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Golf Chases Its Untapped Market


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#61 Shanks4ever

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 11:37 AM

aha  with you now.  Wasnt sure on specific circumstances.  Price wars are not the way to go.  Having a pricing strategy where you use an offer to attract players but then a way to engage and retain is needed.

 

From what I see clubs dont charge enough for social players in general.  

 

I see the mid-to low tier clubs needed to get the balance right for members as well casual play so they compliment each other, then extract additional $ frrom every round when players show up.  Every club has different circumstances in how this may work.

Retention is not possible because the casual golfer will just pick and choose the deals whilst there is over supply. Price wars remain inevitable whilst struggling clubs attempt to balance their books by selling vacant tee times as you suggest.

 

Clubs absolutely do not charge enough for casual play because of the over supply. It is the casual golfers dream scenario at the moment, they can come in like a mercenary have their fun, leave the members floundering for survival and look for the next great deal. Golf Australia has been promoting this very scenario by their grow the game mantra via social club handicaps. 

 

Unfortunately clubland the core group for Golf Australia given they pay their wages is going to suffer a great deal more before a sensible balance will be reached.


Edited by Shanks4ever, 18 May 2019 - 11:43 AM.


#62 Turfers Paradise

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:04 PM

Being involved in the golf course maintenance industry for 26 years, the common thread I’m picking up is that members attitude is the key to growing the game. They are the ones that control the growth, allowing timesheets to be manipulated to allow access to social golfers, why should 25 non male members tie up a whole 18 holes, just to have a shotgun start each week.

The pros often overheard telling clientele, sorry can’t get on till 1pm...... that is ludicrous. Jealousy of younger juniors coming and winning the the comps, displacing their friend as the champion. Expecting 100% pure surfaces and playing conditions when only paying moderate membership fees. Complaining about price rises in food and beverage items......

They need a reality check and as usual at the AGM, you get the same old faces voting against raising fees and all the while having their democracy sausage and eating it.

Clubs cannot afford pro ams, that 10k given to strangers can buy product or R and M to infrastructure and course improvements. Clubland need to get their priorities right. Progressive ideals not same ol same ol
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#63 Shanks4ever

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:46 PM

Being involved in the golf course maintenance industry for 26 years, the common thread I’m picking up is that members attitude is the key to growing the game. They are the ones that control the growth, allowing timesheets to be manipulated to allow access to social golfers, why should 25 non male members tie up a whole 18 holes, just to have a shotgun start each week.

The pros often overheard telling clientele, sorry can’t get on till 1pm...... that is ludicrous. Jealousy of younger juniors coming and winning the the comps, displacing their friend as the champion. Expecting 100% pure surfaces and playing conditions when only paying moderate membership fees. Complaining about price rises in food and beverage items......

They need a reality check and as usual at the AGM, you get the same old faces voting against raising fees and all the while having their democracy sausage and eating it.

Clubs cannot afford pro ams, that 10k given to strangers can buy product or R and M to infrastructure and course improvements. Clubland need to get their priorities right. Progressive ideals not same ol same ol

You would no better than most the costs for maintaining courses has grown considerably more on a % basis than membership fees have risen. I am afraid having social golfers paying $20 or $30 for a round is a short term bandaid solution. Charging members what it actually costs to run a club to their expectations is the only long term solution for a sustainable members club.

 

The game is not growing, it is shrinking that is a fact. 


Edited by Shanks4ever, 18 May 2019 - 01:48 PM.

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#64 Turfers Paradise

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 02:49 PM

You would no better than most the costs for maintaining courses has grown considerably more on a % basis than membership fees have risen. I am afraid having social golfers paying $20 or $30 for a round is a short term bandaid solution. Charging members what it actually costs to run a club to their expectations is the only long term solution for a sustainable members club.
 
The game is not growing, it is shrinking that is a fact.


A previous treasurer at former club said he wasn’t prepared to ‘prostitute’ the club and lower prices just to make money. We needed every cent we could get our hands on, and the course slowly deteriorated. The equation is simple, put Money into the course NOT the effing clubhouse.
There is a B2B group in our town that I’m prepared to approach and see what our local business community can do for us, it’s not in my job description to do so, but sitting on our hands won’t do anthying for us either.
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#65 madness

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 04:07 PM

As a member at what you would probably describe as "ancient realm" I would disagree with your premise that these clubs are in danger of being left behind, many are thriving. Some will fail presumably albeit I live in Sydney so none have at this point.

At my own club we have significantly lifted female membership, have a thriving junior and cadet programme and a board that is engaged in attempting to provide a great course and environment for members. I think you may be surprised at the expertise that exists across golf boards, its certainly not only 70 year old blokes drinking pink gin and reminiscing about the good old days.

As Shanks has pointed out its 2nd and 3rd tier (for want of a better term) that are the ones struggling. They are caught between appealing to the casual golfer whilst retaining a membership model. Given its "pokie town" many are being swallowed by leagues clubs with development aspirations.


Golf is not a one size fits all model but as a club you need to decide who you are.

