By Oliver Pickup
Golf clubs all across the UK are becoming leaner and healthier, and the sport is thriving, attracting more members, according to Hillier Hopkins LLP’s extensively researched 2014 Golf Survey. With the detailed results of almost 150 Members and Proprietary Clubs – submitted anonymously – the respected chartered accountant firm has, once more, been able to distill the gathered information to produce illuminating and encouraging findings.
The good news for golf in Britain is that following several difficult years the last 12 months have borne out a significant upturn in performance – and fortunes – for most establishments. Indeed, over 40% of Members Clubs posted an annual turnover of between £700,000 and £1million. Many have been able to cut costs while managing to enhance their membership by becoming more enterprising and open to change, ultimately heeding the tough lessons from a testing period. In short, those who have sought to evolve have reaped the rewards.
In order to sustain and for the most part increase numbers of members, facilities have been bettered – from courses to driving ranges to bars – and inventive schemes, clever marketing and deals have helped to attract newcomers. More clubs now have driving ranges, an addition which has proved handsomely profitable. Some improved their social membership numbers though clever strategies and increased functions, while on the playing side waiting lists of both Members and Proprietary Clubs were cut significantly in 2014.
There are still some areas which can be improved upon in general. For instance the paucity of youngster members remains a concern, despite there being more academy areas to introduce children and teenagers to golf. The continued lack of female golfers in another aspect which should be addressed. However, steps are being taken in the right direction for the most part, as the Hillier Hopkins LLP 2014 Golf Survey indicates.
Having produced similar documents for the golf sector since 2004, Hillier Hopkins LLP’s work has proved an invaluable resource to the golf sector in the UK. These absorbing reports are vital for benchmarking and arm clubs with the intelligence to aid making strategic decisions.
In 2015, and beyond, both Members and Proprietary Clubs should continue to adapt to market trends in order to thrive, remaining open to change when this is what the membership are demanding. Hillier Hopkins LLP’s 2014 Golf Survey Report for Members and Proprietary Clubs should be compulsive reading to ensure your club is not left behind.