Epsom, April 2014 – At the beginning of this year, England Golf published the third draft of its strategic framework*.  Focusing on the steady decline in golf club membership – down by over 15% since 2007/08 for those playing golf once a month – the strategy identified financial outlay as a key barrier to membership.   Leading membership fee financing specialist, Fairway Credit, believes the answer to tackling this problem is making annual fees affordable, rather than encouraging ‘day’ visitors.  But it also acknowledges that some clubs may be uncertain about the future of offering monthly instalments for fees following the arrival of a new regulator – the FCA – on 1st April 2014.

“It has been estimated that around 1 million golfers play at least once a month – but are not members of a club”, explained Roger Brown, Head of New Markets, Fairway Credit.  “We believe this is a huge missed opportunity for clubs – if they can offer potential members an alternative to paying out annual fees.  However it is important to recognise that any clubs offering fees payment by instalments must ensure they comply with the consumer credit rules under the new regulator.”

Fairway Credit, specialists in golf fee membership funding, is urging golf clubs to review the current financing options offered to members to ensure they don’t fall foul of the new FCA regulation.

“Some golf clubs may have ‘in-house’ instalments schemes that possibly don’t fully comply with the new FCA regulations” added Roger Brown.  “For many clubs becoming authorised isn’t a viable proposition but equally not being compliant isn’t an option either.  We believe that the best route for promoting instalment facilities in golf clubs is to be authorised for credit broking, however, as the number one provider of outsourced credit facilities to golf clubs across the UK, we recognise the need to offer a solution for everyone. We have that now and look forward to welcoming more and more clubs into the Fairway Credit family.”

The new Fairway Credit ‘non-promoted’ finance product enables clubs to receive fees in full up front as well as view member accounts on line.  Importantly it also removes the administrative burden from clubs in arranging the credit facility.

“With upfront costs a major barrier to golf club membership, we can ease the burden on potential members by offering a simple,  cost-effective and convenient way of paying for membership on a monthly basis through our credit facilities”, concluded Roger Brown. 

“Over 100 clubs have already signed up to our scheme which also helps with membership retention.  Once a member is signed up, in subsequent years, the process gets easier as there is no need to sign any renewal forms.  Once the member has confirmed their wish to renew the membership, clubs just tell us how much the year’s renewal is and we collect the instalments under the original authority, vastly reducing collection activity for clubs and helping to smooth over the buying decision a member makes each year when the subs request comes in.

“But as importantly, our solution means that clubs can tackle declining membership without the need for the club to be authorised for lending or credit broking.


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