happen any more.”

While the emergence of discounted voucher schemes has often been blamed for some of the current problems in golf clubs, the experienced Roy, pictured, reckons that is not necessarily the case. “If you use any of these schemes wisely, it increases exposure,” added the 2016 Scottish Golf Club Manager of the Year. “It is yield management as you can fill times that are normally quiet.

“It’s a myth that if you use a discount scheme you are competing against yourself. If you use it badly by offering a discount regardless of the time or day of the week, then you are a fool unto yourself. It is 10am to noon, thay are peak times and you can charge a healthy amount for them. But, if you do want to fill a slot between 2 and 4pm, you will have to discount it as it’s not a popular time to play.

“You are not going to get a party of 12 teeing off in the middle of the afternoon for a day out. But, if you can get the odd two-ball, you are filling a time that would otherwise be sitting empty.”