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GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Brian_Ewen on December 02, 2017, 09:27:37 PM

Title: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Brian_Ewen on December 02, 2017, 09:27:37 PM
https://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/golf-in-scotland-is-sinking-fast-delegates-told-1-4629560



Golf in Scotland is sinking fast, delegates told
MARTIN DEMPSTER
Saturday 02 December 2017


It was easily the soundbite that made the biggest impact during a four-and-a-half hour discussion about the future of golf in Scotland. “We are all on the Titanic if we choose not to do anything,” around 500 delegates were told at the first Scottish Golf national conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.


When he was subsequently accused by one delegate of being responsible for “a lot of negativity” about the state of the game in its birthplace by delivering that message, Stewart Darling, a Scottish Golf board member, stuck firmly to his guns. “It’s not negativity – it’s reality,” he said in response.


Eleanor Cannon, the Scottish Golf chair, kicked off the day’s proceedings in the capital by asking a wide cross section of the game to “suspend disbelief” following recent negativity towards the governing body on the back of a controversial proposed new strategy being put on hold as some keynote speakers addressed the audience and, with all due respect to the others, it was Darling who definitely made the strongest impression in the hall.


He highlighted that Scottish clubs had been losing roughly 5,000 full members every year in the last 10 years. He warned that the consequence of not doing anything to try and address that situation was an average annual subscription of £478 rising by 34 per cent in five years’ time and to be 84 per cent higher in 10 years’ time. “That is a fairly challenging prognosis in any walk of life,” he said.


One of many illuminating graphics Darling, the CEO of Vianet Group, a strategic insight and cloud based technology business, used to get his message across highlighted golf’s demographic being its biggest problem. Over 55s make up more than 100,000 of golf club members whereas 24 and unders provide just more than 10,000.


He also pointed out that it used to take 20 rounds per year in 2007 for someone to justify their subscription fee and now it is 40. He revealed, too, that only 47 per cent of members submit enough cards (three) to retain a handicap while just 53 per cent play in a formal competition. Having too many courses is one of the game’s problems. “We can’t sustain 600 clubs in 10 years’ time,” he warned.


Darling’s strongest message, though, about what needs to change more than anything was about getting more women into the game. That is based on the fact that women currently make up less than 14 per cent of membership in Scotland. “There is going to have to be a fundamental re-think,” he said. “We need to think very clearly about the future and how we get women in. It is a big opportunity if we accept this to be the case. Some clubs are not welcoming to women and children - that is a fundamental issue.


“Also, we are not connected as a golfing community and need to harness the power of that. Data is the new oil and new water. The power of it is massive for golf. At the moment, we have so little data on our game. We can have power if that changes and that is really important.”


At the moment, only 6 per cent of Scottish Golf’s income is from a commercial source. Roz Cushieri, another board member, agreed when that situation was described as “absolutely disgraceful” by a delegate. “But we need to make sure what we are offering the long list of companies we are engaging with is attractive in terms of inclusivity and other things,” she said before another delegate revealed that one company looking to invest a seven-figure sum in golf had said “no” to Scotland because it felt the game in this country wasn’t “family friendly”.


One of the proposals in that new strategy was to raise the affiliation fee paid by every club member from £11.25 of to £24. Asked if that could still be on the table at the agm in March, board member Malcolm Kpedekpo hinted it might. “This is the start of a process and, if we think £24 is the right price when we look at the strategy, then it would be wrong not to put it forward.”


Cannon, who was delighted with the success of an event that brought the most club administrators, club committee members and professionals under the same roof in Scotland, said she hoped a new chief executive to replace Blane Dodds will be in place early in the New Year. “We had a tremendous response to the advert and will be holding interviews in December but, as part of the consultation process, we thought it was maybe wise to slow things down a bit to get feedback from today,” she said.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on December 03, 2017, 01:01:59 AM


He highlighted that Scottish clubs had been losing roughly 5,000 full members every year in the last 10 years. He warned that the consequence of not doing anything to try and address that situation was an average annual subscription of £478 rising by 34 per cent in five years’ time and to be 84 per cent higher in 10 years’ time. “That is a fairly challenging prognosis in any walk of life,” he said.

If the average annual subscription at a golf club in Scotland is £478 then price alone cannot be the reason for the decline in membership. £478 is very cheap - around half the cost of an annual membership you would expect to pay at an average club in England. Increases in price are clearly always unpopular however low the base price, and will inevitably lead to a loss of customers on the margins. It is clear to the outsider however, that one needs to look deeper than the simple cost to explain the decline in demand for golf club membership.


One of many illuminating graphics Darling, the CEO of Vianet Group, a strategic insight and cloud based technology business, used to get his message across highlighted golf’s demographic being its biggest problem. Over 55s make up more than 100,000 of golf club members whereas 24 and unders provide just more than 10,000.


When I was growing up in the 1970s, both my grandfathers were avid golfers, and I spent many wonderful days with them at their respective clubs. Both of them took up golf in their 50s and the game continued to be at the centre of their lives well into their 70s and 80s. It was the defining activity of their retirements.


After this early introduction to golf you might have expected me to be a life-long devotee. But no - life gets in the way. A busy business life, two marriages, and four children put paid to that! It was only when I turned 50 that I was in a position to take up golf in earnest - after a break of 35 years.

My experience is an extreme example of a typical pattern. Ask avid golf club members about their golfing history and the most common story you will hear is that they played football/rugby/cricket/lacrosse/tennis/squash into their 30s or early 40s and then took up golf as a "replacement activity" once they were forced into sporting retirement.

Golf is a sport for the middle-aged and older. One of the greatest joys of the game is that it can be enjoyed competitively well beyond the age that can by other sports. While obviously it is also a young person's game, those with family and work commitments in their 20s, 30s, and 40s increasingly find it impossible to justify the cost of club membership, both in terms of money and time.

The demographics of most golf clubs - not just those in Scotland - are inevitable. Yet they are seen as a problem.  We are constantly told that the game needs to attract more young people, yet all initiatives fail. The demographics of golf clubs are not a problem so long as sufficient new members in their 40s and 50s are recruited to replace those dying off or giving up the game due to ill health.

