Golf club membership grows in 2020 but gets older, finds our annual survey

Hillier Hopkins LLP

Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisers

Call +44(0)330 024 3200 and discover how we can help you.

Golf club membership in 2020 has grown but the number of rounds played has plummeted, finds our annual survey of golf clubs. More worrying for clubs is the continuing trend towards older members with fewer under 30s choosing to join.

Headline findings from the our Members and Propriety Golf Clubs Survey 2020:

  • 68% of golf club members are aged over 50, up from 63% in 2019.
  • Just 13% of club members are aged under 30.
  • 59% of clubs report increased membership in 2020.
  • 45% of clubs now have a waiting list to join, up from just 22% in 2019.
  • The average number of people on a waiting list is 34, up from 22 in 2019.
  • Male members (75%) outweigh female members (17%)
  • 92% of clubs have a dress code, with 69% saying they are planning to modernise their rules.
  • The average number of rounds played in 2020 has plummeted to 780 compared to 1,542 in 2019.
  • Average weekend green fees have increased to £27.20 from £22 in 2019.

Our annual survey of 59 golf clubs across the country is published today in a report ‘Members and Propriety Golf Clubs Survey 2020’ in partnership with the UK Golf Federation and the Golf Club Secretary Newsletter.

Robert Twydle said: “We have produced this survey for the past 14 years, and the trend towards older male members continues. In 2020, a year defined by COVID, 59% of those clubs surveyed report a growing membership, up from 53% on 2019, but with just 13% of club membership aged under 30.

“Our survey reports this year members playing significantly fewer rounds yet costs remaining broadly the same – course wages and maintenance are typically £305,000 a year and club house wages and maintenance £192,000 a year.

“60% of clubs are planning on increasing subscriptions and green fees in 2021, but that is unlikely to cover the lost green fee costs in 2020.”

The survey also found that:

  • 49% of clubs have an annual turnover of more than £1m.
  • PGA club pros can expect to earn between £1,500 and £2,000 a month, with 71% of clubs paying over £2,000.
  • Average subscriptions are between £1,000 and £1,600
  • Average weekend member green fees are £27.20, up from £22.
  • Average weekend non-member green fees are £55.73, up from £54.01.

Robert Twydle adds: “Golf clubs are fared better than other sports clubs but have felt the financial impact of COVID – and that is likely to continue well into 2021. But clubs face more fundamental challenges, mainly attracting and keeping younger players.

“Clubs are not blind to this threat and are working hard to attract new younger players, with increased accessibility and flexibility for members, improving club house facilities to include indoor training ranges, and adopting more faster-paced nine-hole competitions.

A copy of the report ‘Members and Propriety Golf Clubs Survey 2020’ is available here.

Do you need extra information?
Robert Twydle

Robert has been our VAT and golf clubs specialist for the last 28 years and has a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Contact Robert at robert.twydle@hhllp.co.uk or on 01923 634410