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Survey shows golf clubs profitable, but player numbers a concern

Survey shows golf clubs profitable, but player numbers a concern
July 18, 2016

A newly released survey shows that total golf club revenue increased during 2015, with almost two-thirds of clubs reporting a surplus during the year.

According to the sixth annual Sydney Metropolitan Golf Survey published by accountants HLB Mann Judd, 62 % of clubs reported a surplus in 2015, up from 46 % in 2014.

However, golf clubs continue to face the challenge of a decline in the number of playing members (down by 1.8 % in 2015 and 1.1 % in 2014).

Simon James, author of the report and partner at HLB Mann Judd Sydney sees this as  a worrying trend explaining “while it is a positive sign that clubs are continuing to maintain and even increase revenue, despite the fall in membership numbers, declining player numbers suggests problems in the future.

“Generally speaking, golf clubs that have a membership base of more than 1000 playing members are more likely to report a profit, compared to those that have a lower number or proportion of playing members.”

In 2015, total club revenue increased marginally by 0.4 %, while revenue received per playing member increased by just 1.75 %, compared to 4.5 % in 2014.

The survey shows the main sources of revenue for golf clubs to be annual membership subscriptions (contributing 46 % of revenue) and bar and catering sales (24 %).

However, in the 2015 year, members spent on average $434 behind the bar which is down by 4.2 % on the previous year.

James stated “it appears that members are keen to play a round of golf with their friends or colleagues, but increasingly prefer to head straight home afterwards rather than staying on for drink.

“If this trend continues, the relative price of a round of golf will need to increase above the inflation rate to maintain profitability.”

The survey also highlighted different approaches to one of the most significant source of revenue for clubs – joining fees.

James added “revenue from joining fees continues to segregate clubs, with some experiencing increased revenue inflows from such fees, while others continue to waive joining fees or offer reduced fees in an effort to boost their membership base.”

One of the major costs for golf clubs is salaries and wages, and this increased by 1.36 % in 2015, in line with the previous year (1.2 %).

While the majority of wage allocation goes to grounds-keeping staff, 2015 saw an increase in the proportion going to pro shop wages. Here James explains "Pro shop wages increased by 9.29 % in 2015, and now makes up 9 % of wage allocation.

“While it is still the smallest component of the wages cost (compared to 39 % for grounds staff, 29 % for bar/restaurant staff and 23 % for admin staff) it is the main driver of the overall increase in wage and salary costs.

“One reason for this is that a number of clubs are bringing the pro shop back under the control and management of the club, rather than outsourcing it.

“At the same time, pro shop sales have actually declined very slightly, by 0.02 % – not a significant decline but one that golf clubs should keep an eye on if their pro shop costs are increasing.”

HLB Mann Judd Sydney is a firm of accountants and business and financial advisers, and part of the HLB Mann Judd Australasian Association.

The report, the sixth annual Sydney Metropolitan Golf Survey published by accountants HLB Mann Judd, inspects the performance of the 92 golf course in the Sydney metropolitan areas and informs clubs on the performance of the industry as a whole over the past 12 months.

Click here to view The HLB Sydney Golf Survey.

11th July 2016 - GROUND BREAKING RESEARCH POINTS TO POSITIVE FUTURE FOR AUSTRALIAN GOLF INDUSTRY

6th July 2016 - DECLINE IN GOLF CLUB MEMBERSHIPS SLOWS

4th July 2016 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW TO INTRODUCE TOPGOLF CONCEPT AS PART OF REVITALISATION OF ATTRACTIONS

15th June 2016 - NEW BODY TO REPRESENT PUBLIC GOLF FACILITIES

31st May 2016 - FUTURE OF GOLF PARTICIPATION BASED ON FAN ENGAGEMENT

8th May 2016 - DELEGATE REGISTRATIONS OPEN FOR GOLF BUSINESS FORUM 2016

23rd February 2016 - LEISURE INDUSTRY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF $1 BILLION FOR AUSTRALIAN START-UPS?

8th August 2015 - GOLF BODIES REPORT RISE IN AUSTRALIAN PARTICIPATION


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