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Running a Golf Club – it’s a costly business!

1.35pm 13th March 2015 - Opinion

But the almost ‘hidden’ key running costs of a golf club – Gas, Electricity, Telecommunications, Insurance and Water, for example, are often overlooked writes Kim Harris, a member of the Golf Consultants Association

Business Savings 1Running a golf club in today’s market is an extremely costly business. Aside from the obvious operational costs, there are the ongoing maintenance costs to be considered. Add to this falling revenue – golf club membership across the country has dropped 20% between 2004 and 2013 (according to England Golf) and it’s no wonder that golf clubs need to be ever mindful of spiralling costs. Generating income through new members, society and corporate days is essential but brings with it additional expense and golf clubs too frequently focus on the ‘front door’ whilst leaving the ‘back door’ ajar!

The almost ‘hidden’ key running costs of a golf club – Gas, Electricity, Telecommunications, Insurance and Water, for example, are often overlooked. How often are these fundamental, yet crucial, business costs reviewed? Is there a strategy in place? Does the club have the in-house expertise to ensure that the contracts that are entered into are both financially and contractually fit for purpose? It’s a fact that in today’s busy and challenging environment, golf clubs often struggle to find the time to focus on how much they spend on these leading, essential costs.

Water charges, a high cost for most golf clubs, are seen as a fixed and given cost. Charges are complicated and vary from one water authority to another, however, water authorities have consistently been found to be charging their commercial customers incorrectly, with the rates being incorrect and not necessarily appropriate to the club’s needs. Charges can be challenged and in fact, refunds (in some cases up to a period of 6 years) can be obtained. Moving forward, all secured cost reductions then remain in place in perpetuity.

What avenue can a golf club take to review areas of expenditure without incurring costs?

Business Savings 2Well, one approach would be to use a consultancy that specialises in reducing key running costs. If the right consultancy is used, the support and benefits to the Club can be enormous. Some make no charge for their services and Clubs retain 100% of the realised savings as the consultancies are paid by their supplier network NOT the Clubs!

There can be a prize to be had here if you find the right independent consultancy. Make sure you look for ones that offer:

Clubs that have used consultancies have had solid support and seen financial savings:

“Your consultancy has secured reductions in our energy bills of some £10,000 during the last year. The fact that you have dealt directly with suppliers has not only taken out the hassle factor for me but also saved valuable time.”

“Our consultancy has provided a very efficient service, taking all the hassle away from sorting out contract renewals and terminations, and saving the Club over £4000 on the renewal terms offered by our existing suppliers.”

“Our consultancy has reviewed a number of our services and I can honestly say that their professionalism, assistance and the financial savings have been tremendous.”

Not only will the club, in most cases, benefit from realising financial savings but what about the cost of the time saved? That time can be redirected to other more constructive areas of the Club.

Consultancies will generally review the essential expenditure of clubs in areas such as gas, electricity, telecoms, water and insurance, along with other service areas. Using an independent consultancy gives Clubs the comfort of knowing that, not only are contracts covered, supported and, at the appropriate time, terminations placed, but also, that they will obtain a whole of market solution by sourcing the best and, importantly, most appropriate rates available along terms that fit the Club’s needs.

The procedure can be completely unobtrusive as all that is generally required by the consultancy are copies of the bills or relative contract information for the services to be reviewed along with a signed Letter of Authority (required under Data Protection Act). The review is carried out at the appropriate time with a full quote analysis or report providing detailed current and renewal rates together with the newly sourced rates.

Once approved, the consultancy would take care of all the necessary paperwork, put the contracts in place and ensure the new contract transfers smoothly on the due date. Ongoing support should be provided, with a dedicated Support Manager on hand to answer any questions/issues should they arise. The advice and on-going support should be supplied free of charge.

To find out more about how your club could benefit from business costs reductions, or if you would like a FREE business ‘health check’, contact Business Savings Experts directly on 0844 329 0039, email them at or visit their website:

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Kim Harris is a member of the Golf Consultants Association and can be reached at

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