Secret Secretary on flexible memberships and attracting new women members

Our anonymous secretary answers NCG's questions candidly

Does a joining fee have any place in the current climate?
Absolutely. I have worked at several golf clubs and wherever I have been I have always made sure to have a joining fee.

However, I do feel that you need to make sure that members get a good return for that fee.
You have to give them a nice course and great facilities.

What is the best time of year to ask for subs?
I think the optimum time to ask for subs is in the summer when the course is at its absolute best.

What is the worst type of club member?
Members who like to think that they know everything and then comment on things that are happening at the club without knowing the full story.

How badly would a member have to behave to be thrown out the club?
It would depend entirely on the severity of their actions. We have a full disciplinary procedure and if people fall foul of that then we act as per our procedure.

What is the strangest request you have ever had from a member?
I was once asked whether I could go out and catch a snake that was on the course.

When was the last time your club had a waiting list?
I think the concept of a waiting list is vastly over-rated because any club can set their limit at whatever they like.

We have a limit which has been agreed by the members and we work to keep that number at a constant.

Can you see a time when most clubs will have a flexible membership, for example paying a smaller amount to be a member and then buying credits?
This is a very much a debated topic at the moment.

I have seen it work and I have seen it fail. It really depends on where you are and why you are doing it.

My opinion is that if you are doing it to rectify something that is already wrong then it is a desperate measure.

How much should a golf club be involved with local schools?
We are involved all the time and have three or four local schools where we teach.

Is golf, whether in terms of membership or of green fees, overpriced?
It’s all to do with supply and demand. I think there are some green fees that are very expensive but if people find them too expensive then they can choose to play somewhere else!

Has your club ever offered free coaching to attract new members?
Yes we have. It is a really good way to get people interested in the sport.

Do you do anything different to attract new women members?
This year we held a women- only taster day and it attracted 85 ladies on the day. Around 65 came back so it was very worthwhile.

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