KGC Bucks Golf Club Trend with Increase in Membership Numbers in 2016

You don't need to read many golf magazines to pick up the general message that traditional golf club membership is on the decline. Not so many years ago pretty much all clubs had waiting lists and were charging a joining fee equivalent to a year's subs. Nowadays, if you want to join, it's a rather easier process. Reasons given across the golf industry include the many other calls on people's time, the other leisure activities available, financial constraints and many others, all of which mean smaller numbers taking up the game, despite it being a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, a good few miles of exercise, a thoroughly social experience and a sporting challenge.

In the face of these ongoing hurdles, Knaresborough has bucked the trend somewhat in recent years. The sad demise of Flaxby saw several local clubs gain members in 2015, but Knaresborough has carried on gaining new members in 2016 too, through a combination of increased investment in its course, coupled with some innovative new member initiatives.

Course-wise there's unanimity that KGC's acres have never looked better or played better. New state-of-the-art machinery has meant better edge-definition of fairways, with the rough now predictable, if punishing, due to the way new rough cutters draw grass upwards. Greens too, which are all evenly paced, are as well-conditioned as any in the area. Add a newly fully refurbished irrigation system for 2016 and the future delivery of an absolute gem of a course is assured.

Symbolic of the fact that people are seeking shorter forms of the game, KGC's Wednesday 11 hole competition is one of the club's most popular, with participants able to show up at any time of day and get a game...again one of the strengths of KGC being the friendliness of its members who'll embrace a game with even the most novice of novice golfers.

Golf club membership used to be something for the older generation, with the oft-heard phrase "I'll take it up when I retire" being the ultimate excuse for not giving it a go. Knaresborough's membership profile looks like most other clubs, with an average age over 60, which is a simultaneous blessing and potential problem for the future. While fully embracing its dyed-in-the-wool members, Knaresborough is bending over backwards to bring in some younger age groups. For example, at the bottom of the age scale, the club has removed membership fees completely for under 15s, and retains reduced rates right up to the age of 40. Indeed the new 28-40 category subscription of £600 has been extremely successful in bringing in new players who it is hoped will form a core group for the future.

But what about the 45 year old "newbie" golfer, looking to take up the game or even come back to the game? What advice would we give? Well, we asked KGC's Chair of Membership, Nick Woods what he'd recommend and he said; "we're so tailored to the needs of the individual that it's hard to say you should do any one thing. If you don't have much free time, but want to be a member rather than a casual visitor, you could go for the flexible points-based membership. But to be honest, unless you really can't justify it, a full or even 6 day package is the one that gives you the best combination of full member's rights and course access when you need it. We're seeing many people who've joined on a flexible basis transition into 5, 6 or 7 day categories because frankly they soon find the time to make all those excuses to be on the Course."

Last, but not least, the Ladies section has its own initiatives in train at the present time with a series of Wednesday evening "Chip and Sip" beginners sessions with Professional Andy Turner. Described in glowing terms by the participants, Andy, described as "extremely patient" is proving that novices have nothing to fear from the game of golf.

And that's how it is across the club. Being a welcoming and all-inclusive golf club is at the heart of Knaresborough's success.

If you'd like to talk to someone about joining, please don't hesitate to call the KGC office on 01423 862690. You can be sure of a friendly welcome.


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