Golf needs to sell itself as the perfect activity for a healthy middle and old age.


He also pointed out that it used to take 20 rounds per year in 2007 for someone to justify their subscription fee and now it is 40. He revealed, too, that only 47 per cent of members submit enough cards (three) to retain a handicap while just 53 per cent play in a formal competition. Having too many courses is one of the game’s problems. “We can’t sustain 600 clubs in 10 years’ time,” he warned.


The first point is surely a function of falling green fee prices at most run-of-the-mill golf courses. It used to be that membership was the cheapest way to play golf regularly. Now the non-affiliated golfer can play a plethora of second and third tier courses at less than £15 per round on almost any day other than a Saturday. Very many will be less than £10. This is completely unsustainable. Golf clubs have conspired with TeeOffTimes to bring this disaster upon themselves.


As for the low rate of competitive play, this is a situation I simply don't recognise. The culture among most golfers I know centres around regular qualifying competitions. If only half of golfers in Scotland play regularly in competitions then a very different culture pertains than that I am familiar with.


Darling’s strongest message, though, about what needs to change more than anything was about getting more women into the game. That is based on the fact that women currently make up less than 14 per cent of membership in Scotland. “There is going to have to be a fundamental re-think,” he said. “We need to think very clearly about the future and how we get women in. It is a big opportunity if we accept this to be the case. Some clubs are not welcoming to women and children - that is a fundamental issue.


At Reddish Vale in 1912 we had 110 lady members and 142 men

Now we have 12 ladies and 320 men.

Retaining our male members while restoring the balance to that in Edwardian times would revolutionise the finances of our club. I suspect that we are not atypical.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jim Nugent on December 03, 2017, 01:41:01 AM

One of many illuminating graphics Darling, the CEO of Vianet Group, a strategic insight and cloud based technology business, used to get his message across highlighted golf’s demographic being its biggest problem. Over 55s make up more than 100,000 of golf club members whereas 24 and unders provide just more than 10,000.


Scottish women have an average of about 1.5 babies each over their lifetime.  I believe the number needed to maintain population at its current level is around 2.1 children per woman.  i.e. demographics are probably going to make things much worse.   
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Mark Chaplin on December 03, 2017, 02:54:33 AM
It’s interesting the administrators cite “high” fees as an inhibitor plus their inability to attract corporate funding, the solution - more than double the subscription fee from their dwindling membership!
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 03, 2017, 03:49:50 AM

What a waste of time. Lots of figures and facts but very few ideas as to solutions and no ideas on implementation. Basically, we the governing bodies are telling you our members what is wrong but have no desire to help in the solution. Where is the leadership from golf governing bodies in Scotland? No plans, no vision, no action.


Mark,


they came across as believing being in possession of lots of data was what was important. They presented no action plan and yes ironically after saying clubs were charging too much then thought doubling their own fees was still okay. Any other company's board who presided over such a mismanagement would be thrown/forced out but instead it was the members who got the blame.


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on December 03, 2017, 04:09:05 AM
Jim,


Scottish population is due to continue rising for at least another 30 years but I'm sure the average age profile of a golfer will continue to get older.


Whilst I think Duncan is right that a lot of people take up the game in their late 40's / early 50's, I would think that relying solely on this demographic is a sure fire loser.


I think I played around 12 rounds of golf this year, only 5 at my home club. Lucky for me I don't try and justify my subscription fees by the number of rounds I play.

P.S. I wasn't there but can fully believe it was merely a talking shop as Jon indicates.

Ally
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 03, 2017, 04:49:42 AM
I would be interested to see some figures for the age profile for golfers over several decades. Not sure it’s ever changed that much.....middle aged/elderly folks, who these days are living longer, plus juniors/younger folks who play, then give up for a few years and then come back to the game.
It would be nice to have more ladies involved in the game though.


As to club membership, look at the number of courses within say a 30 min circle around where you play. Where I am there were only 3 in the late 1970’s, now there are 8. A greater than 50% increase, so it shouldn’t be any wonder that players are spread around more.
Atb


PS - was the game stronger before we had National bodies and CEO’s and HQ’s with staff and seminar’s like the one described above? How much ££ do they take out of the game?
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 03, 2017, 06:21:11 AM

Thomas,


a big part of the problem is that the governing bodies seem to believe that by having facts and figures they have addressed the problem which is not the case. We had very impressive presentations from several people most of whom lost their clarity in to much detail. In the end it was there are too few people coming into golf, we need to attract more people and ladies seem to be unrepresented so maybe start there.


A committee of a golf club does not need to know what the facts and figures are nor what the problem is nor even what the solution might be. They need to know how to implement that solution.


There was no how nor did I get the impression that any of the bodies thought it was their problem just the clubs' problem. I at no point ever got a feeling of a 'we' during the day and have now more than ever of the opinion that the governing bodies are irrelevant to the day to day concerns of their member clubs.


Booking system????? Kind of sums it up


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 03, 2017, 07:33:05 AM
Jon

It is rather self evident that the solution and implementation of a plan must come from individual clubs.  You don't honestly expect an outside agency to solve the problem(s) at £11.50 per member...do you?  The bottom line is in the go-go years too many courses were built.  Sustaining this imaginary level of growth was never in the cards.  So it is dog eat eat dog these days as nobody has a solution which will save 100% of courses.  It is down to each membership to best figure out how they will move forward or if they will move forward.  Sure, it is worthwhile for these types of gatherings, but one shouldn't expect salvation, just info. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Niall C on December 03, 2017, 07:55:12 AM
I agree with Dai in that I suspect the demographics for club membership probably hasn't changed that much over the years. Its a sport people tend to come to later in life and I think that is the beauty of it. Once you've finished getting lumps kicked out of you on the football or rugby pitch its great to take up a sport where you can have the camaraderie and competition without the physical trauma (rotator cuffs, dodgy knees and bad backs excepted).


