5 Pros and Cons (or myths) of Flexible Membership 

golf club membership manager holding up pros and cons signs
By Brad Chard - 04/06/24

Finding the balance with points-based membership categories 

Within the overall lifetime of golf membership, flexible points-based memberships are relatively new following the development of technology to golf club management.   

That is not to say points-based memberships weren’t in operation prior. There were examples of paper or spreadsheet-based versions in operation. These worked with manual recordings of member rounds and account balances.   

Why PlayMoreGolf started 

Back in 2016 when as a business we launched PlayMoreGolf, we encountered several pioneers of points-based membership schemes who relied on excel spreadsheets to keep track of member accounts. The time and accuracy of account management was both a lengthy and not always fool proof process.   

As more solutions have come to the market, more golf clubs have introduced Flexible memberships to their suite of offering to golfers.   

Benefits and disadvantages of Flexible Memberships 

Here we highlight the 5 most common benefits and disadvantages Flexible memberships offer to golf club management. Plus, some of the ways of overcoming these challenges. 

Flexible Memberships open a new channel of membership to golfers who have previously been members of golf club. For several reasons they have chosen to rescind their membership. Or, to new golfers who have started their journey into more frequent play but have not previously been a full member. 

Depending on the type of club, be it a Private Member Club or Proprietary Club, the decision as to whether a Flexible Membership category is the right thing to introduce will be down to several key factors.  

Flexible memberships are being offered by clubs in the minority, with more clubs not offering such a category. it is fair to say that many decision makers have weighed up the pros and cons and decided it is not appropriate for them.  

Why a points-membership might not be right for your golf club 

Here are the most common reasons we encounter when discussing with clubs why it is not always for them. 
Perception – One of the greatest barriers is how committees or a club’s members would view the introduction of such a category. Often, committees are concerned that operating such a scheme is seen as dumbing down the membership offering at a club and an indication that the standards are being lowered.    

Flexible membership adds value to your club

Critics would say Flexible membership is a vehicle for cheap golf that reputationally lowers the perceived reputation of the club. However, when analysing further the way such membership schemes operate, the reality is quite the opposite.  

Every committee, decision maker, golf manager wants to operate their club in such a way that they can increase the revenue and contribution earned throughout the course of their financial year. This will mean that annual membership subscriptions can be at best maintained or increased by as little as possible to retain their membership numbers the following year – and keep their playing partners and customers happy.  

The gold standard is of course to produce sufficient a surplus to be able to reinvest into capital projects to improve the course and clubhouse.  

Budgeting at your golf club 

Around October time every year, financial budgeting starts for the following year. Decisions around pricing for the following year based on the cost of operating and maintaining the course(s) must be made.  

With cost inflation felt across every aspect of golf course operation recently. The reality is that either price increases or utilising cash surpluses are required to keep price inflation to a minimum. Thus, ensuring membership renewals and new memberships are maximised for the following year.  

Golf course utilisation 

Studying the course utilisation and identifying areas within the tee sheet that are underutilised is a valuable exercise. These quieter times can help generate your club additional revenue to help alleviate price inflation. 

In most instances, a decision will have been made many years ago to offer pay and play golf. Often, there will be restrictions on the times visitors can play. In some cases, how often a person can accompany a member as a guest via a guest member rate. Also, clubs will have taken the step of recognising the difference between a full seven-day member and a 5-day member offering.   
A flexible membership is a continuation of this journey. It’s now permissible to golf clubs based upon technology being able to control when a golfer plays at a club and deducting the appropriate levy based on when they play.  

Is it cheap golf and does it devalue the benefit of a full membership? 

Here we’ve identified some top pros and cons (or myths) about flexible memberships. 


  1. Creates a pathway for golfers from either first introduction or reintroduction before progression to higher categories. 
  1. Will help drive revenue to quieter / unutilised times within a tee sheet 
  1. Produces the highest per round financial contribution to a club 
  1. Supports retention by providing the golfer with more choice. 
  1. Helps with retaining full members who might be looking to leave. 

Cons / Myths 

  1. It can be perceived as cheap golf – when really, it’s not  
  1. Some people think it’s a discounted green fee with annual fee 
  1. It’s not it a second-class membership. PlayMoreGolf are not a points-based club 
  1. If not structed correctly it could cannibalise your senior section 
  1. It devalues the club – really, it adds value and more playing opportunities 

If your golf club wants to discuss how we can help with your course utilisation and increase your revenue, get in contact here.