|THE number of rounds played on municipal courses has dropped by virtually 50 per cent in the last I1 years. The main reason has been the boom in proprietary course construction through the 1990s. says the latest report by the Golf Research Group.Back in 1990, 65,000 rounds were played on municipal courses – but last year that figure had dropped to 35,490.But that period also coincided with a massive increase in golf course|
construction in the UK, particularly in the proprietary market.Stephen Blake from the GRG explained: The underlying point is that ten Years ago municipal courses almost had the beginners’ market to themselves.”Nowadays they are finding that the new proprietary courses which have come along – about 600 have been built in the last ten years – are taking the new entrance trade away from them.
“Most of them have come in at the beginner level of the market. So when a new player comes along, instead of being forced to play a municipal course or nothing at all, he can now choose between a municipal course or a proprietary one.”And generally, the proprietary courses are a little bit more price-aware. If there is a municipal course near them they are very likely to undercut it on price.
“But the municipal courses tend to put their prices up by the same amount every year, and they are not necessarily that aware of what’s going on around them.”The green fee at the average UK municipal now stands at £10.59 compared to £18.21 at proprietary courses.