To follow on from above. There are 2 types of golfers signing up for Howlong type deals. There are the ones who are playing limited amounts of golf because of work commitments or because they are travelling around , like myself, who are looking for a cheaper option for membership rather than pay full fees at a club where they will be playing minimal rounds. and there are the ones who are looking for the cheaper option rather than pay full membership at a club & then they return to the original club to play their open competitions .
The first group are basically leaving the club they are at because they are not prepared to make allowances for players that do not have the opportunity to play the course very often.If clubs were prepared to look at options to keep these players on the books the club would gain and the player would gain. If they refuse to. work with this group then players will leave and find a cheaper option like Howlong and if you do the figures and the deals offered by howlong they are making very little out of these cheap memberships.
The second group of players to my mind are the ones that the majority of clubs object to. those looking to get a cheap membership and then cruising round the clubs in their area playing the open competitions at a cut rate.
This disadvantages the clubs through not getting membership $ and frustrates the existing membership who can see these guys getting to play club competitions cheaper than members can( this after taking membership fees into account )
It appears to me that Golf Australia. and its affiliates and the clubs need to look at ways to encourage the first group who would ultimately end up leaving the sport if they did not have the cheaper option, and in reality after green fees it is not really cheaper if you play a fair few rounds, And finding a way to discourage the second group that wish to play every week but do not wish to pay a club for the privelage of doing so.
The clubs stand to gain by keeping the first group in the game by offering a discounted fee dependent on the individuals needs .
And find ways to discourage the players that wish to play every week without paying the associated membership costs which ultimately get spent on the courses.
Personally I doubt that many from that second group would leave the game if they were forced to pay their fair share membership wise. if something is not done I can imagine the time where visiting players from anywhere will have to pay full green fees and in all probability not hhave the chance to win any prizes. That will not do anything to promote the game.
Member of the Vision Test Pilot Project.