How do you attract and maintain more than 100 young members to your golf club in less than two years? Melbourne’s Kew Golf Club has the answer.
Data released by Golf Australia (governing body) last year showed clubs had shed 117,000 members in the past 20 years to an all-time low of 383,000.
But Kew Golf Club’s Young Members Committee – established by Rowan Dick and Rob Prosser in 2018 – has managed to buck that trend by enticing an impressive number of under-40s to join the 126-year-old club, which made its debut in Australia’s Top-100 Courses ranking earlier this year.
“We just started off by organising some events targeted at the younger members already at the club. That’s really where it kind of stemmed from. It was more about organising events that the young members would want to get involved in because a lot of events at the club, at that time, were aimed at the older demographic,” seven-year member Rowan Dick told Golf Australia magazine.
“It’s really been focused around having these events probably every two or three months where, for about $20 per head, we organise a guest speaker, we have a shotgun start, young members can invite their friends to play for free and then we have lunch afterwards with the guest speaker. Usually every event generates five or so new young members as a result of it.
“I know when I joined that there was lots of grey hair at the club. But you notice now if you walk around the club on Saturday or Sunday there’s just so many more young guys there and it’s just got a completely different vibe to it.”
“I know when I joined that there was lots of grey hair at the club. But you notice now if you walk around the club on Saturday or Sunday there’s just so many more young guys there and it’s just got a completely different vibe to it.” – Rowan Dick
Guest speakers so far have included PGA professionals Jack Wilson and Daniel Popovic, Richmond Football Club’s Nathan Broad and Fox Footy’s Tom Morris, with Bushnell Golf sponsoring the club’s events and offering up various prizes.
“We had five major events last year which averaged 60 young members and guests per event,” said Kew Golf Club’s CEO, Mathew Loughnane.
“There have been 58 new young members in the last 12 months and 100-plus in the last two years.
“The Young Members Committee has been fantastic. Their enthusiasm and drive to make our club the young members club of choice in the area has been great.”
In addition to the events organised by the committee, Kew has introduced tiered pricing for annual memberships and joining fees, making the costs more affordable to younger members and also allowing them to pay the joining fee over five years.
Dick, 39, added Kew is also working on ways to attract more young women to the club.
“There’s myself, Rob (Prosser) and Victoria Chan on the Young Members Committee and we’ve got Greg McConnell who sits on the board,” he said.
“As part of our committee, we all meet together with Mat Loughnane probably every quarter to talk about what events we’ve got coming up and any other possible initiatives.
“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the moment to try and attract young female members to the club because that’s probably an area we haven’t had as much success at.”
To learn more about Kew Golf Club, its memberships and the Young Members Committee, visit the club’s website or call (03) 9859 6848.