PRUDHOE Golf Club, the self-styled “Home of Champions”, has reversed the usual trend of increasing annual subscriptions, instead reducing its fees for 2010.
The club has also introduced a range of new membership categories and other initiatives.
Retaining existing members and finding new ones has become an increasing struggle for most golf clubs. So, in an effort to combat rising costs and provide funds for investment, the traditional method has been to increase annual subscriptions each year.
This has caused many golfers to compare the cost of their annual subscription against the number of games they actually play.
For 2010, Prudhoe has reduced subscriptions for full male members to £450 and kept all other categories at 2009 levels. The club has also recognised the problem of a sudden and large rise in costs faced by junior players when they move up to full membership.
“This large jump in fees occurs when players reach their early 20s – exactly the wrong time for them. As a result, we have introduced a £300 fee for players in the 23 to 29 age range. To encourage young players into the game, the annual fee for under 16s is only £40,” explains club chairman, John Perry.
Additionally, to assist golfers who really don’t play enough games to justify the annual subscription, Prudhoe has introduced a £150 annual fee. The player then pays a fee for each round, typically £7 on weekdays and £10 at the weekend.
And in 2009, the club was instrumental in creating the Tyne Valley Alliance providing the opportunity for members to play five other local courses completely free of charge. This initiative alone has the effect of dramatically reducing the real cost of membership still further. Potentially up to 50% or more.
“Prudhoe is famous for its high-quality golf course, clubhouse facilities, friendly welcome and its many league, county and international champions,” says Perry.
“Even so, we face a similar battle to other clubs in retaining and gaining members. Our new pricing structures and the free golf ensure that we now provide, arguably, the best value for money members and visitors package in the region, if not the UK!
“But we cannot be complacent. Golf clubs are competitive businesses and must be run as such. Without proper day-to-day controls and sound strategies, we are at the same risk as any other business.”