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How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

In a new series looking at The Price of Club Golf, managers and industry experts reveal how much of the money you pay goes towards running the club

 

How much are your member subs actually worth? It might surprise you to learn your fees may only provide around half the revenue your golf club needs to keep running every year.  

In a new series called The Price of Club Golf, we asked a number of managers – representing all strands of the industry – what it cost to run their clubs, how the money was allocated, and a minute breakdown of their expenditure. 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll get stuck into VAT costs, depreciation, staff wages and course expenditure, but first, we asked how much your member subs, be they full, 5-day, or flexible, put into the club coffers each year. 

And though our clubs represent both proprietary, and private members’, high-end and average, the answer was remarkably consistent – coming in at between 50 and 60 per cent. 

Just as important to the overall prosperity of clubs is cash from visitor green fees and societies, along with food and beverage, and functions.

member subs

How much do member subs contribute to a club?

Kerry Alligan-Smith, the general manager at Redditch in Warwickshire, said: “50 to 60 per cent of income is from subscriptions at Redditch and I would imagine that is pretty consistent across a number of clubs.”

That’s also the case at prestigious private members’ Denham, in Buckinghamshire, which is led by GM Richard Penley-Martin.  

“We budget on raising £2.3 million and golf club subscriptions contribute £1.3 million – so just over half,” he explained. 

“That £1.3 million is what it costs us to open the doors. We actually went through this exercise quite a few times during Covid because we supported our staff 100 per cent through that time. 

“We worked out what it took to prepare the golf course and have the clubhouse open – before we sold a pint of beer, took a casual round of golf – was what the subs were.  

“So if we were to repeat the exercise now, it would be about £1.3 million just to open the doors before we did anything to have the place staffed and the way the members want it staffed.”

Even at top dollar proprietary club Foxhills, whose three courses and extensive leisure and restaurant facilities can boast some 5,000 members and an annual membership revenue of close to £11 million, “golf represents maybe slightly more than 50 per cent,” said membership manager Marcus Weatherburn. 

Listen to The NCG Golf Podcast

Tom Irwin and Steve Carroll get stuck into this debate, along with joining fees, in a special episode. Click the banners in this article to catch up with the pod or, to listen to this specific episode, click here.

  • This piece also appears in the GCMA’s monthly Insights newsletter that is packed with expert opinion on matters relating to golf club management. Visit here to sign up.

Now have your say

Did these numbers surprise you? Did you think your member subs would contribute more, or less, to the running of your club? Let me know with a comment on X.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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