A survey by the English Golf Union at the end of last year worrying revealed that almost half of England’s clubs had reported a decrease in membership. The report also found that nine out of ten golf clubs now have membership vacancies as a result of the testing economic climate.
But National County Card (NCC), which is free to join, is giving private member clubs the chance to reverse the trend and increase revenue levels and visitor numbers at no cost.
By joining the international scheme, which currently features more than 1,100 clubs across the world, clubs will enjoy a series of immediate benefits including a complimentary tailored advertising campaign at a nearby driving range with the aim of increasing memberships and visitor levels.
In addition, enrolled clubs will also be given a free listing on NCC’s website giving them access to a series of eye-catching benefits including an advert for their club and photographs of the course, enticing NCC’s UK and international card holders to play their course and a section where clubs can promote their facilities, accommodation and special offers.
Rob Sutton, joint managing director of NCC, said, “These are difficult times for everyone and 2009 looks like it could be a tough year for golf clubs. It’s a well-known fact that memberships are falling and winter is not a good time for clubs either, but National County Card can really help and the great thing about the concept is that it is absolutely free to join.
“Many clubs will have to increase membership fees to break even, unfortunately this will force more members to leave – it’s a vicious circle. Clubs have to look for alternative, cost-effective methods of increasing revenues without increasing membership fees. It’s not fair to keep going back to the membership.
“NCC was set up to benefit private member clubs and its members and we want to do as much as possible to help.”
All members of private members clubs with a valid handicap certificate can buy an NCC card and take advantage of discounted green fees at leading venues across the UK, Europe and North America by buying one of the cards for £24.95.
Card holders can achieve major discounts on green fees whether they are travelling on business, weekend breaks or holiday and, as cards are sold via the NCC website, there is no administration for clubs.
In addition, enrolled clubs will also receive £5 per card sold when their members buy a card to play at any of the worldwide clubs that have joined the scheme.
Sutton added, “We can reach around 1.8 million golfers through our advertising network.
“Our campaign has proved very successful so far in bringing many enquiries and new members to UK clubs and we are keen for as many clubs as possible to benefit from what we can offer.”
NCC offers an impressive list of clubs in the UK, Ireland, Europe and North America including San Roque, La Manga and PGA de Catalunya in Spain, The Oceanico Group’s seven courses in Portugal and two of the most famous venues in America – the Blue Monster at Doral, Florida, and the Stadium Course at Sawgrass – featuring the infamous 17th hole with its much-feared island green.