And when they say clubs are losing 5,000 members a year that doesn't mean the game is losing 5,000 players it probably means they are joining the ever increasing ranks of golfers who aren't a member of a club, which is what I'm about to do. I'm doing so because I can't justify the cost of membership. Admittedly I'm at a club whose subs are at the high end of the spectrum of the traditional club scene in Scotland, but even so the thinking is the same. I'm not sure I get value for money and I play a lot more golf than someone like Ally.


Then when Duncan says £484 is cheap in comparison to down south, I think he's missing the point slightly. The average is probably brought down by rural clubs where average wages aren't as high as the cities, and wages tend to be lower in rural economies. However the question every member asks themselves at some point is "is it worth it ?". Especially when a lot of clubs are their own worst enemy in giving away visitor rounds at ridiculously cheap prices. That's a race to the bottom as Adrian Stiff has been saying for years.


Now if I was in the SGU I would be concentrating on advising clubs and how to offer better value to their members. Reduce costs and go back to basics. For inland clubs I try and prolong the playing season by concentrating on things like drainage, tree and scrub removal etc. Encourage them to increase visitor fees, and reduce guest fees. Try and make the members fell they aren't associated to some glorified pay and play establishment and have a membership that is worth something.


Niall 
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 03, 2017, 09:35:35 AM

Jon

It is rather self evident that the solution and implementation of a plan must come from individual clubs.  You don't honestly expect an outside agency to solve the problem(s) at £11.50 per member...do you?  The bottom line is in the go-go years too many courses were built.  Sustaining this imaginary level of growth was never in the cards.  So it is dog eat eat dog these days as nobody has a solution which will save 100% of courses.  It is down to each membership to best figure out how they will move forward or if they will move forward.  Sure, it is worthwhile for these types of gatherings, but one shouldn't expect salvation, just info. 

Ciao


Sean,


as the SGU is there to represent the best interests of its members so of course I would expect them to do this. The membership fee they charge adds up to a pretty penny when it is all totted up and if you look at what the wages are I would expect more from them. However, it is true that in the good times the golf sector forgot to look to the future and this is the reward we are getting.


The big thing for the future is who will implement a workable solution. I certainly hope it is not your vision of the future,


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 03, 2017, 11:52:35 AM
I have been involved with the SGU intermittently in the past 25 years, due to my positions of Finance Convener and Match and Handicap Convener at my local club.  The SGU tries hard, but they are largely clueless about the brave new world that we are all experiencing.  A HUGE amount of their annual "income" is devoted to funding elite "amateur" golfers, in the hope that they will become professional ambassadors for Scottish golf.  As far as I can see, this has been a disaster.


Rich
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Simon Holt on December 03, 2017, 01:59:10 PM
I'm sure some of you read the proposal before Blane Dodds resigned.


We couldn't find a club in East Lothian that was willing to support it but our worry (club pals round a table) was that SG members in other parts of the country may be in a worse state than us, with nothing to lose, and would say "yes".


The jump in fees was not necessarily the concern but more so the lack of clarity on what would happen with the money.  It all seemed to be smoke and mirrors, with the only conclusion we could come up with being a data gathering exercise by creating the centralised system.  With the data then farmed out to fund Scottish Golf?


Any clubs saying "no" would effectively be ostracised by Scottish Golf and their home members would cease to have recognised handicaps.  Nice.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: David_Tepper on December 03, 2017, 02:04:20 PM
 "A HUGE amount of their annual "income" is devoted to funding elite "amateur" golfers, in the hope that they will become professional ambassadors for Scottish golf.  As far as I can see, this has been a disaster."

At the risk of going further off topic, can anyone account for why this is? Currently Russell Knox is the only Scot in the men's top 100 of the world rankings and there are no Scots in the women's top 100. Over the past 10-20 years, the Scandinavian countries (with far fewer courses & golfers) have been way more successful producing world-class golfers than has Scotland. 

(but let's not even get into the state of Scottish football ;) )
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 03, 2017, 04:33:49 PM
Well said, David.


As far as I know, Russell Knox and Martin Laird and even oor Jimmy Gunn got very little of the SGU dosh that we paid for with our subs.   Neither did Jimmy Miller of Brora who was the best golfer in Scotland in the 1960-1990 period (and yes, I include Colin Montgomerie ,Sam Torrance, etc.).


j-j p
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Tom_Doak on December 03, 2017, 05:40:39 PM
By coincidence I'm at the home of England Golf the next three days so I will ask if they see the situation being as dire.  Like the SGU their primary focus seems to be on competitive teams, but at least they are fixing up Woodhall Spa.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Simon Holt on December 03, 2017, 06:15:09 PM

SG say they need to double the fee in an effort to better support the elite players amongst other initiatives. 


Yet apparently England is the one country in Europe that has lower fees than Scotland and is churning out top level golfers.  That shouldn't be the only measure but at least the English kids have homegrown stars to aspire to.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Norbert P on December 03, 2017, 07:17:14 PM
  Must admit . . . by the title, I thought this was a thread about Global Warming.   


  I hope everything works out . . .  on all counts.





Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: David_Tepper on December 03, 2017, 11:33:22 PM
Norbert -

Scotland may not be sinking, but sea levels are certainly rising. If half of what is written about in this new book comes true over the next 50-100 years, links golf may become a thing of the past.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-water-will-come-jeff-goodell-sea-level-rise-2017-10

DT
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 04, 2017, 03:58:45 AM

I'm sure some of you read the proposal before Blane Dodds resigned.


We couldn't find a club in East Lothian that was willing to support it but our worry (club pals round a table) was that SG members in other parts of the country may be in a worse state than us, with nothing to lose, and would say "yes".


The jump in fees was not necessarily the concern but more so the lack of clarity on what would happen with the money.  It all seemed to be smoke and mirrors, with the only conclusion we could come up with being a data gathering exercise by creating the centralised system.  With the data then farmed out to fund Scottish Golf?


Any clubs saying "no" would effectively be ostracised by Scottish Golf and their home members would cease to have recognised handicaps.  Nice.


Simon,


there is no plan really. The SGU boffins are great at gathering data and reaching conclusions. They have no idea about solutions or implementation. In fact, I get the impression they don't even consider doing the last two.


