Letter of the month

Inside Golf - - In The Mailbox -

Last month’s Page 5 col­umn (The mem­ber­ship model is (nearly) dead) elicited a mas­sive re­sponse from read­ers. From so­cial golfers, to club golfers to GMs and pro­fes­sion­als, our in­box and web­site were over­flow­ing with your let­ters — nearly all of you in agree­ment that the tra­di­tional mem­ber­ship model is out­dated and in need of change. Here are some of your com­ments: YOUR thoughts on re­stricted mem­ber­ship are in­ter­est­ing and should be dis­cussed by club boards. How­ever, for re­stricted mem­ber­ships to work eq­ui­tably there need to be changes at the ad­min­is­tra­tion level of our game.

The prob­lem I have with re­stricted mem­ber­ship is that there are peo­ple who take ad­van­tage. They pay re­duced fees for 5-day (Mon to Fri) mem­ber­ship at one club and then play in club com­pe­ti­tions as a visi­tor at neigh­bour­ing clubs on the week­end.

This can be ad­dressed if the Golf Link Soft­ware is changed so re­stricted mem­ber­ship means ex­actly that. If a per­son is a 5-day mem­ber of a club then Golf Link should re­ject their hand­i­cap en­quiry to play any­where on a week­end.

Ju­nior mem­ber­ship should be kept to a min­i­mum of af­fil­i­a­tion fees only. We need to en­cour­age to­day’s youth to play a game that is not only fun, but pro­vides spe­cial qual­i­ties that can have a pow­er­ful and last­ing Have you got some­thing to say? Then tell us! Write to us via email at ed@in­sid­e­golf.com.au or mail a letter to: The Edi­tor, In­side Golf, PO Box

360 Nu­nawad­ing, Vic 3131. Tell an in­ter­est­ing story or some­thing funny about golf and you could WIN a Smoothy Com­pact buggy val­ued at RRP$230! WHEN dis­cussing op­tions of join­ing a golf club, the join­ing fee is al­ways an is­sue. In Syd­ney, the join­ing fee is of­ten dou­ble the an­nual fee, or more. Just on this ba­sis, the cur­rent mem­ber­ship model is dead. It is dif­fi­cult to jus­tify such large join­ing fees un­less you can com­mit to be­ing a mem­ber of the club for 5 or 10 years. How­ever, how can you pre­dict where you will be in 10 years? These days the av­er­age time staying at a res­i­dence is 7 years, your job and area may change.

More flex­i­bil­ity and more op­tions are now re­quired for golf mem­ber­ship. Rod­ney For­rester, via our web­site WHY aren’t all golf clubs re­cip­ro­cal with each other, es­pe­cially for competition? This could be an added in­cen­tive for play­ers to join a golf club. I re­alise that there are ar­gu­ments against this pro­posal but there are so­lu­tions to is­sues such as small clubs bat­tling to main­tain fields, vari­a­tions im­pact on young peo­ple’s self-im­age, per­sonal de­vel­op­ment and con­fi­dence.

Also, I think the rules of ama­teur sta­tus need re­vis­ing. Any­one win­ning a club voucher in any golf competition should be able to use these vouch­ers at mem­ber­ship re­newal time to pay all or part of the an­nual sub­scrip­tion.

I agree that the re­cip­ro­cal club ar­range­ment should be en­cour­aged. Clubs should have re­cip­ro­cal rights for their mem­bers at as many clubs as pos­si­ble through­out Aus­tralia. It is only a mat­ter of clubs writ­ing to one an­other and mak­ing the ar­range­ments.

The sug­ges­tions of re­stricted mem­ber­ship / fam­ily mem­ber­ship / mem­ber­ship cred­its / ex­pand­ing re­cip­ro­cal rights are all com­mend­able but it won’t work un­less we stop the “smar­ties” from tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sys­tem. Dave Parkin­son, via email in the sta­tus of clubs and main­tain­ing ac­cess for mem­bers of pop­u­lar clubs to com­pe­ti­tions in their own club.

The broad­en­ing of re­cip­ro­cal rights is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for golfers who travel reg­u­larly. With the av­er­age age of golfers in­creas­ing, and es­pe­cially so for re­tirees, it is im­por­tant that they be en­cour­aged to main­tain club mem­ber­ship. Brian, via our web­site YOU are so right about clubs stuck in the mud. Been a mem­ber of clubs all my life. I am a 5-day mem­ber (should be called a 1-day mem­ber be­tween cor­po­rate days and ‘this day’ and ‘that day’). The only point of a mem­ber­ship is be­ing able to play more than once a week. There are many great pub­lic ac­cess cour­ses out there now, we’re spoiled for choice. So from now on I will just pay as I go and I’m sure I will be well in front. Mark, via our web­site I RE­CENTLY changed clubs in Can­berra. It was not about the cost of the mem­ber­ship, it was more about how the club treated its cur­rent mem­bers. My new club is very friendly, has cold beer and, most im­por­tantly to me, is open to sug­ges­tions on how to im­prove the club and get more peo­ple in­volved.

For ex­am­ple: a guy on sec­ond­ment from Vic­to­ria wanted to join a club here in Can­berra for a three month pe­riod. As he was a keen golfer, he wanted to play at least ev­ery Satur­day in the competition. He re­searched the dif­fer­ent clubs try­ing to get a good deal and a three month mem­ber­ship. As you said in your ar­ti­cle, “clubs are stodgy and ar­chaic” in their ap­proach.

I con­tacted my club man­ager and ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion. The man­ager said it was an in­ter­est­ing as­pect of mem­ber­ship which they had never be­fore ad­dressed. To cut a long story short, the guy from Vic­to­ria got his three month mem­ber­ship, at a good price and, is very pleased with the treat­ment he re­ceived.

I think this is the type of “for­ward and pro­gres­sive” think­ing you are al­lud­ing to in your ar­ti­cle. Is the mem­ber­ship model of yes­ter­year dead? Not yet. But un­less clubs can think out­side the box and adapt to dif­fer­ing re­quire­ments then, death is not too far away for some clubs. Wazza Gray, via email IT is time that ALL Clubs look into the fu­ture at affordable mem­ber­ships that will in­crease num­bers within your club. It is far bet­ter to have more peo­ple on the course and within the club­house than to have none.

I l ive in the SE Qld, and I have the op­por­tu­nity of play­ing on many cour­ses within a 200km ra­dius, but what these clubs are ask­ing to pay is over my bud­get.

Sug­ges­tion: If I am a cur­rent mem­ber of a club, then would it not be in the best in­ter­est of other clubs to of­fer to me a game at mem­bers guests rates?

I usu­ally play in a group of 2 or 4, so that would mean that the club would gain around $60 for course play ,plus bug­gies, along with tak­ings in the club­house – bar / food etc.

Also there are many “Grey No­mads” who are on the road for many months at a time —wouldn’t it be nice to of­fer them games at mem­bers guest prices? Whilst these peo­ple may be fi­nan­cially bet­ter than most, they are still watch­ing their bud­get whilst on the road.

The more play­ers we can get onto the golf cour­ses, the bet­ter off golf clubs will be. Karen, via our web­site

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