What is the real cost of losing members?

In 2017 the English Golf Union surveyed all the golf clubs in England, in an effort to help clubs adapt to the changing landscape. 

Most golfers play fewer than 10 times a year, and 44% of them account for just 6% of the rounds played annually.

The average age of a member has risen in the last 10 years from 47 to 62 so in the near future a very large proportion of elderly members will leave clubs, and who will replace them?

  • The average golf club membership attrition rate is around 30%, and acquiring a new customer is about 20 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

  • For every 100 members paying $800 (with a 30% attrition rate) you are losing $24,000 every year. Add in the cost in time and money of attracting new members and it very quickly becomes a much bigger figure.

  • With a 10% improvement in your retention rate for every 100 members paying $800 you have $8,000 more every year to spend on facilities. Add in the cost in time and money of attracting new members and it very quickly becomes an even brighter picture.





‘‘Flexible membership is the main thing. A few years ago, we had four categories and now we have eight. our flexible memberships are convenient for people, and helpful if cash flow is tight”.


 “Now members and visitors can book online, players are visiting more often, and the club has seen a sizeable increase in green fees, memberships and bar sales”.


“Having members and visitors often unable to reach someone at the club meant we were off to a bad start with the customers experience. By introducing a facility where they can book online and are given the location, dress code and other key information the customer experience has been much improved.


“Members who were contacted regularly particularly at the start of their membership played more often and stayed longer than those who were not contacted”.


“You can’t always stop people leaving the club. But you can take steps to understand more about what’s going on”.

“We learnt to our horror when we did the sums it cost 15 times more to gain a new member than it did to hold on to an existing one. A year later we were thrilled to discover our retention had improved by nearly 12%.