Also, compared to England there is no real junior or youth scene up here once you drop below the top level. That is one big reason Scotland does not produce many world class golfers.


The SGU need to look for committee and management from within the golfing world. The last head man has shown up the reason why you should not employ someone with no real interest in the game whose heart lies elsewhere. Back to basics is the way to rebuild but that means gutting the present setup.
Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 04, 2017, 04:42:15 AM
I wonder what the salary for Mr Dodds replacement is likely to be and how much ££ p/a is spent on the ‘data gatherers’, consultants and the like.
Central sporting organisations do like spending money.....other people’s mainly, and feathering nests is not an unknown occurrence.
Atb
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on December 04, 2017, 06:12:07 AM


Golf needs to sell itself as the perfect activity for a healthy middle and old age.




Agree 100%.   Can't understand why none of the governing bodies seem to though?
There is already a deal of information about this, but dont bother looking on offical golf websites for it.

Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 04, 2017, 11:18:31 AM
I have always been big on collecting data and understanding the trending patterns associated with it.


There is a pattern about how people play golf as a regular member and then give up the game that I have noticed, somebody can be quite happy with once a week golf and then an intruption from either their own circumstances or their playing partners circumstance can see them quitting. People play golf in pairs or packs, if the leader wants to move club the others often do the same. There is a pattern wherby people stop playing in competitions because their handicaps are too low and they can't win or they know they can't get better. The most obvious pattern is the junior to 40 year old, where he is mad keen at 15 and then discovers girls, when settled he plays a bit, when a child comes along time becomes the biggest enemy and its a 15 year enemy for many people that can't justify the time or money versus a family. At 40 many come back to the game, but realistically it is difficult to retain members from 16-40 and likely always will be, they may still consider themselves golfers with a few outings per year.



Going back to ABC stuff the first thing is to understand why numbers are falling in the game and no one really has the definitive reason why this has happened in the UK. I don't know if their is a nice answer to the problem other than the market has shrunk and some golf courses don't need to be golf courses. The 'there used to be 3 golf courses within 30 minutes of me and now there are 8' is pretty common. We really need 25% of golf courses to close in the UK, the problem is not just Scotland it is just seeing the effects of death spiral earlier because membership is at its cheapest there if £478 is the middle marker for annual membership, in the South we are nearer £1000.


It has become a rat race with some clubs looking to grab a few shillings for an empty space. Those clubs just don't hurt themselves, they pull down other good business's too. More than half of golf clubs still don't know or understand the relevance to pricing their product, if you have 500 members and a set annual fee what is good value to one person is not good value to another because one person may play 100 times and another just 20 times. Processing the data over the years, more than 50% played less than 25 times, for 50% it was cheaper to pay a green fee....so was born the flexible friend the membership that you pay a fee to retain that feeling of still being a member with a smaller green fee back ended. It will save some members but not all. The real problem I think is .... it just takes too long to play and peoples free time is less than it was in yesteryear with other attractions to do and enjoy that were not available 15-20-25-30 years ago.


I wish I had a nice answer but I don't, the only real benefit from golf is the walking and exercise it provides. You will live 5-10 years longer if you play golf once a week is perhaps our trump card and as mentioned earlier is something that our governing bodies need to harness as our big play.


I have little faith in our governing bodies and have found them mainly to be among the most stupid of people that are very slow to react and cocooned in their minor opinions, many of our members object each year to paying the £21 fees for what largely supports the elite few and the tail grabbers.


It would not surprise me if those at Woodhall Spa thought the problem was just confined to Scotland. I will be interested in the reply that Tom Doak gets.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 04, 2017, 01:35:28 PM



Golf needs to sell itself as the perfect activity for a healthy middle and old age.




Agree 100%.   Can't understand why none of the governing bodies seem to though?
There is already a deal of information about this, but dont bother looking on offical golf websites for it.


Tony,


this is because the general attitude of the SGU is that golf has too many courses, that the number of participants is shrinking and clubs need to accept this as a situation that cannot be altered. If any business executive were to spout such tripe their feet would not touch the floor as they were slung out of the room. I know for a fact that the SGU were actively turning away new members a few years ago so it is no surprise they are incapable of growing the game.




Adrian,


absolutely spot on!!!


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 04, 2017, 02:20:33 PM
Excellent post above by Adrian. Hits numerous nails on the head.
Atb
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on December 04, 2017, 02:24:15 PM


Golf needs to sell itself as the perfect activity for a healthy middle and old age.




Agree 100%.   Can't understand why none of the governing bodies seem to though?
There is already a deal of information about this, but dont bother looking on offical golf websites for it.


Probably because the governing bodies are made up of people who've been playing golf since the age of 12 and assume that that is the norm. Hence the obsession with trying to attract youngsters.


As Adrian points out, most juniors give up the game at the age of 20 or so due to other commitments. Many will return in early middle age, at the time of life when most golfers take up the sport for the first time.


So the issue facing golf is achingly simple;  selling the game to 40-year olds, whether or not they played as a youngster.


Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on December 04, 2017, 04:43:23 PM
FWIW I played very little as a teenager but golf was in the family. My Grandmother competed in the highest standards in Ireland and my father was a Category one golfer for 4 decades.

In July 2000 I was 42 years old and a big change occurred when my daughter could get herself up at weekends – prior to that my working wife and I took it in turns to sleep in one day and get up with her the next. One of my mates (who’s children were a similar age) said he'd started to play golf and I was welcome to join him.  Within weeks I loved the outdoor game, the challenge, pretty much everything about the game and I was hooked. It colours my view, but if it worked for me ....
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jerry Kluger on December 04, 2017, 06:34:08 PM
On the other side of the coin is the fact that playing golf doesn't necessarily have to interfere with one's other obligations, i.e. the smartphone.  I do find it annoying when another player is using his phone during a round but we must keep in mind that the phone is the reason why he can be playing golf instead of sitting at a desk, etc.


