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Golf clubs have seen a fall in membership numbers in 2022, while the average round for a non-member has also increased in price, a new survey has shown.

The Hillier Hopkins Members and Proprietary Golf Clubs Survey 2022, which surveyed 82 golf clubs across the UK, found that clubs reported fewer new members in 2022 than 2021, with an average of 70 in 2022, compared to 90 in 2020 and 2021.

The survey also showed that non-member green fees have increased on average from £84 to £108.

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It also revealed that 64% of golf club members are aged over 50, with 21% of members aged over 70. The vast majority of them, 76%, are men, with 15% women and 9% juniors.

23% of clubs have reported that more members have left than have joined, while 92% of clubs plan to increase fees in 2023. 74% of club membership fees from those surveyed are more than £1,000 a year. The number of clubs with memberships exceeding £1,600 a year has increased by 36%.

Matt Bailey, a director at accountants Hillier Hopkins, said:

“Golf clubs and their members are not immune to the tightening economic picture, with new memberships falling and with clubs reporting more members leaving than joining. Social memberships are also falling, with just 17% of clubs in our survey having 100 or more social members.

“It comes at a time when costs are rising. The average wage spend of clubs has increased from £154,000 in 2021 to £198,000 in 2022. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that 92% of clubs say they plan on increasing membership fees in 2023 alongside the cost of a round of golf.”

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However, there are some positive signs for golf clubs. The number of rounds played in clubs contributing to the survey has increased slightly to 29,500 in 2022. Clubs too are on a firm financial footing, with 19% of participating clubs having reserves of £1m or more.

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Lewis Fraser As bunkered’s Performance Editor, Lewis oversees the content that’s designed to make you a better player. From the latest gear to tuition, nutrition, strategy and more, he’s the man. A graduate of the University of Stirling, Lewis joined bunkered in 2021. Formerly a caddie at Castle Stuart Golf Links, he is a member of Bathgate Golf Club where he plays off four.

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