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With Tiger Woods back where he belongs, re-instated as the #1 golf player in the world ranking table followed by a wealth of British talent, the likes of Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and the flamboyance of Ian Poulter, it’s no wonder that golf has never been more popular as an amateur sport in the UK.
Furthermore, with over 7,500 courses to choose from throughout the UK, it’s never been easier or cheaper to play the best game in the world. Competition has driven prices down and increased the quality of pay and play golf courses available for non-members. Although I am surrounded by some awesome golf courses, I personally choose not to be a member of any of my local golf clubs. These days I have more fun facing different challenges, playing different courses whether it be with my son, some friends or co-ordinating a special corporate day.
I really enjoy seeking out new golf courses to play; and with the internet it is now even easier to find new courses, read customer feedback on the quality of the greens and even the food and service on offer at the nineteenth hole. All this, plus numerous websites listing cheap tee-times including some of the most prestigious golf courses throughout the UK.
From the amateur golfers point of view, things couldn’t be much better. But what’s it like owning or managing a golf course with such competition and high levels of expectation and value for money?
Keeping the greens lush, the bunkers raked and the fairways in order is just one small part of managing a successful golf course. Imagine how a storm or severe winds could affect a golf course. Damage caused by hurricane-strength winds or an overnight flood, falling trees or branches on the course all need to be managed as does vandalism and theft. But as a customer, I am only interested in the golf day experience I have when visiting a club.
Golf club insurance from Aon or other insurance companies, against accidental damage and public liability is as necessary as a top quality groundsman; and managing a course to always hit or exceed high expectations must be a real headache. these reasons alone, I recently decided to carry on enjoying the best game in the world as a customer rather than further exploring the possibility of co-owning a golf course with a friend who is very keen on making golf his livelihood as much as his pastime.