There is a hugely popular TV show in the US called "This Is Us," which a story about a white couple beginning around 1980 that is expecting triplets and one dies at childbirth and they choose to adopt a black new born who had been abandoned at a local fire station.  It jumps back and forth in time but one episode is pertinent to this discussion.  When the kids around 8 years old the father is taken by his friends to play golf.  They are in a golf shop and they are outfitting him with golf clothes, clubs, etc. and he says in a quite distressed tone: "This could take 4 or 5 hours."  Their response: "THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT." We forget that part of the beauty of the game is getting outside with your friends for 4 hours and try and forget about your other obligations.


Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on December 05, 2017, 01:52:59 AM
Of course you're quite right Jerry.


However, wives and girlfriends in the 21st century are very different beasts to those in most of of the 20th century.


All in all, it is undoubtedly a good thing that fathers today generally play a far greater hands-on role with their kids at weekends than in the past.


It's not good for participation in golf, though.


It reiterates my theory that the main target market for golf should be guys retiring from other sports such as football or rugby. If hubby has had a free pass for 10 years to play football on a Saturday it is not a great leap to transfer this goodwill to golf.


There is a small window of opportunity though. Leave it for six months after quitting football and you'll never get out on a Saturday alone again!
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 05, 2017, 04:25:26 AM
Of course you're quite right Jerry.
However, wives and girlfriends in the 21st century are very different beasts to those in most of of the 20th century.
All in all, it is undoubtedly a good thing that fathers today generally play a far greater hands-on role with their kids at weekends than in the past.
It's not good for participation in golf, though.
It reiterates my theory that the main target market for golf should be guys retiring from other sports such as football or rugby. If hubby has had a free pass for 10 years to play football on a Saturday it is not a great leap to transfer this goodwill to golf.
There is a small window of opportunity though. Leave it for six months after quitting football and you'll never get out on a Saturday alone again!


From a few discussions I've been party to I reckon there are quite a few wives/partners who would be happy for their husbands/partners, especially when they're retired, to spend more time at the golf course......gets them out of the house and away from under their feet! :) Some have even suggested they'd be happy if their other-half's golf subscriptions were even higher, maybe a lot higher,......just get them out the house!
atb



Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sam Andrews on December 05, 2017, 12:43:24 PM
Do the authorities governing lawn bowls get as frantic as the golf authorities about youth participation? Bit like golf was the next choice after my hamstrings said no to rugby and cricket, I've always assumed that once I can't swing a club, the bowling green will be blessed with my presence. After that, they can scatter my ashes on the 17th tee at Rye in the hope that, if enough of us do it, it'll be higher and turn into a better hole.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Tom_Doak on December 05, 2017, 01:00:44 PM

Yet apparently England is the one country in Europe that has lower fees than Scotland and is churning out top level golfers.  That shouldn't be the only measure but at least the English kids have homegrown stars to aspire to.


Well I assume England has something like two or three times the number of participant clubs contributing to the fund to field exactly the same number of players on their team as on the Scots team.  That's a pretty big advantage.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 05, 2017, 01:50:36 PM
Do the authorities governing lawn bowls get as frantic as the golf authorities about youth participation? Bit like golf was the next choice after my hamstrings said no to rugby and cricket, I've always assumed that once I can't swing a club, the bowling green will be blessed with my presence. After that, they can scatter my ashes on the 17th tee at Rye in the hope that, if enough of us do it, it'll be higher and turn into a better hole.
The authorities are mainly interested in elite golfers and junior golfers yes. I think only 3 or 4 of the 40 or so regional bodies contributed to the funding of the Vat argument with the HMRC.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 05, 2017, 01:53:49 PM

Yet apparently England is the one country in Europe that has lower fees than Scotland and is churning out top level golfers.  That shouldn't be the only measure but at least the English kids have homegrown stars to aspire to.


Well I assume England has something like two or three times the number of participant clubs contributing to the fund to field exactly the same number of players on their team as on the Scots team.  That's a pretty big advantage.
Yes probably nearly three times as many but we currently pay £21 for EGU membership & our local Gloucestershire county fees per member, a lot more than Scotland if that current price quoted is right.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 05, 2017, 02:23:14 PM



Given that much of the county/national body £ involved allegedly goes to supporting the best juniors and county, regional, national, elite amateur players it does make one wonder the appropriateness of the spend when only a tiny proportion of those aided end up regularly on our TV screens. The other question is to what extent those who are helped ever help-back, either in kind or financially, in return?
But then again taking Adrian’s figure, £21 ea cumulative does buy a lot of blazers and Galvin Green clothing and trips to warm climates for the ‘helpers’.


Atb
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Ryan Coles on December 05, 2017, 03:04:12 PM



Given that much of the county/national body £ involved allegedly goes to supporting the best juniors and county, regional, national, elite amateur players it does make one wonder the appropriateness of the spend when only a tiny proportion of those aided end up regularly on our TV screens. The other question is to what extent those who are helped ever help-back, either in kind or financially, in return?
But then again taking Adrian’s figure, £21 ea cumulative does buy a lot of blazers and Galvin Green clothing and trips to warm climates for the ‘helpers’.


Atb


Dai


What is it exactly you'd like to see a governing body in the home unions do, and how much are you personally prepared to pay for it?
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Ryan Coles on December 05, 2017, 03:09:51 PM
As I see it, the problems the Home Unions have is in terms of funding, over half of the sports participants (Non members) pay nothing to the Governing Body.


In addition, an under 18 junior member paying £50 per annum pays the same £21 affiliation fee as a £3k per annum stockbroker belt dweller.


A more equitable way for Unions to be funded would be for Clubs to pay a % of turnover or a rateable value multiplier.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 05, 2017, 03:21:34 PM
I am not anti county golf or juniors and the people involved at county level are pretty much all level headed people that contribute to the game and I would not begrudge them a Calvin Green set of waterproofs for the time they put in.


The real idiots are at the next level.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Brian_Ewen on December 05, 2017, 07:35:49 PM
Do the authorities governing lawn bowls get as frantic as the golf authorities about youth participation?


Another sport that is dying in Scotland.

Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 06, 2017, 03:14:14 AM

I have said it before I would like to see the SGU and other home Unions develop a flexible online booking system that golf clubs could use instead of Golf Now etc. They could ask say £100 per club per year which would bring in several million which should be enough to develop and administrate such a scheme. It should have been done 10 years ago but better now than never.


