UK golf clubs have seen a rapid fall in members in 2022 as the cost of a round of golf increases during a cost-of-living crisis, finds an annual survey of golf clubs published by accountants Hillier Hopkins.
The survey also sees the average golf club membership remain stubbornly male and over 50.
It also reveals that 74% of golf club membership fees are now more than £1,000 a year, and the average round of golf for members has increased from £36 to £43.50 and from £84 to £108 for non-member green fees.
Headline findings from the Hillier Hopkins Members and Proprietary Golf Clubs Survey 2022:
- 64% of golf club members are aged 50 and over, with 21% of members aged over 70.
- 76% of golf club members are men, 15% women and 9% juniors.
- Clubs report fewer members joining in 2022, falling from on average 90 new members in 2020 and 2021, to 70 in 2022.
- 23% of clubs report more members leaving than joining.
- The number of clubs with waiting lists has fallen to 52% in 2022 from 60% in 2021. The average number of people on waiting lists stands at 61.
- 74% of club membership fees are more than £1,000 a year. The number of clubs with memberships exceeding £1,600 a year has increased by 36%.
- 92% of clubs plan to increase fees in 2023.
- The average round of golf for members has increased from £36 in 2021 to £43.50 in 2022. Non-member green fees have increased from £84 to £108.
The annual survey of 82 golf clubs across the country is published today by accountants Hillier Hopkins in a report Members and Proprietary Golf Clubs Survey 2022/23 in partnership with the UK Golf Federation and the Golf Club Secretary Newsletter.
Matt Bailey, a director at accountants Hillier Hopkins, said:
Despite such a negative outlook on golf club membership heading into the 2023 season, there does continue to be positive signs that golf remains the national pastime for many people.
The number of rounds played in clubs contributing to this survey has increased slightly to 29,500 in 2022.
Golf clubs too are on a firm financial footing, with 19% of participating clubs having reserves of £1m or more.
The Hillier Hopkins survey also reports that:
- Visitor numbers have fallen from 6,300 on 2021 to 4,500 in 2022.
- 59% of clubs do not have a driving range, although 61% do have swing studios.
- 76% of clubs’ retail offering is operated by the PGA professional, although 6% do not offer any retail facilities at all.
Douglas Poole, Chief Executive Officer at the UK Golf Federation said:
Jeremy Ellwood, Editor of The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, said:
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