5 missed opportunities for your golf club not having a Flexible Membership category 

Flexible membership golfers sitting around a table
By Brad Chard - 16/04/24

Should golf clubs have a Flexible or Points-based membership category?   

This is a question golf clubs have asked themselves for a few years now. At PlayMoreGolf, we know the benefits of golf clubs having a flexible membership:  

  • It aids growth 
  • Helps fill quieter times on the tee sheet 
  • Improves retention at renewal for those golfers that may have left the club completely.  

We estimate in England alone, only 18% of golf clubs offer a flexible membership category. That is very low to service the changing needs of the golf industry. PlayMoreGolf currently has 12,000 golfers using our platform. Furthermore, there are more flexible golf members out there IF golf clubs offered a different membership that fits with their lifestyle. 

However, should we be asking different questions; Is not having a flexible golf membership a lost opportunity? Will it have several implications for both the golf club and its members? 

How will offering a Flexible Membership category impact your golf club? 

First and foremost, it limits your offering. Without a flexible membership option, the club may struggle to attract individuals who are unable to commit to traditional annual memberships. This could result in a smaller membership base and reduced revenue for the club. 

1) Decreased member satisfaction 

Members unable to find a membership option suiting their needs may become dissatisfied with the club. This could lead to decreased retention rates and negative word-of-mouth, impacting on the club’s reputation. 

2) Lost revenue opportunities 

A flexible membership option can provide additional revenue streams for the club. Without these options, the club may miss potential revenue from individuals who are interested in membership but due to their lack of time, it is not feasible. Offering them this membership suits their lifestyle and they feel they get value for money. 

3) Limited access to facilities 

Flexible members should not be able to access the entire array of benefits a full member has. This should include limited access to the club’s competitions, discounts in the pro shop or bar, and the booking window should be shorter. If a flexible member wants everything, they will need to consider upgrading. That is only possible if they are on a flexible membership in the first place. 

4) Difficulty attracting new golf members 

In today’s fast-paced world, many individuals value flexibility and convenience. Clubs that do not offer flexible membership options may struggle to attract new members who prioritize these factors. Thus, resulting in losing out on full members in the long term and revenue in the short. 

5) Traditional golf memberships are on the decline 

Covid has had a positive effect on the golf industry, with golf clubs having waiting lists and increased tee time utilisation they may never have experienced before. However, is that bubble bursting? Over time, the lack of flexibility in membership options could lead to a decline in membership numbers as existing members leave because there is not a viable alternative. This could have long-term implications for the financial sustainability of the club. 

The golf industry is changing 

Are golf clubs struggling to adapt to changing market conditions? Demographic trends and lifestyle preferences are constantly evolving, and so should the golf club’s strategy. Clubs that fail to offer flexible membership options may find it challenging to adapt to these changes and remain relevant in the marketplace.  

When the golf course down the road is thriving and yours is struggling, ask yourself, what are they offering that you are not. 

Overall, not having a flexible golf membership can limit the club’s ability to attract and retain members, generate revenue, and adapt to changing market dynamics. It is important for golf clubs to consider offering a range of membership options to accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of their members.