Would you share your golf club membership with others?

By: November 24, 2013

One of the most frequently recurring issues regarding golf club membership is membership rates. Smarter golf clubs recognize that "old school" golf club membership model is not able to bring sufficient revenue and profit.

I think to offer flexible golf club membship options is close to the real world and market demand. What I have not seen so far is how golf clubs or golfers would utilize collaborative consumption, peer-to-peer marketplaces, the sharing economy — it's been called a few names by now.

Renting vs. Borrowing

I assume in the current economic climate many of us are looking for thrifty solutions to avoid giving up playing golf. Regarding golf equipment may be it is not so complicated, but what about golf club memberships?

Sharing economy

I consider reciprocal arrangements (e.g. The Smart GolferThe Golf Club Network) between golf clubs as half solution.

In a survey of Campbell Mithun, 5 benefits of social sharing were highlighted:

  1. "Save me money"
  2. Is good for the environment
  3. Provides me flexibility
  4. Practical
  5. Trial

When I am talking about social sharing of golf club memberships, I thinking about situations when:

  • suddenly moving to a new country and want to join a local golf club, but you don't want to waste your existing golf club membership;
  • you would share your golf club membership with someone on agreed terms while you are not at home;
  • you are on holiday somewhere and would like to enjoy a specific golf club membership benefit etc.

Althought this sounds interesting, but there are of course some drawbacks as well (e.g. trust factor). Surprisingly when people talking about sharing economy they are less concerned about quality and value.

Some analyst say that "sharing" and "rental" economies will generate $3.5 billion in revenue in 2013, and grow to as big as $110 billion over the next few years.

Whether collaborative consumption is truly a shift in consumer behaviour or just a hype, at very least it has shifted the mindsets of a small subset of our population. 

Social sharing can give new meaning to golf club membership as well.