A nationwide survey of golf courses has revealed that although the game is not as dominated by private members’ clubs as previously thought, the membership of these clubs is overwhelmingly male adults.
A telephone survey of every golf course in the UK by the Golf Research Group has revealed that 34% of the nation’s 2,407 courses are proprietary.
Looking at the golf members, only 14.7% were women compared with 22% in Continental Europe. Junior UK members account for a further tiny 7.4% of the membership.
Other findings show that:
Midweek 18 hole green fees average £17.84
Average subs at private courses work out at £348 and £390 at proprietary facilities.
The average course has 529 members, which projects to 1.17 million golf members in the UK.
On top of this there are almost two milion pay-and-play golfers who are not members of a club.
Average turnover of newly built clubs is rising by a healthy 31% to £776,000.
Sales of golf properties were at record levels last year, with 42 courses sold.
Total spent on these purchases was around £80 million making the average price of a course £1.9 million.
A director of Golf Research Group, said this type of money being put into golf is a major sign of investor confidence in the industry.
But he added: “on a bluer note it should be remembered that these new courses are going for 40p in the pound on their original development cost. Projecting this up, of the £2.5 billion spent on golf development in the 1990’s, 60% is likely to end up being lost.
“We are also seeing the emergence of golf chains. Will this be the McDonaldisation of UK golf? Probably not. While it is inevitable that chains will grow in the coming decade, today they account for just 2% of UK courses and in the US where chains have been developing for 20 years they account for just 5%. Growing golf chains is a slow business. One thing is for sure – the chains will be great for golf as they will set new standards in product quality.”