Before I went to volunteer on the 28th European Senior Golf Championship (by ESGA; 19-22 August 2009.) as a LiveScore counter, I launched a forum topic on LinkedIn.com about green fee pricing policy. I received some very interesting answers from people are deeply involved either in golf course consultancy or golf course management or golf education.
The most striking comment I received from Jerry Kilby (www.kandagolf.co.uk): "Most golfers will not travel a long distance to play a 'pay and play' golf course (unless it is a very famous course), so your customers will all be local (within 20-30 minutes car drive in Western Europe)." He believes in "low-cost annual 'membership'" pricing solution.
The concept of club membership is derived from the idea that "like-minded" people want to play together. I think it is true also today, the difference is that in those days when this concept was born the number of golf courses were far more less than today. My impression is that people are looking for exciting golf courses (+countries) and not necessarily want to stick to one place. These folks share similar values and attitudes, but they enjoy the "flat world"'s advantages and fly to new places.
Thus I give my vote (similar to Roger Yates': www.rogeryatesgolfacademy.com) to Pay&Play model since it promotes golf and motivate people to get acquainted with golf. Furthermore many times you cannot predict when do you have free time to play during the year therefore the Pay&Play model is more flexible to our needs. This model is especially viable when the economic climate is not so rosy.
Finally, the 28th European Senior Golf Championship ended up with the victory of the UKSGA team. I was impressed by the game of Bob Walker and Alan MacNaught.