Golf Club Membership In England On The Rise

England Golf's latest membership survey results are out and they paint a positive picture

Golf Club Membership In England On The Rise

England Golf's latest membership survey results are out and they paint a positive picture

Golf Club Membership In England On The Rise

Golf club membership is on the rise in England according to new data from England Golf.

The biennial survey, via Sports Marketing Surveys, and the results paint a very positive picture for golf club membership in England.

Since the 2016 survey, membership numbers on average are up by 24.

In 2016, the average number was 460 and that is now up to 484.

Related: World Handicap System: What does it mean for you?

The price of a full seven day membership has risen by an average of £44 in the last two years, from £857 in 2016 to £901 in 2018.

This shows that the price increases are not putting golfers off.

Perhaps that is a testament to the fact that facilities and services offered by our golf clubs are improving.

The survey confirmed that golf is the fifth-largest participation sport in England and that 3.7m people played a round of golf in the last year.

In total, 2 million people in England play golf at least twice a month.

The highest areas of increase in golf club memberships are with adult men and the over 65s.

Golf clubs in England now have an average of 381 adult male members, up from 357 in 2016 after a decline from 361 in 2014.

Interestingly, adult female members per club has remained at an average of 70 in the last three surveys.

In 2014, the average number of over 65s that were members of golf clubs was down at 148. That number has risen to 171 in 2016 up to 190 in 2018.

This may be due to the health benefits of the game and that golfers are now playing at older ages.

Related: Golf is good for your health and can save local authorities millions

Whilst seven day membership is still by-and-far the most popular form of golf membership in England, one reason for the increase in membership number may well be down to flexible memberships.

In total, 37% of golf clubs offer flexible memberships; things like weekend-only memberships and points/credits systems are ways of modern, busy workers being able to join clubs at affordable costs to them.

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An interesting statistic from the survey shows that, whilst membership numbers are up, just 38% of clubs saw an increase in membership.

This shows that some clubs are clearly doing very well to bring the average up with 62% of clubs not seeing an increase over the last two years.

Things like social media accounts, taking the details of green fee payers for newsletters and communication, communication to members, shorter format competitions and flexible memberships may be what clubs struggling may wish to start doing.

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s Head of Club Support, commented: “There is terrific competition for our leisure time but the good news is that there is a great demand for golf.

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“While it’s true that some clubs have closed during the last 24 months, it’s also a fact that new facilities are being built and other clubs are investing in redevelopment projects to diversify their business and generate additional income streams.

Other standout stats from the survey:

63% of clubs use an online booking system

1 million tee times were booked online directly with golf clubs in 2017

52% of clubs offer nine hole green fees

21% of golf club turnover comes from green fees (up 3% on 2014)

67% of members take part in at least three competitions a year

70% of clubs offer short format competitions (up 8% on 2016)

62% of adult males play weekly

Read the full report here (opens in new tab).

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x