Your club doesn't sound ancient if that's the case. Given that your club has increased participation when so many others are in decline I'm curious to know if you have other clubs or the golf associations knocking your door down asking for advice?



#66 madness

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 04:35 PM

You would no better than most the costs for maintaining courses has grown considerably more on a % basis than membership fees have risen. I am afraid having social golfers paying $20 or $30 for a round is a short term bandaid solution. Charging members what it actually costs to run a club to their expectations is the only long term solution for a sustainable members club.

 

The game is not growing, it is shrinking that is a fact. 

As you have said many times it is a race to the bottom so I don't understand how you can say charging more is a solution. Charging more is a death spiral for most clubs.

I agree with you that the current market is over supplied and the golf associations were asleep at the wheel but there is no way that Golf Australia is responsible for casualising the game. Casualisation is happening everywhere, not just in golf, whether you like it or not and if you don't embrace it you are marketing your club to a smaller population each year.

Solely focusing on memberships and green fees is also a mistake. Petrol stations don't make money selling petrol. It's funny to watch someone drive halfway across the city for cheaper fuel only to buy a $6 dollar bottle of coke. You will always have the tight arse who just pays the green fee but most people will spend once they are at your venue if you make them feel welcome and make it easy for them to spend money.


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#67 Shanks4ever

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 05:47 PM

Madness

 

I get your point completely about casualisation but it is simply not a sustainable business model for clubs. The "mercenary" golfer hunting deals is to the detriment of club land. If you think 2 people walking at $24.50 each is a sustainable model for a course and facilities to the standard people expect you are wrong.

 

Your way of thinking would see the members effectively subsidising the "mercenary" in order to allow the club to open its doors for another year of struggling.   How much do you think it costs to run a metropolitan club each year to the standard people expect?

 

Golf Australia contributed to the casualisation of the game by allowing "clubs" with no affiliation to any course to allow golf handicaps. eg Qantas club etc etc 

 

If the "mercenary" was paying close to $50 - $60 round you are at the correct price point because this equates to $2000 - $3000 annual subs which is about right for a 2nd tier club. This unfortunately can not happen until we have reached the bottom whereby more clubs merge or fold.

 

Selling a few beers and hamburgers to the "mercenary" is another bandaid solution just as discounted green fees are. If you are talking about pokies I find that just plain wrong.



#68 OldBogey

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 09:58 AM

Interesting discussion on the costs of club membership and the expectations of members.

The tier one clubs offer private club snob value to their members. Members can be reasonably assured of decent fellow members and with a beautiful golf course at their doorstep. For that exclusivity they can expect to have to pay a considerable sum which will also keep the riff raff out. If you can't afford it, you don't belong.

At the opposite extreme are the social clubs who just visit occasionally, and the out-of-town country clubs where the courses are not pristine but still a golfing challenge.

It's all about changing socionomics. In times gone by, only the rich could afford the exclusive private club scenario. But now, fewer people really care, even if they can afford it. Others are happy to spend a bit more in fuel and time to play where they don't have to fight for a tee time and can just enjoy golf at their leisure.

Clubs need to recognise where they rightly fit in the overall scheme of things and market their club &/or course accordingly.
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#69 PerryGroves

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 06:56 PM

Your club doesn't sound ancient if that's the case. Given that your club has increased participation when so many others are in decline I'm curious to know if you have other clubs or the golf associations knocking your door down asking for advice?


We talk to other clubs and certainly don't think we are the people with answers, we would like to think we have some of answers for our members.

Our model won't fit everyone, there is not one answer. You seem to think there is (I may be getting the wrong vibe).

We have a significant geographic advantage and a great facility (that we need to capitalise on) but we also worked hard on changing the "culture".

We also have members who are prepared to spend their own time for the benefit of the club but not necessarily to advantage themselves.
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#70 madness

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 08:05 PM

We talk to other clubs and certainly don't think we are the people with answers, we would like to think we have some of answers for our members.

Our model won't fit everyone, there is not one answer. You seem to think there is (I may be getting the wrong vibe).

We have a significant geographic advantage and a great facility (that we need to capitalise on) but we also worked hard on changing the "culture".

We also have members who are prepared to spend their own time for the benefit of the club but not necessarily to advantage themselves.

Hi Perry

Not at all and I think this is the biggest challenge for clubs. Understanding their place in the market and understanding culture.

Clubs have very different cultures and often have several different cultures within the one club. Thinking there is a one size fits all won't work.

Your last comment is very pertinent and not just from a material perspective. Volunteers can sometimes start out with good thoughts but end up being control freaks and try to shape everything to their own eye. 


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#71 PerryGroves

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:56 AM

Not sure where we go from here madness, perhaps we are back to one of Shanks original points.

Certainly in my sample of one case, GA spending money on elite players and associated junkets combined with a focus on the casual golfer is not increasing participation at my club.

