Golf clubs in Wales are increasing membership and bucking international trends, according to the latest Wales Golf Clubs Survey.
The poll reported that roughly a third of clubs in Wales have gained members – and more than double the numbers than at another third of clubs where membership is falling, while the final third of clubs retained a stable membership.
The 2018 Wales Golf Clubs Survey shows there are some clear answers to the problem of reversing trends and increasing numbers, nine out of ten of the clubs with increasing membership are also seeing increasing visitor numbers.
Of those who responded to the club survey, 30% had increased membership, with an average gain of 45. A further 34% of clubs reported stable numbers, while the remaining 36% had an average loss of 19 members.
“Those figures are encouraging as it shows there is a return on our efforts and the advice we give to our member clubs,” said Wales Golf chief executive Richard Dixon. “When you drill down in to the detail, there are clear reasons for those differences. Clubs where membership is increasing do certain things differently from those where membership is falling. Many more of them now offer family membership, New2Golf, a junior academy and calendar, engage with a business support scheme, run community events, use promotional materials and hold new member induction.”
The poll revealed that the vast majority of Welsh club members are over the age of 45, while only four clubs had more members below the age of 45 than over it.
Club websites and social media channels were found to be the most common ways of communicating with members, but there are still a fifth of clubs in Wales which do not use social media at all. The number of clubs offering online tee-time booking has increased from 65% to 71%.
Around half the clubs in Wales are also seeing an increase in visitor fees, less than a fifth have seen a decrease. Half are now offering a nine-hole option for visitors. Around nine out of ten clubs that reported increased membership also increased visitor numbers, while only a third of the other clubs saw increased visitors.
Another area of some interesting developments is equality on the course. In around two-thirds of the clubs in Wales, male and female members had access to the course at all times. Disability golf is another area Wales Golf has concentrated on in the last two years, with many clubs now showing encouraging signs. A total of 83% of clubs are now aware of the Modified Rules for Golfers with Disabilities, compared to 53% in the last club survey.
For more details, visit www.walesgolf.org.