Golf clubs in classic Catch 22

2012-11-30 00:00

IT is expensive for the up-keep of a golf course these days, and to maintain the condition is very important in order for the club to retain its members and attract potential new members.

Golf clubs in South Africa are struggling to make ends meet in these tough financial times. Revenue relies mainly on the number of member’s subscriptions plus the rounds of golf. Generally, membership numbers are decreasing and traffic through the courses (rounds of golf) are dropping.

For the future, this spells danger for the survival of golf clubs as we know them.

In South Africa there are about 500 000 people who play golf, but only 180 000 of them are registered club members and there are less than 500 golf courses.

Many of the 320 000 non club members are casual golfers and it is believed that a high percent belong to golf societies.

Most golf clubs these days do allow societies to play on their courses, in fact they are often welcomed due to revenue from the rounds of golf as well as the resulting bar and catering turnover.

Golf clubs need solidarity. They should get their heads together and decide not to allow these societies privileges to play on their courses, the members of these societies would then have to either play golf as visitors (meaning visitors green fees, which are considerably higher) or join golf or country clubs and become proper members.

Members of golf clubs are seeing their subscriptions increase annually, which are bound to continue and they feel that are indirectly subsidising the non-members.

Golf clubs are stymied, they don’t want the societies, but they desperately need the cash. It’s a classic “Catch 22” situation.

From the 19th hole:

I was in the 19th hole on Saturday night and had a few drinks.

I noticed two large women at the bar.

They both had strong accents so I asked “Hey, are you two ladies from Scotland?”

One of them screamed “It’s Wales you idiot!” So, I immediately apologised and said “Sorry, are you two whales from Scotland?”

That’s all I remember.

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