How Ogbourne Downs Golf Club challenged the race to the bottom, and won

James Short, General Manager at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club, talks about how the last year has been for him and the club and why golf clubs need to look beyond price if they want to deliver value for their members. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 22 Jun 2021

How Ogbourne Downs Golf Club challenged the race to the bottom, and won

Golf clubs witnessed an unprecedented boom last year with PlayMoreGolf’s data showing a 260% spike in members since July 2020. Even more impressive is the 50% of members in England who were able to enjoy a minimum of one round in the first week since restrictions lifted.

Today, however, we find ourselves in limbo with golf courses seeking to drive revenue and enjoy the resurgence we’ve seen in the game at all levels.

With many memberships due for renewal and the economy under strain from job losses and millions of workers being placed on furlough leave, retention rates of ‘traditional’ memberships have been a concern for clubs up and down the country. 

PlayMoreGolf sat down with James Short, General Manager at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club, to get his view on how the last year has been for him and the club and why golf clubs need to look beyond price if they want to deliver value for their members. 

By his own words, James is an optimist and has taken Wiltshire’s ‘hidden gem’ Ogbourne Downs Golf Club to an unheard-of high in 2021. At the time of writing, James and his team welcomed 162 PlayMoreGolf members, 101 of which are under the age of 50. 

James has witnessed a marked difference in his PlayMoreGolf members, with 45% of their golf being played midweek and after 1 pm. Brilliant for keeping his tee sheet busy at a time that would otherwise have seen the course lay dormant. 

The club in Wiltshire near the sits just a few miles from the historic market town of Marlborough and just off junction 15 on the M4. Famous for its hard bouncy fairways and fast greens in the summer it still offers a stiff test of golf especially when the wind blows.

James says that central to the success of golf clubs in the future is taking time to improve their offering, enhance customer experience and implement technology updates. Ogbourne Down and PlayMoreGolf have worked together to widen their membership offering to attract future generations of members to their club. 

PlayMoreGolf has already helped hundreds of golf courses to implement an online tee sheet and they can also work alongside your club to attract new members with the flexible offerings.

With annual memberships renewing in these three months, all golf clubs should be considering how they can add value for their members – improvements to the course and practice facilities will underscore the importance of greater maintenance. Value doesn’t always mean spending the fewest pounds, it can also mean having the best experience. 

Find out more about introducing a flexible golf membership at your club by emailing sales@playmore.golf or visiting playmore.golf/club-partner and our team of experts can arrange a no obligation membership health check.