Golf club survival depends on ability to adapt: HLB Mann Judd Sydney

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The survival of many golf clubs depends on their ability to develop strategies to reverse the trends of falling membership, reduced income from non-member green fees, and less clubhouse patronage, the inaugural HLB Mann Judd Sydney survey of local golf clubs shows.

The survival of many golf clubs depends on their ability to develop strategies to reverse the trends of falling membership, reduced income from non-member green fees, and less clubhouse patronage, the inaugural HLB Mann Judd Sydney survey of local golf clubs shows.

Nearly three-quarters of golf clubs surveyed failed to report a surplus during the last year, which is obviously unsustainable, the compiler of the survey, Simon James, said.

Mr James is a corporate advisory partner of accountants and advisers HLB Mann Judd Sydney.

“In addition to an overall average decrease in playing members of four per cent, there is also a decrease in non-playing members of 12 per cent.

“This decline in membership is putting financial pressure on clubs, their committees and management.

“However clubs that have introduced sensible strategies have shown that the overall trend can be reversed by looking at new membership and other approaches to increase use of the course and club facilities.

“For example, clubs that offered a 50 per cent discount for juniors had on average twice as many junior members as other clubs.

“Of the clubs that decreased joining fees during the year, 25 per cent saw an increase in playing males and 50 per cent saw an increase in playing females.

“Indeed, targeting both youth and female markets are strategies that are working well for those clubs using them.

“Memberships in the under-25 years age group have grown by 10 per cent and, while female member numbers have been stable overall during the year, this compares with an overall decline in members of four per cent,” Mr James said.

He added that clubs with attractive corporate day packages and low one-off green fees also attract new members.

“Indeed, there are only four main strategies clubs can adopt to increase revenue: increase membership; increase clubhouse use; increase corporate days; and increase income from green fees.

“Over the next few years, more clubs will be forced to consider merging to reduce costs and increase revenue unless they adopt successful strategies in these main areas or have assets, such as surplus land, that they can sell,” Mr James said.

HLB Mann Judd Sydney is a firm of accountants and business and financial advisers, and part of the HLB Mann Judd Australasian Association.

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For more information please contact:

Simon James – Phone: 02 9020 4212

12 April 2012