Also, the SGU should be talking to their member clubs about possible solutions and implementation not just saying this is the situation figure it out yourself because if that is their attitude as it is, what is the benefit they offer to the clubs?


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 06, 2017, 04:34:53 AM
Millions?  So the unions have to work together  ;D  I have no issue with your scheme so long as it works and is cheaper to operate. As an aside, a national booking system could well be the death knoll for some clubs because it becomes very easy to compare. There has to be some action on the part of clubs to make them stand out from the crowd.  Unfortunately, that action seems to be green fee reduction for those involved in booking systems (read discount systems).  That is probably in large part true because a good number of clubs/courses are not distinctive in any way. 

I am curious as to what solutions you expect SG to come up with for individual clubs to resolve their issues?  I think your expectations are unrealistic.  Aren't these SG guys simply members of Scottish clubs?  Wouldn't they already have tried ideas back at their own clubs?  It is a totally different game if clubs pay for added services such as marketing, but to expect real help based in £11.50 dues per member is a unrealistic. 

Like Adrian, I think the issue is clear, too many clubs and courses built upon unsustainable math (not at all unusual).  There isn't a solution to keep all the Scottish courses viable.  It is down to individual clubs to best figure out how they will be distinctive enough to capture a sustainable percentage of members and visitor fees.  For the record, I don't believe Scotland is sinking fast.  Scotland has or is close to having the most golf courses per capita in the world.  I don't believe Scotland has had much of a real population increase since 1975, yet how many courses were built since then?

Ciao
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Niall C on December 06, 2017, 07:43:41 AM

Like Adrian, I think the issue is clear, too many clubs and courses built upon unsustainable math (not at all unusual).  There isn't a solution to keep all the Scottish courses viable. 

Ciao


I'm becoming more and more convinced that the issue isn't golfers giving up the game but giving up memberships. The solution from a club perspective then becomes how to retain and encourage new members. Visitor income was once upon a time looked at as bunce but now I believe it is actually eating into membership subs with more and more members opting to leave and become a nomadic golfer.


Making visitor rounds easier to book online only makes it easier for the nomad. It also to an extent erodes the value of membership as the element of exclusivity begins to disappear. While clubs chase marginal income, and are encouraged to do so by the SGU, they neglect and abuse their core income ie. members. The sooner clubs realise that and start addressing it the better.


Niall
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 06, 2017, 01:11:57 PM
Thanks for the question Ryan.
The level of funding is not necessarily the issue. It's what's done with the funding and the accountability for it. I have mentioned before the tale of how a national sports body took a team across the world to play in matches and how the players travelled economy class and shared hotel rooms while the blazers/committee members flew first class and had individual hotel rooms.
As to the use of the funding, certainly not big HQ buildings and the corresponding staffing! I would like to see more funding go towards the approx 7-13 age group. Give them low cost opportunities at golf.......once upon a time in the UK this was putting greens and pitch-n-putt in the local park with rented/deposit clubs plus local authority municipal, as distinct from pay-n-play, courses. If the youngsters like it, aid them through this age group. If they're keen, they'll carry on. And after a certain age, low teens, and keenness has been reached, well the cream normally rises to the top. Reward genuine volunteers as well, although not just because they're relatives of the juniors!
atb
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 06, 2017, 01:13:54 PM

Sean,


taken over several years yes millions. The Scottish golf is run not by a cosy little group of golf club members who leave their clubs now and again to do a good deed but by paid employees who purport to have some expertise in which ever field they are taken on to do. As I am sure you are aware the main employee has just done a bunk back to tennis the sport he truly loves begging the question why was he involved in golf?


So what do you suppose a body set up to represent the best interests of its members ought to do if not look after the best interests of its members?


I am of the same opinion as Niall in that golfers are choosing to give up membership and play on the cheap greenfees you can now get. Sites such as Golf Now are the main reason for this and the SGU should have realised this a long time ago. I disagree with the idea there are too many courses if the issues are addressed properly. As to possible solutions. Maybe getting a workshop together to discuss this would be a good start.


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 06, 2017, 01:19:56 PM

Sean,


taken over several years yes millions. The Scottish golf is run not by a cosy little group of golf club members who leave their clubs now and again to do a good deed but by paid employees who purport to have some expertise in which ever field they are taken on to do. As I am sure you are aware the main employee has just done a bunk back to tennis the sport he truly loves begging the question why was he involved in golf?


So what do you suppose a body set up to represent the best interests of its members ought to do if not look after the best interests of its members?


I am of the same opinion as Niall in that golfers are choosing to give up membership and play on the cheap greenfees you can now get. Sites such as Golf Now are the main reason for this and the SGU should have realised this a long time ago. I disagree with the idea there are too many courses if the issues are addressed properly. As to possible solutions. Maybe getting a workshop together to discuss this would be a good start.


Jon


I don't disagree with you, but there is no way on earth that you will get lasting solutions at £11.50 per member.  That is far from real world thinking.  Remember, what clubs do is on them, not Scottish Golf or God.  I don't see the point in your blame game.


Ciao
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 07, 2017, 01:46:05 AM

Sean,


it is not a blame game just the opposite. It is a question of what is done next. I would be in agreement with you about the SGU if it were not for the fact that the are a members organisation set up to look after the best interests of their members. Individual clubs doing their own thing will not be anywhere near as effective as all the clubs implementing a countrywide plan. This is exactly what the SGU is there to coordinate. It is nothing to do with money, only to do with seriously looking at this issue.


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 07, 2017, 04:49:07 AM
Jon

You and I look at business in a fundamentally different way.  If I owned a golf course there is no way I would be sitting on my ass waiting for a magical country-wide solution...which I don't believe exists.  I guess we have to agree to disagree.

Ciao
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 07, 2017, 06:04:01 AM

Sean,


as a golf club owner I can assure you that I am not sitting on my ass waiting for  a magical country-wide solution however that does not take away from the fact that the SGU are failing its members. Of course as you believe there is no hope your conclusions are not surprising.


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Tim Martin on December 07, 2017, 06:48:15 AM
Of course you're quite right Jerry.
However, wives and girlfriends in the 21st century are very different beasts to those in most of of the 20th century.
All in all, it is undoubtedly a good thing that fathers today generally play a far greater hands-on role with their kids at weekends than in the past.
It's not good for participation in golf, though.
It reiterates my theory that the main target market for golf should be guys retiring from other sports such as football or rugby. If hubby has had a free pass for 10 years to play football on a Saturday it is not a great leap to transfer this goodwill to golf.
There is a small window of opportunity though. Leave it for six months after quitting football and you'll never get out on a Saturday alone again!


From a few discussions I've been party to I reckon there are quite a few wives/partners who would be happy for their husbands/partners, especially when they're retired, to spend more time at the golf course......gets them out of the house and away from under their feet! :) Some have even suggested they'd be happy if their other-half's golf subscriptions were even higher, maybe a lot higher,......just get them out the house!
atb


I remember going on an overnight trip back in the day prior to the advent of cell phones. One of the guys did not show up on time and a call was placed to his house. His wife answered and said "Joe is on his way. Please don't leave without him". When we told Joe that his wife seemed concerned that he might miss the trip he said "She's been looking forward to this for weeks." ;D
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 07, 2017, 07:10:52 AM

Sean,


as a golf club owner I can assure you that I am not sitting on my ass waiting for  a magical country-wide solution however that does not take away from the fact that the SGU are failing its members. Of course as you believe there is no hope your conclusions are not surprising.


Jon

Jon

No hope?  I don't think Scotland is sinking, what is sinking is excess...so hope is not an issue.  Its basic economics, a larger supply of courses for the same population level as 1975 isn't a problem that has a country-wide solution unless by solution you mean every 10th course (at least) volunteers to shut its doors.  For me to accept that the supply of courses is on target I would need to see much more compelling data than I have to date.  Nothing I have read in 15 years suggests the course supply in GB&I properly meets the demand.  Yet somehow, you expect Scottish Golf to come up with magic bullets for £11.50 per member to create demand.  I understand if you don't think SC is serving you well, but there is a solution to that issue...don't be a participating club. Its like anything, if you think the product is poor value then stop purchasing the product.   

All that said, I recently had dealings with SC.  I didn't know there was a card which offered member benefits..how is this possible?  It is unbelievable that a club would participate in SC, yet not inform its members of the organization, what they do and what are the benefits of membership.  That is an area where SC should be working much more closer with clubs to get the message across. To be honest though, the English Golf Union doesn't make sure it is part of any club information either.  I am not sure I have even seen a link from websites to the EGU....very odd.  All is well though, I have now discovered how to get a SC card and what benefits are on offer. The SC folks were very cordial and helpful...but still, it shouldn't have been down to me to track this info down when I paid the dues.  Why wasn't I sent a welcome email with info?

Ciao 
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Niall C on December 07, 2017, 07:54:20 AM
Sean
 
I partially agree about economics however do we really have that more courses in Scotland than we did back in 1975 ? I’m sure we have but I don’t see it being a particularly big percentage increase. What would be interesting to find out are what are the relative costs in membership, in real terms, between 1975 and the present day.
 
I wonder how many clubs took on significant capital projects, mainly involving the clubhouse, over the period when times were good.  I’d bet that is having a bearing in terms of interest charges and ongoing running costs.
 
If you can reduce the cost, you increase the number of golfers willing to become members. That’s the basic economics the SGU should be focusing on.
 
Niall
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 07, 2017, 09:50:07 AM
Niall

I wouldn't be surprised if there is at least a 10% increase of course supply since 1975.  Part of the blowback of that additional course supply was a more upscale model of clubs and maintenance.  It may seem modest looking at the quality of what was actually built, but in terms of cost the poor quality doesn't have much bearing other than higher maintenance bills.  So yes, reduced costs would help generate more market demand, but I am not convinced costs can be cut enough to create a demand to fill all the courses...especially given the fact that cost conscious golfers can easily get cheap golf without a membership commitment.  IMO, it really comes down to a market correction in  numbers of courses.  Golf clubs need to be in demand to remain robust and that means the best thing for clubs is when waiting lists exist and entry fees can be charged.  Sure, it knocks a decent percentage of marginal golfers to the kerb, but thats life.  Sometimes it a buyer market and sometimes its a seller market.  Right now non-choosy golfers have the power simply because of an over-supply in the market.  The issue is how do clubs make themselves stand out from the crowd so they can survive?  That is an individual club process and decision.  I guess we can hammer on SC to create more demand, but to be honest I see that happening mainly at mid to high level clubs via tourism.  The bottom feeders don't have this luxury because lts face it, there really is much to distinguish these courses...hence the race to the bottom with cheap visitor fees.  But I reiterate, Scotland is not sinking.  The game of golf is robust and will remain so. The landscape may change much like we see gentrification of city neighbourhoods, but that is how life rolls. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 07, 2017, 10:46:55 AM
I agree with the view that people don't really give up the game of golf but they give up the aspect of membership in favour of pay and play. There is DATA linked with this and this is my finding.


We have several categories ranging from traditional one payment membership to a scheme where you pay £335 per year and then pay per round, £20 on our main course.... here are the problems.


1. The Member will only do what is exactly best for him at that time and that could mean changing categories several times as he plays more, gets injured, gets married, has more work to do, has a child that wants to go to the football.


2. As they downgrade they don't really like to play on consecutive days, too frequently, when it rains, if it might rain, when the course might be undergoing maintenance, in the cold....all because they now have to pay £20.


3. Because they don't play as often they hit bad shots, they score badly and the enjoyment factor is less....they are not so eager for the next game. The £335 and 6 games added up to £455 which registers an annoyance factor of nearly £80 a round. They now quit their low category in favour of just paying a green fee when they play, usually then at a sub-standard £20 course (or quite a good one if they scan teeofftimes/ GolfNow and grab the barter bargain of the day.


4. The pattern continues until they double hit chips, slice tee shots into the trees, hack their approaches into the lake and the enjoyment factor is reduced until the play so infrequently that golf may just be an annual game with the workpals, stag weekend  ect.


