Global Edition

Scottish Clubs Enjoy Membership Boosts

12.34pm 10th May 2016 - Management Topics

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Scottish Golf Club Services Menu

Bearsden and Peebles are reaping the benefits of support from Scottish Golf’s Club Development team by significantly boosting their membership numbers.

The forward-thinking clubs have both come through the governing body’s business planning programme in recent years and have emerged with some notable successes as a result, thanks to an innovative approach on both sides of the country.

With membership figures in Scotland stabilising over the past year, the work of both clubs is reflective of what is being achieved with a more modern, business-like approach. Bearsden, situated near Glasgow, added over 100 new members in 2015, while Borders club Peebles has recruited the same number of new adult members over a two-year period. Both have continued on an upward curve again this season, with the influx of new business being maintained.

The activity to generate their respective membership growths has been supported by the input from their Regional Club Development Officers, laying the foundations of the hard work done by their club committee members.

Scottish Golf recently enhanced their Development Officer network to strengthen its support of clubs, increasing the team of Regional Club Development Officers from three to eight, with the aim of growing membership and encouraging more people to play the game. This support includes the national ClubGolf and Get into Golf initiatives, with education, business planning and governance also a major focus.

Bearsden, a 9-hole course home to Scotland’s Amateur Golfer of the Year and Walker Cup winner Ewen Ferguson, pride themselves on good planning to achieve desired results.

Mark Buchanan, the club’s marketing convenor, said: “The definite reason for our success is that we have the whole year planned with three Open Days which are well publicised, as well as attractive membership offers. We also have a motivated membership who promote the club well and an active social scene.

“We are trying to get the message across that we are a club for life. We have now finalised our business plan and have introduced a joining fee this year.

“We have so far added a further 10 new members in 2016, on top of the 100 we recruited last year, and we will now work on membership retention going forward.”

Meanwhile, Peebles are going from strength to strength, having won the national Junior Club of the Year title at the 2015 Scottish Golf Awards, an accolade they were also nominated for this year. The club’s engagement in the local community, investment in new facilities, a focus on a family-friendly clubhouse environment and the recruitment of a new PGA club professional in Steve Johnston have all been notable factors in their success.

Junior membership numbers have more than doubled since getting involved in the ClubGolf programme three years ago, and in turn, more parents are coming to the club who would not otherwise have been involved. Several parents have joined as full members and all ClubGolf participants have become junior members, with 70-plus taking part in activities on a weekly basis.

Peebles captain Graham Lowther said: “There are various reasons for our success, but a change in governance structure created new posts on the committee, in particular a membership convenor who heads up our membership recruitment and retention sub-committee. Importantly, two of the committee are new members, so they’ve helped the recruitment process from seeing how it actually works and improving upon it.

“The business plan gave us the focus to work towards making the club much more family-friendly, and the atmosphere created by the kids on a Sunday has really helped make that a reality, attracting many more parents to the club.

“The committee also works very hard and we’ve all shown a real desire to make change happen, while our pro Steve Johnston has been a great addition to the team, implementing Get into Golf for women over the winter and being instrumental in moving our junior programme to the next level.”

To find out more on how clubs can benefit from Scottish Golf support through the Business Planning Programme, visit

Scottish Golf

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