Golf Clubs in financial crisis isn’t just a US phenomenon. Declining membership and the recession have also hit golf in its homeland:
In the past, the majority of clubs in the Lothians, which has more golf courses than anywhere else in Scotland, had long waiting lists and talk of financial troubles was as rare as a sighting of Tiger Woods since his world was turned upside down.
But, as the sport continues to suffer from the recession – in Scotland alone membership levels are down 2.6 per cent in the men’s game and 4.6 per cent in the women’s game – even some of the more established clubs in the Capital and surrounding areas are feeling the pinch.
They have been forced to put up huge banners in prominent positions on clubhouses to advertise memberships, have held Open Days to let potential members see what’s on offer and, in some cases, have even scrapped their joining fee.
Desperate times have called for desperate measures and one club has even dispensed with both its professional and secretary in a bid to cut costs.
But Scots aren’t giving up their golf altogether. Play at municipal courses is up.
That mirrors my own experience. Several years ago, I decided that I couldn’t play enough golf to justify my private club membership and quit the club. Now, I play on the dozens of public and municipal courses in Southeastern Michigan, and am enjoying the variety. In the meantime, my former Club has gone bankrupt and been bought out.