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Golf clubs shake stuffy tag to drive into future

POSTED ON February 14, 2016 @ 5:49 pm

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WA golf clubs are relaxing dress standards, loosening restrictions on women players and offering youth discounts in an attempt to modernise and attract new members.

Faced with a global trend of declining memberships, local clubs have in recent years made strides to update their image and offers to attract new and young members, particularly women.

Changes at some clubs include letting women play on Saturdays — a day many clubs historically reserved for men’s competition — discounts for under-35s, trial memberships and doing away with new members having to be referred by existing ones.

Golf Australia says membership numbers peaked in Australia in 1998 at about 500,000 and have fallen about 21 per cent.

Wanneroo Golf Club manager Mark Jarmyn said membership had been relatively stable the past few years but the club was constantly looking to adapt.

For example, it has new dress standards “to cater for fashion changes which are more applicable to younger members”.

Unlike some clubs, Wanneroo allows jeans and untucked dress shirts off the course in some circumstances. Thongs, T-shirts and board shorts, among other things, are still forbidden.

Mosman Park Golf Club general manager Tony Howell said though participation rates in golf were steady, membership was declining.

“We have introduced new membership offerings, including a three-month trial membership,” he said.

“We have also introduced a youth membership category for those under 30 at discounted rates.”

Playing at Sea View Golf Club Cottesloe. Picture: The West Australian

Sea View Golf Club no longer asks for nomination fees or references from members and has tweaked membership options.

“Younger players don’t want to commit to long-term membership,” president Jim Green said.

Western Australian Golf Club general manager Brian Close said finding time to play was often a big issue.

He said the club had a vibrant female base, some of whom were snapped byThe Weekend West this week.

Source: The West Australian

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