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Rich Goodale

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #75 on: November 30, 2018, 10:36:03 AM »

The main aim of the Scottish Golf App will be to get the so-called nomads – a group that currently makes up around 
80 per cent of Scotland’s total golfing population – to book their pay-and-play rounds directly with the clubs rather than going through an outside booking website.


Surely the main aim, as discussed at length elsewhere on here, is to entice these nomads to become club members somewhere. Surely this is having the opposite effect.

Niall


Sorry, Niall, but the "club members" in Scotland have left the building (along with Elvis) a long time ago (except for a very small and diminishing number of the old farts' watering holes)....
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Niall C

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #76 on: November 30, 2018, 10:44:47 AM »
Rich

Clearly that's not the case or there wouldn't be any clubs left. At the last count there was only a very small percentage that had ceased to be, and even there they still had a core that wanted to be members but couldn't continue due to economics.

Niall

Rich Goodale

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #77 on: November 30, 2018, 10:57:03 AM »
You misinterpret what I am trying to say, Niall.


All decent and reasonably solvent clubs have "transitory members," "club members," and "the oldest member(s)" as per PG Wodehouse.  My experience is that most of the solvent clubs in Scotland exist due to praying for the manna given to them annually by the transitory members.  This is not a model for long term success, IMHO.


Rich
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Mark Chaplin

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #78 on: November 30, 2018, 11:33:48 AM »
The simple issue in Scotland is golf is too cheap, clubs struggle to stay solvent charging £400-£700 a year membership and only a small percentage get the high end visitor golf.
Cave Nil Vino

Rich Goodale

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #79 on: November 30, 2018, 12:11:20 PM »
The simple issue in Scotland is golf is too cheap, clubs struggle to stay solvent charging £400-£700 a year membership and only a small percentage get the high end visitor golf.


Not exactly, Mark.


600 members*600 squid a year=360,000/year.  Add 50-100K for visitors gives you enough to hire a pro (@20k squid plus merchandising and lessons), pay for the clubhouse by renting the food and beverage to an outsider, pay a greenskeeper and a few assistants and a couple of admins and Bob's Your Uncle!  Most courses own or pay peppercorn rents for the land, even though the grounds are worth huge amounts for residential development (vis Mike Nuzzos piece re St. Andrews in one of Paul Daley's books).


The tough bit is that the local market doesn't want to pay 600 squid/year, particularly given the fact that nearby course/clubs are offering 1/2 or less for a year's play.  It's a path to the bottom.


It's already happening in the USA and China and England.  I doubt that RCPD will be affected, at least for now, but if you are a "member" of an average club and course in SE England, beware!


Rich
D
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #80 on: November 30, 2018, 03:00:35 PM »
The simple issue in Scotland is golf is too cheap, clubs struggle to stay solvent charging £400-£700 a year membership and only a small percentage get the high end visitor golf.



Mark,


There is room in the game of golf for the basic take it as it is cheaper operations right the way through to the ultra exclusive only for the well heeled clubs.


Golf is struggling in the UK generally because the home unions took their eye of the ball and forgot to do what was right by their membership.


Jon
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 03:20:53 PM by Jon Wiggett »

Sean_A

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #81 on: November 30, 2018, 09:46:04 PM »
I find it incredible that anyone could blame a golf organisation for the downturn in membership...its nonsense. By the same token its nonsense to expect a golf organisation to "solve" a golf membership problem for a country. That's akin to believing a government can right an economy. Its pass the buck talk that will solve very little.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #82 on: December 01, 2018, 12:05:35 AM »



Golf is struggling in the UK generally because the home unions took their eye of the ball and forgot to do what was right by their membership.


Jon


The home unions are an irrelevance to most golfers. They are not important enough to have the influence that you assign to them.


Golf is struggling in the UK for a myriad of reasons, many of which are frequently discussed here. That there are too many golf courses is probably the biggest one.


The home unions basically run the structure of the game and handicaps. Their initiatives such as "Get into Golf" seem entirely positive, even though the results are probably questionable.


I'm not sure how much further their influence extends, or indeed should extend.


 

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #83 on: December 01, 2018, 03:39:58 AM »
I find it incredible that anyone could blame a golf organisation for the downturn in membership...its nonsense. By the same token its nonsense to expect a golf organisation to "solve" a golf membership problem for a country. That's akin to believing a government can right an economy. Its pass the buck talk that will solve very little.


Ciao



Sean,



A union is there to look after the best interests of it members and with those members being the clubs then the clubs. They should have been at the forefront of online booking systems and possible county club memberships. Scotland is now looking at the former but it is about 15 years too late. However, the unions have spent most of the last 30 years doing is organising big amateur competitions, wearing expensive blazers and slapping each other on the back saying what a great job they are doing.


A government's responsibility is to look after the best interests of its citizens.


Duncan,


your first line says it all in relation to why the home unions have failed miserably in their responsibilities.


Okay, define the 'structure of the game' as you see it.


Jon
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 03:51:20 AM by Jon Wiggett »

Sean_A

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #84 on: December 01, 2018, 06:03:47 AM »
Jon

There is a world of difference between SG not doing a great job in supporting the member clubs and SG being the reason for membership decline in Scotland. 

BTW..I don't believe a countrywide booking system will do any good and it may do harm. Exactly how is this meant to recruit club members?

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Niall C

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #85 on: December 01, 2018, 07:48:46 AM »
Sean

I agree that the SGU doesn't have the powers to exert absolute control over whether clubs prosper or fail. However that was not my point. The vast majority of clubs survive on their membership income. That is the core of their "business model" if you want to call it that. In "business" terms they are repeat customers. Those are the "customers" you want to look after, instead of pandering to "dis-loyal customers" who provide the marginal income. Acting in this way is the same as big utility companies who treat long standing customers as mugs. The SGU are simply encouraging that. That may not lead to clubs failing but it certainly undermines them.

Of course, it could be argued that the SGU is their to look after individual golfers rather than clubs (I'm not familiar with their constitution) although I'd argue that most (SGU fee-paying) golfers are members of clubs therefore that's how you should be helping them, by helping the clubs.

Niall

Niall C

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #86 on: December 01, 2018, 07:52:36 AM »
The simple issue in Scotland is golf is too cheap, clubs struggle to stay solvent charging £400-£700 a year membership and only a small percentage get the high end visitor golf.

Mark

Golf is only too cheap if clubs can't live within their means. Most in the bracket you refer to don't get any high-end visitors but may get some more local visitors but the bulk of their income is from members subs. They make it work, and have done for many decades, because they don't incur the over heads that a Glasgow GC or a RCP do.

Niall

Sean_A

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #87 on: December 01, 2018, 08:04:54 AM »
Niall

Sure...I think we agree...which is why I question a country wide booking system.  Other than for clubs which have no online booking system (which SG could probably do better by subsidizing clubs separately), how does this help recruit members?   It seems to me that it plays into the hands of itinerant golfers more than helping to build memberships.  Time will tell, but I don't believe for a minute there is any countrywide solution for all individual clubs to survive. The bottom line remains that there is the same number of people in Scotland than was the case 40 years ago and that is due to immigration...much of which is from non-golf rich nations.  Yet there are more courses and more courses designed to grab the attention of travelling golfers. Then pile on the poor economic downturn and it becomes clear that SG had zero control of the issue.  Its just too easy grab the ow hanging fruit without much thought given to underlying factors. 


I wonder how many children of the past few generations of club members no longer live in Scotland. 

Ciao   
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #88 on: December 01, 2018, 08:22:54 AM »
The county unions and England Golf are often run by people whose heads are pickled with nonsense.


Many have no idea what is going wrong with game and many of their ideas have had a negative impact on the game because of their make up they are sloth-like in dealing with problems. THEY HAVE ALLOWED THE GAME TO BE MESSED UP.


How England Golf can support the Play more golf scheme is beyond belief.


How England Golf can think the handicap system is better is once again.... Measuring devices, the golf ball...zzzzz


That aside, their errors are only the tip of iceberg. The game now takes too long too play and that has the biggest impact into, (certainly a) UK world where it takes longer to travel from A to B. TV and the internet have played a big role too, there is a lot more home entertainment which all eat into the segment of peoples available time. Other sports have become more popular, if Chelsea were playing Tottenham on a Saturday mid-day the impact on the tee sheet is significant.


A game of golf needs to get back to near 3 hours ...the walking bit is only about 1 hour... there are some good rule changes coming in 2019 though I still maintain NO LINE MARKING ON A GOLF BALL and MARK IT ONCE ON THE GREEN, that zips 30 minutes off a round straight away.


Watching pro golf on TV is boring and so gives little inspiration to possible (young) golfers. many clubs just repeat the same drill, you need fun competitions occasionally that make people smile.. A MIX UP where you choose  6 red tees 6 yellows and 6 whites and plot your own strategy. Have a hole you can halve your score! BLUESOMES like greensomes but you chose alternate play from the 3rd shot.SUPER-SIXES where you play in a group of 4 and have 3 6 hole match play going on...theres loads.


Finacially its all cut throat with ponce schemes and low price offers...HAPPY HOURS..HALF PRICE TUESDAYS don't work..the formula is simple 2 for the price of 2.

What do we have left? Selling the health benifits of walking 4 or 5 miles once a week and you live 5 years longer.


One thing where Scotland has suffered over England is the stricter drink driving law there. You won't get people taking on a clubhouse, doing the catering and bar - dawn to dusk without a subsidy and in a world where the price of food has been driven down to 6 or 7 pounds there is zero profit in a £6 meal after the goverment ponce the first £ in vat....


I agree with Mark Chaplin you cant do much for sub £700 and that again is more of a Scottish problem than elsewhere.


RANT OVER to be continued.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 08:34:47 AM by Adrian_Stiff »
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Thomas Dai

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #89 on: December 01, 2018, 08:45:26 AM »
Some nails hit squarely on the head in Adrian’s post above. I look forward to reading part II!
Atb

Keith Phillips

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #90 on: December 01, 2018, 09:13:03 AM »

A government's responsibility is to look after the best interests of its citizens.

Jon


Perhaps that is the expectation in Scotland.  In America it is (was?) the citizen's job to look after his or her own interests, at least in the first instance.  The idea that a golf club should be relying on a governing body to drive its fortunes is mad.

David McIntosh

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #91 on: December 01, 2018, 09:46:53 AM »
I wonder what kind of reception this new tee booking system is going to get at the conference today as the delegates will presumably all be existing club members and this new development is clearly aimed at those who aren’t members.

Niall’s comparison to the big energy companies is very apt and I just struggle to buy that a “system that connects all that play golf in Scotland” (does it really? And even if it does, so what?) is going to be a “game-changer” or “trump card” for ailing clubs.

Sure, it will be better for clubs if people use this rather than going through outside booking sites but it is the norm rather than the exception for golf clubs to have booking systems on their own websites nowadays and the only upside, if applicable, would be that clubs currently paying a fee for this service or paying a proportion of takings to the system operators will no longer have to do so going forward. I have no idea how significant a fee is taken by the operators in these situations but the language being used by SG in terms of the expected benefits seems way over the top, particularly when the majority of the nomadic golfing population will continue to book on GolfNow for a 50p saving on the green fee!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 09:48:24 AM by David McIntosh »

Kalen Braley

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #92 on: December 01, 2018, 09:50:00 AM »
I think Adrian hits on the points that are actually causing the most disruption to golf, and everyone is driving themselves mad because its completely out of thier control.  Its the number of relatively new ways one can spend free time.  Between Internet and Apps, Online gaming, hundreds of channels on the tele, 24 hour sports coverage, etc....there are far far more distractions than there were just 30 years ago.  We had none of that when I was a kid and guess what, we spent our time actively looking for interesting things to pass the time.  Now you have to pick and choose and schedule how you will spend your free time and forgo lots you would be interested in otherwise...


P.S.  Good government should be like a good Manager...they should facilitate, be a remover of blockers, communicate well with other groups, and create an environment that benefits their people.  Its not really up to government to be creators as such, its about building a balanced framework that both provides opportunities and protections to its people.




Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #93 on: December 01, 2018, 01:00:03 PM »
The biggest issue facing golf clubs is declining membership, and that is driven largely by two factors; less people playing golf overall, and cheap green fees making the commitment of club membership a less attractive proposition.


Clubs cannot do very much about the former, but potentially can about the latter if they work together.


This is where the national and county unions can come in. Encouraging clubs in any particular area to maintain viable green fees and not to compete agressively with each other would benefit all clubs and the game as a whole.


Yet insead they are talking about cutting GolfNow out of the equation but offering the same kind of ruinous service.

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #94 on: December 01, 2018, 02:21:25 PM »
The biggest issue facing golf clubs is declining membership, and that is driven largely by two factors; less people playing golf overall, and cheap green fees making the commitment of club membership a less attractive proposition.


Clubs cannot do very much about the former, but potentially can about the latter if they work together.


This is where the national and county unions can come in. Encouraging clubs in any particular area to maintain viable green fees and not to compete agressively with each other would benefit all clubs and the game as a whole.


Yet insead they are talking about cutting GolfNow out of the equation but offering the same kind of ruinous service.
I can see some merit in a National booking system from the point of view that you don't pay teeofftimes or golfnow the 20% TAX!!! so clubs would have more/all the money but it is still the anti of 'promoting golf membership' as clubs sadly would just undercut each other. It is still providing that VILE go compare situation and mostly the visitors of those sites choose LOWEST PRICE.


A lot of people still don't GET the principle of never selling a green fee less than 1/30th of the annual membership and they GET the idea that once a tee time is lost ITS LOST SO FILL IT FOR A FIVER.


All any club really needs is a decent course, >>> good website (shop window) >>>online tee times booking system (they cost about £1000 per year)...people either pay your rate or they don't, if your not doing any business then you probably are overpriced, if your getting loads of business you might need to put your rates up, couple of tee times filled each day at £216 each time makes a lot of difference....you gotta get really zippy doing golf at £10 a round.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 02:47:29 PM by Adrian_Stiff »
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Lou_Duran

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #95 on: December 01, 2018, 02:49:25 PM »
Or is it just that the perennial sight of fat middle-aged American tourists in unpleasant trousers detracts irretrievably from any coolness the game might once have had?

 ;D


Well, at first I thought that I resemble that.  But then I realized that Duncan was alluding to a different demographic, one as much as one generation younger.  BTW, I suspect no offense was intended, and none was taken.  BTW2, to those cool youngsters, I can always change pants.  What are you going to do when you tire of your multi-colored tattoos covering a large percentage of your body?

Lou_Duran

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #96 on: December 01, 2018, 03:18:47 PM »
The simple issue in Scotland is golf is too cheap, clubs struggle to stay solvent charging £400-£700 a year membership and only a small percentage get the high end visitor golf.


Adam Smith, if he followed this DG, would be rolling in his grave.  Reminds me of the arguments for increasing the minimum wage in America.  If going from $7.25/hr to $15 is such a good thing, imagine how much better it would be if it was raised to $30.  Someone tell Golspie and Brora to double or triple their subscriptions and see what happens.


I think Niall has hit the bullseye.  Golf is in trouble in areas where not enough folks have sufficient disposable income.  Fix the economy and much of the rest will take care of itself.  As long we demand that our politicians disregard the laws of supply and demand we will have much more to worry about than the decline of our golf culture.


In the meantime, I will consult the hip websites and assemble a less objectionable wardrobe prior to future visits.  Can't do anything about my age, and no promises on my weight, but hopefully I will have enough sterling to make the crossing.

Kalen Braley

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #97 on: December 01, 2018, 03:26:22 PM »
Lou,

Not sure how to compute that last statement.

In the first paragraph, you complain about raising the minimum wage and then in the next say golf is struggling in areas where people don't have disposable income.  How is continuing to pay people crap wages supposed to help here?

P.S.  You try living on $7.25 per hour, that not even a living wage for the basics, much less golf...

Lou_Duran

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #98 on: December 01, 2018, 06:16:31 PM »
Context, Kalen.


A seller of labor just like one of golf rounds should be able to price his product at a level he deems appropriate.  Only he can determine whether it is worth his while to produce at the prevailing rates.  I can't think of a worse way of setting prices than having the government doing it (reference the worse aspects of our health care system).


It doesn't take a rocket science to understand that if an employee costs me $15/hour but delivers only $7.50 of production I can't just double my volume and break even.  Is it better for him to accept $7.25 while he looks for a $15 job, or should that choice be taken away by social justice warriors who never face those dilemmas?


If a private club's prices are too low to generate sufficient revenues to at least cover costs, in the long run, it will have to close.  As you know, there are many courses today selling for cents on the dollar, and some, even with a much more attractive cost structure can't make a go of it.


The problem, from my perspective, is not that golf prices are too low, but that there is not enough demand to support the cost structure of many clubs.   I don't think that golf has lost its interest- the tours and high level amateur golf have never done better.  Declining disposable income and financial insecurity, real or imagined, of Boomers is a big part of the problem.


Over time, the supply will decrease, and perhaps there will be enough demand to support healthier golf economics.  I happen to believe that areas which are moderate with taxes and regulations do better in creating wealth and a wider distribution of income, both which are necessary for golf to do well.


     



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Sean_A

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Re: Golf in Scotland is sinking fast
« Reply #99 on: December 01, 2018, 08:28:30 PM »
Sweet Lou

Times are already hard on folks struggling to get by.  Lets hope the likes of you never get in power to reinstitute a wage is which not even close to the poverty line.  Its December, try to have a little more heart  8) Regardless, I don't think it is a disposable income issue.  If it is, there is nothing nobody can do to solve the problem because golf membership isn't going to get any cheaper and I seriously doubt the average wage will rise anywhere quick enough to resolve the issue.  Nope, there are enough people with money to support clubs even with the current over-supply...they choose not to as in other entertainmnet alternatives are more important to them.  I disagree with you...the interest is not high enough (for the many reasons stated again and again) to support the over-supply.

I have said before...I don't think there is a crisis..its economic adjustment we are seeing after build excess.

Finally...if golf doesn't get women on board and damn soon...its all talk.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 08:46:15 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

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