Though the option to accept public play is always available, clubs in the Sacramento, Calif. area are getting creative and aggressive to keep membership numbers up.
Private golf clubs in the Sacramento, Calif., area are experimenting with different programs to handle the problem of declining membership, the Sacramento Bee reports.
While some started accepting public play, others have opted to discount initiation fees and monthly dues or implement trial memberships, marketing and reciprocal programs.
“Membership at private clubs is down an average of 10 to 15 percent since 2008,” said Bruce Bennetts, President of the California chapter of the Club Managers Association of America and General Manager of The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the Bee reports.
Valley Hi Country Club in Elk Grove, Calif. put in place an “introductory golf privileges” program for $295 a month and a refundable deposit of $1,250, where a prospective member gets full privileges for a year. Members pay $410 and have a $200 quarterly food-and-beverage minimum.
Other clubs like Yolo Fliers Club in Woodland, Calif. and Sierra View Golf Course in Roseville have tried similar programs with a more than 70 percent retention rate, the Bee reports.
Valley Hi has 340 members and would like to be at 390. Yolo Fliers has 350 members, which is the club’s break-even number, after General Manager Bob Meyer decided to advertise for the club.
“I didn’t place an ad until the last three years,” Meyer said. “It’s not like the 1990s when everybody was sold out. I’m worried that people in Woodland don’t know that we’re here, or that they have an option.”
All three clubs are targeting young professionals with rate reductions of up to 50 percent for members under the age of 30, the Bee reports.
Sierra View GC’s General Manager, Steve Reynolds, said his club is four junior members short of its 430-member cap, though the club did not offer a distinction between a single and family membership until two years ago. A single member pays less than $70 a month in dues.
Granite Bay (Calif.) Golf Club, a ClubCorp property, dropped its initiation fee by $12,000 to $48,000, a change that General Manager Mitch Kessler said has resulted in an additional 20 golf memberships in the past year.