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November 2018

Final Thoughts with Colin Mayes

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Colin Mayes
Burhill Group Limited
Burhill Golf Club
Walton-on-Thames in Surrey,
United Kingdom

What is the golf industry’s biggest hurdle right now and how should it be addressed in your opinion?
Our biggest hurdle in the UK is to stop the decline in participation in the game of golf and in annual memberships at golf clubs. Because the Burhill Group have a very clear focus on this area we are managing to maintain our membership numbers along with a number of other clubs, but this is very hard work and requires continual investment in both the product offering and the people employed within the clubs. The UK trend is quite positive for clubs that are investing and providing facilities that the new breed of golfers requires. Clubs must be friendly, offer clean and tidy facilities with well-trained and knowledgeable staff who want to help and are prepared to actively engage with members and visitors alike. Golf is not rocket science; people will always go to quality facilities that offer value for money for the price point they are prepared to pay. Knowing and understanding who your target customers are is a very important part of this issue and ensuring your efforts are targeted at what they want.

What steps are you taking to engage the next generation of golfers?
We focus a great deal of attention in making sure that we have regular junior activity programs throughout all school holidays and at weekends so we can encourage youngsters to roll up and participate at almost any level. We also try and ensure young females are accommodated with separate lessons for them and then we encourage them also to join in mixed groups. Ladies are another focus and in the UK we have plenty of opportunity to do more for this category of potential new golfers. The percentage of female players in the UK is far lower that the rest of Europe and, therefore, presents an opportunity for us. Running programs for seniors is also something we plan to put more effort into, particularly emphasizing the health and social benefits of taking up the wonderful game of golf.

What is the most unique thing about your course in the UK? 
There really is not one major item that makes our courses unique. As a multi-course owner we operate three private members clubs with Burhill Golf Club, Walton on Thames, Surrey being our most prestigious. It is a British Open Qualifying Golf Course; the other two are both located in Hertfordshire Redbourn GC and Aldwickbury GC. The other seven are all pay and play clubs offering a membership model as well, which is very popular with our customer base. They all feature extensive practice facilities including driving ranges and short course facilities either being nine or 18 holes and two also feature health and fitness facilities as well as extensive food, beverage and banqueting/function areas.

 

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