I have seen this happen hundreds of times. Someone who was playing 40 times a year at one stage  is playing 1-3 rounds per year within 3 or 4 years.


So the real key is to get more people playing more rounds, the total number of people that call themselves a golfer still has not altered too much.


Key target areas are the 40 year old ex footballer with 15 year old children less reliant on dad.


Sell the game on the basis that a 4 hour walk burns 1000 calories, equal to an hour in the gym and you can play a round of golf for the next 40 years and you are likely to live 5 years longer based on the muscle usage, exercise, positive mental aspects of competition.


The game itself needs to be 45 minutes quicker. The game itself can't vary too much from the way it is played, so larger 8 inch holes are not a great idea. 9 hole evening competitions could be encouraged. Rule change that treat every lost ball as a lateral. Rule change that forbids marking a line on the ball and/or a rule that you can only mark and clean the ball once on the green, no penalty for striking and opponents ball or flag. Only your opponent can ask you to mark the ball a second time if it is in his direct play.


The Culling of 20-25% of all golf courses in the UK would be healthy for the remaining 75-80%, as it stands 95% of clubs are struggling to make ends meet and many clubs vie for another's business often with ill informed decision makers that discount their product to such a price that membership makes no sense.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 07, 2017, 12:45:33 PM

Sean,


by 'no hope' I was referring to your belief that a country wide solution did not exist not that golf had no hope. To be clear, my course is not a member of the SGU as they were not interested in acquiring new members (and fees) when I talked to them. I do agree with you about no solution in so far as with the current attitude of the SGU but I firmly believe there are things that could be done countrywide to improve the situation.


You are correct that the population has remained stable since 1975 increasing by just 15'000 since then though by 35'000 since 2000. However, many of the new courses are not member clubs and cater to the golfing tourist.


I think the experience you had with the SGU and their lack of selling the product or providing information kind of sums up where the problem lies. Were this to alter for the better then there would be the chance of finding a positive way forward. Alas, because they are not tied financially to sustaining the game the solution seems to be to up the fees rather than sell more product.


Jon
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 07, 2017, 12:54:19 PM
The only reason golf survives in America is because of carts. Has Scotland considered introducing the electric savior?
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Lou_Duran on December 08, 2017, 10:47:11 AM

One of many illuminating graphics Darling, the CEO of Vianet Group, a strategic insight and cloud based technology business, used to get his message across highlighted golf’s demographic being its biggest problem. Over 55s make up more than 100,000 of golf club members whereas 24 and unders provide just more than 10,000.


Scottish women have an average of about 1.5 babies each over their lifetime.  I believe the number needed to maintain population at its current level is around 2.1 children per woman.  i.e. demographics are probably going to make things much worse.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2017/scotlands-population-is-increasing

The issue is primarily one of demographics, economics, and the political choices made in response.  When there are 800 more deaths than births and the population is growing only through immigration, the sport's authorities better hope that the newcomers are from a golfing culture (most unlikely).

Given human nature, adaptation is probably the only realistic option.  With many competing demands for funds, I think it is hard to argue for macro, top-down solutions.  Each individual club will likely have to map out its best course of action given the local realities it faces.

I do wonder how long the current model of charging substantially higher fees to visitors even at some non-descript courses will last.  At my home course, I've heard a lot of once-and-done comments from members about both Scotland and Ireland.  I find it astounding that guest fees at some clubs are as much as dues for three months. 

Barney's comments are only partially tongue-in-cheek.  Another source of revenues would be useful, and when visitors from the UK play here, they seem to be partial to the Club Car, beer cooler, and even a C&W playlist.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Sean_A on December 08, 2017, 11:39:47 AM
Sweet Lou

The clubs charging the sort of green fees you suggest are not struggling. Though I agree that eventually the well will run dryish for folks willing to pay the crazy green fees now demanded.  Or if this side of golf is sustained, it will be at the expense of club membership. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Jerry Kluger on December 09, 2017, 06:07:43 PM
Just as an aside as we have discussed bringing new players to the game in their 40s and 50s, I am watching the Golf Channel and Greg Norman is on and he was asked about his golf game.  His reply was that he played 5 times last year and maybe 8 times this year. He was then asked if he missed the game at all and his answer was a simple "no." Seems hard for most of us to understand how someone who could play the game so well would not have any interest in playing anymore.  I am sure we could give any number of reasons for this but it is still hard for us who have never played at a very high level and love the game could imagine giving the game up, and especially so if we could play it really well.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 09, 2017, 06:59:24 PM
Just as an aside as we have discussed bringing new players to the game in their 40s and 50s, I am watching the Golf Channel and Greg Norman is on and he was asked about his golf game.  His reply was that he played 5 times last year and maybe 8 times this year. He was then asked if he missed the game at all and his answer was a simple "no." Seems hard for most of us to understand how someone who could play the game so well would not have any interest in playing anymore.  I am sure we could give any number of reasons for this but it is still hard for us who have never played at a very high level and love the game could imagine giving the game up, and especially so if we could play it really well.
The reason I expect is from the same thought pattern as the people I described as semi-quitting.....they don't enjoy it as much because they are not as good as they were and there is an annoyance factor hitting bad shots. There is another trending pattern that as soon as you are working or involved with golf, it is not the same sort relaxer that it was. For professional golfers there is a trending pattern as soon as they start designing courses the quality of their golf goes downhill, happened with Tiger although it is usual that golfpro designers design at the end of their careers.
Title: Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on December 10, 2017, 02:55:02 AM
This is one of the joys of taking up golf later in life.


At 57, my golf is improving all the time. I have not lost any distance - in fact I am gaining distance and consistency as my techique improves through tuition and practice. I see no reason why I shouldn't continue to lower my scores well into my 60s.

Most of my compatriots who have played the game for longer are seeing their abilities wane, causing much frustration. I feel lucky.


Incidentally,  our club manager attended a meeting of local clubs this week organised by England Golf. The main topic was increasing club membership overall and the main thrust of the keynote speech was selling the game to the over 40s.

Hallelujah!