Participation is their charter (mission statement), my view would be the elite / grassroots balance is way off. It is still not clear to me how spending on elite golf is a participation driver. I'm also the guy who bemoans state government spending on golf tournaments so perhaps its more my issue


Our goal is to raise the level of interest and participation in the game from grassroots golfers through to the elite levels, spectators, volunteers and associated industry bodies. Key responsibilities include conducting national tournaments and championships including the Australian Opens, managing the Rules of Golf and the national handicap system, and developing programs and opportunities to engage as many people as possible into the game.

Working in a commercial and inclusive manner with government, business, and community, Golf Australia ensures the value of golf is understood and supported in all policy and business decisions.
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#72 Shanks4ever

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 12:34 PM

Participation is their charter (mission statement), my view would be the elite / grassroots balance is way off. It is still not clear to me how spending on elite golf is a participation driver. I'm also the guy who bemoans state government spending on golf tournaments so perhaps its more my issue


 

Golf Australia is under the mistaken belief a spike in participation will occur if we get a new Greg Norman. Day and Scott have both been number 1 in the world and participation declined. Tiger's recent resurgence may increase participation slightly more so in USA. 

 

Golf Australia can now justify the spending on elite due to funding from tax payers to find the next Olympic competitor. 

 

I just don't understand why they don't use the funding to provide more opportunities at the US colleges which is the most common path  and proven path to eliteness in the golf world now. They spend a lot of money on camps in USA and travel to UK and USA, the players that "graduate' from these programs then have an opportunity when becoming pros to join the rookie program for further sponsorship. They don't have a degree which at least the college system offers for those who fail to become elite. 


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#73 madness

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 11:16 PM

Not sure where we go from here madness, perhaps we are back to one of Shanks original points.

Certainly in my sample of one case, GA spending money on elite players and associated junkets combined with a focus on the casual golfer is not increasing participation at my club.

Participation is their charter (mission statement), my view would be the elite / grassroots balance is way off. It is still not clear to me how spending on elite golf is a participation driver. I'm also the guy who bemoans state government spending on golf tournaments so perhaps its more my issue


Our goal is to raise the level of interest and participation in the game from grassroots golfers through to the elite levels, spectators, volunteers and associated industry bodies. Key responsibilities include conducting national tournaments and championships including the Australian Opens, managing the Rules of Golf and the national handicap system, and developing programs and opportunities to engage as many people as possible into the game.

Working in a commercial and inclusive manner with government, business, and community, Golf Australia ensures the value of golf is understood and supported in all policy and business decisions.

I agree with you that the elite programs do very little for the growth of the sport and they are overfunded.

I think there is a need to host professional tournaments on a scale large enough to maintain a profile in the sports sections of the media.

Where I believe Golf Australia needs to do more is to make golf more normal. We see Thor and Matt Damon at the AFL, Paris Hilton and other "style" icons at the horse racing, Will Ferrell at the tennis, Julia Bishop in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. As much as we love Arnie and Tiger for everything they did to generate interest Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis etc also had a massive impact in making golf cool. I've been watching old footage of Sam Snead playing some of them in exhibition matches. Stephen Curry wanting to play tournament golf can only be good. I hardly ever see golf used as a cross promotion for other events in Australia.

Education is the other area Golf Australia can do a lot of work and I believe they are getting more involved on this level. Finding successful case studies and offering research findings to clubs so they can focus on better strategies to increase their membership. Golf Australia has shared some great articles in recent times, whether club boards wish to read, accept help or make a real effort is another question. A very good article, which I can't find at the moment, was "Dying Club Syndrome". Clubs that are struggling will often spend money improving the experience for current members without making any changes to attract new members. One of my pet hates is hearing that a struggling club is spending thousands of dollars to buy a new handicapping system. I have never heard anyone say they joined a club because they loved the handicapping computers! Increasing membership fees to cover increasing costs when there is not a strong demand for the product is another way clubs speed up the dying process.

Outside of promotion and education I'm not sure what else Golf Australia can do although I would like to see some suggestions.

I agree with Shanks4ever that clubs will have to close. Property developers using golf to sell land has been one of the major factors on clubland being under stress and government has no concern for the golf industry when it keeps approving these developments. The workforce has become more casualised, property prices are up to 10 times the average wage when they used to be 3 and electricity bills keep rising.

Golf Australia is not responsible for any of these things and clubs blaming Golf Australia for their plight is playing the victim.

The future of each club is and has always been in the hands of each club.


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#74 golfguy33

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:25 PM

You guys are probably talking about country clubs or 3rd and 4th tier clubs.

The minimum cost is around $50 per round + at an average 4th tier metropolitan club in Melbourne.

The availability to play 1st and 2nd tier courses is restricted to knowing a member as a guest and an invitation or a corporate day for the privilege.  

RM, Metro or Vic will cost you $200 to 300 per round, maybe you'll get some canapés after the round :)

Double that cost if you are an international.

I think your view is very insular re the top of the tree clubs and what they can demand ! 

 

In in my opinion the top clubs will and can demand a premium price to play golf, the last thing I want to do is travel over 30 minutes to the club to play and practise my golf !

Jon...  






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