Stocksfield Golf Club is a small business operating in a highly competitive, rapidly changing market. Nationally, the numbers of traditional golf club members have been declining with many golfers preferring to just pay green fees, booking at very competitive rates on the internet. This situation could get worse with the ‘Independent Golfer scheme’.
In 2020 the impact on sport caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated “lockdown” periods saw a number of people who participated in team sports turn to golf as a sport they could play. The Club were able to offer short term and longer-term deals to attract new members to offset the losses caused by course closure, clubhouse closure and loss of interest from existing members unable to play golf as often as they could.
In view of the changing situation the club finds itself in, the Management Committee have done a complete review of the existing 5 year Business Plan which was based mainly on what is now a failed Land Development Project. The emphasis being to put the club on a firmer financial footing moving forward, this plan will be reviewed on a regular basis with progress on the plan communicated to members via newsletters, web site etc.
Prior to updating the plan a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis was carried out to identify what we are good at, what we can do better, as well as the things that may have a positive or negative impact on the Club. This analysis included input from the members given via a comprehensive survey carried out by England Golf.
A visitor friendly but challenging and interesting course layout with wonderful views and scenery, welcoming and friendly environment, online tee booking system with buggy availability plus a comfortable recently refurbished clubhouse with first-class catering service.
Limited funding for course development, shortage of junior and lady members, limited car parking facilities, limited number of buggies together with insufficient paths throughout the course to make usage of them safer, poor practice facilities, poor drainage on front 9 holes leading to difficult playing conditions during the winter months.
Utilise IT and social media to increase local reach, develop school liaison and family golfing events to attract more ladies, juniors and younger members, introduce flexible membership schemes to attract time limited golfers, expand corporate membership.
Ageing membership, too many clubs in the area competing for same business, work / life balance reducing financial viability of full club membership, 'Independent Golfer' scheme reducing the need for club membership.
The Club has taken a critical review of its business with the objective of making the club financially sustainable going forward. This requires us to retain and grow membership, increase the unpredictable take up of casual tee times and falling (or static) green fee income and increase the income generated from bar takings and social events. At the same time we must closely monitor all expenditure with a view to reducing (and ultimately removing) dependence on a bank overdraft.
From information gained in the 2019 survey of members we have a better understanding of members needs and will be better able to look after and retain our core loyal member base while continuing to attract new members. Along with the majority of golf clubs around the country, the club has experienced a decline in full fee paying members due to a variety of socio economic and lifestyle reasons. We will continue to develop our range of membership categories with more flexible arrangements to attract those golfers who do not see the benefits of full golf membership.
Year end Mar 2021
We look to be ending the year with an estimated small surplus of approximately £3,000. This is mainly due to the receipt of the various grants that were applied for and which have helped cover the loss of bar income and reduction in green fee income received from visitors. During the year we secured an additional 63 new members and plans and initiatives are in place to help retain the current membership with additional offers being made to attract new members.
A winter programme of planned work, although greatly affected by poor weather, is being carried out to make improvements to the golf course making it even more attractive for visitors to come and play. The Clubhouse refurbishing has continued with the installation of new doors and plans to erect a marquee attached to the Clubhouse on the veranda.
Year end Mar 2022
The moderate success achieved to date on the financial side must not change the strategy of keeping a tight hold on the finances of the Club. We need to keep the membership on board with the actions taken by the Management Committee which include the following:
Year end Mar 2023
By year end 2025
Continued sustainability based on: