www.igolf.cc — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Easygolf Limited and the UK’s leading independent Membership Credit Scheme – today announced that an additional 7 new courses in Essex and South Wales have been enrolled for participation in the scheme.
Brakes Golf & Country Cub (Chipping Ongar, Essex), Raydr Golf Club (near Cardiff, Wales), Southerndown Golf Club (near Bridgend, Wales), Tenby Golf Club (Tenby, Wales), Carmarthen Golf Club (Carmarthen, Wales), Gower Golf & Country Club (near Swansea, Wales) and Glyn Abbey Golf Club (near Llanelli, Wales) are the new clubs that are now available to be played by igolf members for credits bought under the membership scheme.
With 4 courses in the Hertfordshire/Essex area, 2 in Kent, 6 in South Wales and one located near to Hereford, www.igolf.cc is concentrating its strategy on a local golf cluster basis, allowing local golf clubs to offer a flexible membership scheme that can be used at a collection of local courses.
Ian Bailey, founder of igolf and Ian Church, a highly accomplished golf club manager of courses in the USA, England, Portugal and Wales, have been embarking on a plan to address distinctive golf markets, or clusters, such as Herts./Essex, Kent, Bristol, South Wales and Herefordshire whereby a limited number of courses can be brought together to team up and offer very competitive value to golfers not playing enough golf to justify the cost of a more traditional full membership.
“In this day and age, we are seeing more people where golf is only a part of their leisure, not their only sport”, Bailey says. “igolf gives such people the facility to manage how much their golf will cost them, rather than simply paying a full fee every year. If other things like job, family, other hobbies, or even the weather gets in the way of playing golf, this scheme will allow you to pay much more in accordance with how much you play rather than taking a one-fee-fits-all approach that most clubs charge today.”
“In my golf management roles, I noticed that about half of all people that decided not to renew their memberships every year, did so because they felt that they were not playing enough golf to justify their fees” Church adds. “Put another way, many many club golfers that play less than 25 rounds of golf per year at their home clubs are paying much more than they would be prepared to pay on an individual green fee basis. Of course, there are other aspects to club membership than just playing golf, like the competitive and social activities, but ask managers/secretaries up and down the country or the golf unions, and they will tell you that only about 1/3rd of active members are playing competitions on a regular basis and even less are participating in the majority of club social events.
“It is our conviction at www.igolf.cc that golf clubs are steadily but surely losing members year on year due to the combined effect of a demographic shift toward other activities, and the unwillingness of clubs to offer a membership price more in line with the amount of golf that is played by the individual member.”
“Our single largest challenge at this time, with over 100 courses within a 30 minute drive of Harlow is the retention of members during these difficult times” says Jane Pengelly, general manager at Great Hadham G&CC, one of the founding clubs that introduced the scheme in 2007. Since that time, by offering the igolf membership option to its members, Great Hadham G&CC has been able to retain 83 more members under the igolf scheme, and they account for approximately 15% of the overall revenues.
Pengelly goes on to add, “This scheme is so flexible. It not only allows those that are playing less golf than they used to do so without paying full membership fees, but is also an ideal way of getting beginners into the habit of playing regularly, incentivising them to play at peaceful times at a large discount and when the more established players are not going to be held up.”
The modern, web-based membership scheme allows courses and igolf members to be in contact with special promotions that can be emailed or texted, with the intent of offering all golfers within the cluster a selection of local courses to choose where to use their credits.
Bailey adds, “The addition of these courses is indicative of our commitment to make igolf a compelling way for golfers to continue to retain some form of membership that is more closely aligned to their way of life and the way they want golf to be a part of it. We will be both setting up new clusters, as well as expanding the clusters we now have to add more courses. This will make the product stronger for courses wanting to have a competitive edge against their neighbouring courses, as well as being able to give more choice to the igolf members themselves.”
www.igolf.cc was formed in 2007 as a flexible, low entry cost Membership scheme, intended for regular players that play up to 25 rounds of golf per year, including club competitions, but not enough to justify the cost of full membership. igolf membership costs just £10 per month and allows prepaid credit to be redeemed at all participating courses for green fees and other charges such as range balls, buggy charges etc. A subset of “igolf home courses” offers igolf members participation in club competitions and an official CONGU handicap. Golf courses offering the membership scheme have seen increased retention in their overall numbers, and the other courses an increase in visitor green fees.