Considering the millions of people watching the Ryder Cup or Augusta Masters matches on television, or the fact that a half million people applied to attend the recent British Open live in St Andrews, no one would say . tickets available).
But the golf world is in crisis, and not only on a sporting level, because of controversy over the presence of a rival league sponsored by the Saudis, but also financially: the number of amateur players and members who pay the respective fees. As belonging to the club has been falling for two decades, there is no sign on the horizon that it will rebound.
The 1990s saw a boom in golf fans, fueled by the popularity of Tiger Woods (before his marital infidelity, car accidents, injuries, and under-par performance). But the game has been going downhill since then, with short hiatus of the pandemic, when people didn’t go to the office, they had more time and they appreciated the possibility of playing the game outside, in a safe environment. Of the 882,000 club members in 2004, only 647,000 remain, most of whom are retired white men of a certain age.
Many public clubs have closed due to the austerity policy of the British government.
Efforts to attract youth and women have not been very fruitful. The former believe that it takes too long to make eighteen holes (plus travel), and they prefer more “fast” play (and also find that doing so Bird oh one Eagle In fact it’s a lot more difficult than the video games they’re used to). And later it turns out that the atmosphere is quite sexist (there are still “men only” clubs that deny them access).
It also doesn’t help that the facilities have often become obsolete due to members’ resistance to change, the difficulty of agreeing to spend money (they are often managed by committees) and the tendency to put complex decisions on hold. Instead of arguing about changing rooms or changing bars, they prefer to discuss whether you can enter the restaurant in jeans and sneakers.
The decline in membership of British golf clubs over the past two decades
Investment funds, therefore, plan like vultures in golf clubs that are in trouble because of a lack of fee-paying members, and to either completely renovate them and give them a more “family” air, or , in other cases, buy to shed tears. Down them and, where there were eighteen holes, build a hotel or apartment.
In addition to all this, many public clubs, owned by local councils, have closed in the last fifteen years due to the austerity policies of the British Conservative governments, which have drastically cut the funding of municipal authorities. And these, faced with the dilemma of reducing aid to poor families, delaying garbage collection or closing a library or sports facility, choose the latter as the lesser evil.
An additional problem is the change in work habits and the increasing demand for workers, who feel stronger as a result of the pandemic. Lack of manpower also affects golf, and gardeners are accused of keeping the golf course green and spotless. greens They demand better pay and more decent conditions, or they go elsewhere with music, which is what is happening.
Some clubs go to the luxury market and ask members 120,000 euros as registration.
Some institutions have chosen to target the luxury market, such as the Wentworth Club, acquired for €150 million by a Chinese investment company, which required all existing members to re-register after paying €120,000 for the privilege. forced to Fifty years, plus an individual annual fee of 12,000 Euros, or 20,000 for the whole family. Quantities that are not available to everyone. Something similar is done by the Stoke Park Club (scene for a famous scene between James Bond and Goldfinger in the movie 007), which is acquired by an Indian tycoon.
The crisis also does not escape the Donald Trump-owned club in Scotland, which has yet to earn a penny in a decade.