Despite recent reports in the media talking about membership difficulties in the UK market for golf clubs, Goodwood’s Credit Membership has proven so popular that, as of 31 December, it will be closed with the club reaching its capacity. The decision has been made in order to ensure that players still have the best possible golf experience and any new applications for membership will be asked to join a waiting list.
Golf At Goodwood’s Credit Membership scheme, introduced in 2006, has successfully shown that having innovative, flexible schemes can encourage participation, even in difficult times. Clubs across England have seen a net loss of members over the period 2014 & 2015 whereas Goodwood has seen a net gain of over 600 Members and this year Golf At Goodwood has been receiving an average of 30 applications for membership each month.
The Credit Membership has helped encourage women and young players to join Golf At Goodwood, with 331 of the current members being female and 88 being juniors.
Credit Membership has proven to be a flexible way for players to fit golf into their busy lives. After paying a small annual fee, members can then buy credits to redeem for tee times, guest games, buggies and lessons. These credits do not expire, providing the membership is renewed.
Member Brian Hardy said; “I doubt if I could justify annual membership at an equivalent member’s club on financial grounds. It is doubtful also if my senior colleagues, who might aspire to play 3 or 4 times a week all year round, can get the same value for money as myself. The credit system clearly suits the irregular golfer or busy professional with little leisure time for golf!”
Fellow member Philippa Pickavance agreed. She said; “The credit system at Goodwood – buying smallest amount first then topping up when needed – suits me as effectively I’ve become a ‘long distance member’ at what I consider to be a reasonable cost. Goodwood is great for a long weekend for us and the credits system also allows me to pay via credits for my other half to play and sometimes a couple of friends too.”
Whilst Credit Membership has led the way in the drive to increase participation, Golf At Goodwood’s Academy has also experienced an excellent year so far, with 125 children taking part in Golf At Goodwood’s summer camps, 95 juniors training on the Level Up programme and over 50 women enrolled on Get Into Golf. The Level-Up programme involves children working their way up through 10 levels of development by achieving various challenges such as volunteering, practicing golf and taking part in physical activity.
Eddie Bullock, a non-executive director of Golf At Goodwood and former PGA Captain, believes that these positive numbers are evidence of how the club is breaking the mould. He said; “I have been involved with the club for six years and in that time the team has continued to challenge convention. By delivering innovative and memorable golf experiences, Golf At Goodwood has grown against the current UK trend. Watching Justin Rose – a former ambassador of the club – winning a gold medal at the Rio Olympics, will hopefully inspire new players to take up the game and I hope that Golf At Goodwood can be at the forefront of this movement.”
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