A Scottish golf club is bucking the nationwide trend of declining memberships by almost doubling its own in the space of just four years.
Back in 2013, Leven Thistle Golf Club in Fife had just 280 members but fast-forward to 2016 and there were 465, with an additional 28 signed up so far in 2017.
As a result, it’s given the club a huge reason to celebrate its 150-year anniversary and captain Alan Lee has explained how, through social media and an effective pricing strategy, there has been such a quick turn-around in fortunes.
“We were in quite a bad place five years ago and we had to do something about it,” he admitted to bunkered.co.uk. “We allowed ourselves to be hidden away. We were a good club, with a great links and enjoyed quality all-round golf but we didn’t promote the club and let the golfing world know.
“We had a bit of a shake-up and got some younger people onto the committee and that, in a way, energised us. From there, we’ve encouraged them to post about the club on Facebook and also started using our own Facebook page better as well and the popularity has built and built – it’s really snowballed.”
In response to the growing popularity, the membership cap has been raised from 500 to 580 members and, in what may come as surprise to a lot of people, Leven Thistle boasts double the amount of members under 25 as it does seniors (65+), highlighting that the long-term future of the club is in a very good state.
A significant factor in that is the club's affordable membership pricing structure - £250 for 21-25-year-olds, £200 for 19-20-year-olds and £50 for 16-18-year-olds - and also competitive annual matches against St Andrews and Carnoustie in the Lindsey Shield.
Bar turnover has also increased 25% year-on-year due to the club diversifying its revenue streams by better promoting its 110-seater function hall for parties, weddings, funerals and club nights.
"The addition of Ian & Louise Murray stewarding the bar has made it a great place to enjoy a drink with fellow golfers, family and friends, while on the catering side of things, Denise Boath and her team have quickly established themselves as one of, if not the best, dining experiences in Leven," added Lee.
"What's fantastic though, and our numbers show it, is that what we’re offering is keeping people happy and long may that continue."