Membership resignations rising at UK golf clubs

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Golfers walk down a fairway

A survey of UK golf club managers has found that membership resignations are on the rise as annual subscriptions come up for renewal.

Contemporary Club Leadership, a golf consulting and advisory firm based in North Berwick, Scotland, says its most recent survey of 138 golf club leaders revealed an average membership resignation rate of six percent.

The findings were published just as the majority of UK golf clubs prepare to request membership renewals and restart the traditional golf calendar year, running from April to March.

Kevin Fish, Director at Contemporary Club Leadership, told The Herald the figures represent a return to pre-Covid levels and an increase in volatility, after three years of steady growth linked to golf’s accessibility during the pandemic.

“For three years, golf clubs have never been busier, but the easing of lockdown coupled with the severe economic challenges of recent months has sent club boards into a tailspin wondering what increase in subscription fees could be charged this year,” says Fish.

“We have never seen more volatility in member subscription rates, with the increases ranging from zero right up to 25 percent.”

Fish, a former club development manager at Scottish Golf, the national governing body for golf in Scotland, says this trend does not represent “the mass exodus many feared this year” while warning clubs should not be complacent about membership retention and the future.

“Our survey reveals that almost one-third of clubs are concerned about their long-term future, beyond 2028,” he continues.

“Our data also shows that the gap between the large and small clubs is getting bigger, as evidenced by resignation rates, subscription revenue and, this year in particular, the levels of salary increases given to secure the best staff.”

Read the full article via The Herald.