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Golf stopped being the sport of the elites a very long time ago. Over the centuries – especially in the second half of the 20th century – the game was slowly adopted by all classes of society, including university students. Several factors played a crucial role in popularisation of the sport and making it more accessible to the wider public. These, among other things, also include the effort of most golf clubs to attract more golfers by offering generous discounts, exclusive rates and other forms of incentives for different societal groups. But as the latest research by GolfSupport reveals, students are often left out of special deals and offers.
Less than One Third of Reviewed Golf Clubs Offer Incentives/Discounts for University Students
Interested in student participation in golf across the UK, we reviewed 242 golf clubs and courses in top 10 university cities: London, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Birmingham. We looked at membership discounts, special tee time rates, joining fees and other forms of incentives for university students. To make sure that they really don’t have any special student deals/offers, we decided to contact golf clubs providing little or no information about incentives or discounts for university students aged 18-24. In total, 203 golf clubs were contacted for additional information. Unfortunately, only 40 golf clubs, the equivalent to less than one fifth (19.7%) of them bothered to reply to our enquiry.
When analysing the gathered information, we found that 66 of total 242 reviewed golf courses are available to students at reduced membership fees, discounted tee time rates and other special offers. This means that less than one third (27%) of golf clubs offer incentives/discounts for university students even though they are located in or near top university cities in the UK, with some being less than one mile from university campuses. The majority of them have very attractive deals and offers for young people which are also available to students, however, they don’t have any student deals/packages as such.
Cities with the Most and Least Student-Friendly Golf Courses
Data analysis has revealed a considerable variance in student-friendliness not only between different golf courses but also between different cities. With 43.5 % of golf courses having student incentives/discounts, Manchester has the largest proportion of student-friendly golf courses among the reviewed university cities, followed by Birmingham (42.9%) and Coventry (41.6%).
Oxford and Cambridge were found to have the lowest proportion of student-friendly golf courses with only 16.6% offering special incentives/discounts for students. With slightly more than one fifth (22.8%) of golf clubs having student-friendly offers, London starts the “list” of cities with the lowest proportion of student-friendly golf courses.
There is Hope for Student Golf in the UK
There may not be many golf courses/clubs with exclusive student deals in top university cities but those that do offer incentives/discounts for university students have fantastic arrangements, with many enabling students to play golf for as little as £200 a year or even less.
Golf clubs with the best student deals include:
Douglas Park Golf Club (6 Miles from the Glasgow City Centre)
Photo credit: Douglas Park Golf Club
Boasting a spectacular par 69 (72 ladies), 5981-yard golf course just 6 miles from the Glasgow City Centre, the Douglas Park Golf Club is one of the most student-friendly of all reviewed golf clubs. From 1st October 2016 to 31st March 2017, student membership is just £100 and can be paid in 4 DD instalments of £25. In addition, the Club also regularly offers special student deals including exclusive tee off times rates, and additional discounts and offers – both on and off course.
Whitefield Golf Club (12 miles from Coventry City Centre)
Home to one of the best golf courses in this part of England, the Whitefield Golf Club has a fantastic student package. They offer all university students membership from April-October, explaining that this is the time of the year when students are either back home or/and have more time to play golf. The cost of student membership is £150 per annum.
Ravensworth Golf Club (7 miles from Newcastle City Centre)
Photo credit: Ravensworth Golf Club
University students can play golf at Ravensworth Golf Club for less than £200 per annum. During the University term time (1st September to 31st May), student membership package is only £185, which is a very generous discount considering that the normal annual fee is £625.
The Club’s Secretary Aidan Heslop also told us that “despite the reduced fee, student membership gives full access to the course, a CONGU handicap and the fee includes County and English Golf Union fees as well as a discounted member’s card for use in the bar. Students are able to play in all club competitions and participation is welcomed.”
Oxford Golf Club (2 miles from Oxford City Centre)
Located in a breath-taking landscape just 2 miles from the Oxford city centre, the Oxford Golf Club hasn’t overlooked students either when it comes to discounts and special rates. Here, university students can play golf for as little as £195 per annum, which is a very generous discount on the normal price for intermediate members aged 18-24 years who pay £395.
Prestwich Golf Club (c. 5 miles from Manchester City Centre)
University students can also count on additional discount on membership at the Prestwich Golf Club, located less than 5 miles from the Manchester city centre. Unlike Intermediate members aged 18-23 years who pay £255 and Intermediate members aged 24-28 years who pay £365, university students can play golf at Prestwich course for just £200.
Ellesmere Golf Club (7 Miles from the Manchester City Centre)
Photo credit: Ellesmere Golf Club
For slightly over £200 per annum, university students can also test their golf skills and enjoy the game at the Ellesmere Golf Club. Furthermore, all who join the Golf Club in January 2017 will get a 15 month-membership for the price of 12 months, which is for full-time students aged 18-24 years only £208. There is also no entrance fee.
Craigmillar Park Golf Club (2.5 miles from Edinburgh City Centre)
Photo credit: Craigmillar Park Golf Club
One of the most scenic golf courses in Edinburgh can be enjoyed by students for as little as £230 per annum as opposed to Intermediate members aged 18-30 years who pay a fee from £285 to £585. Also, all members – including students – enjoy further discounts on selected services, events and facilities.
North Middlesex Golf Club (North London)
Photo credit: North Middlesex Golf Club
Located in a stunning 70+ acre parkland in North London, the North Middlesex Golf Club offers just the right amount of challenge to make the game exciting for golfers of all skill levels. Students aged 18-24 who attend one of London’s university will also be pleased to hear that the North Middlesex Golf Club offers special student membership package. It costs just £235 per annum and gives students an unlimited access to golf course, ability to play at club competitions and a wealth of other benefits and advantages.
Finchley Golf Club (North London)
Photo credit: Finchley Golf Club
Finchley Golf Club is another excellent choice for university students in London as the student membership is only £250 a year, which is more than a 50% discount on Intermediate membership (19-24 years) which is £534 per annum. The Club Secretary Alison McCullough told us that besides being able to play on the spectacular James Braid-designed 18-hole golf course 7 days a week and have their handicap maintained by the club, student members can also enter most competitions.
North Warwickshire Golf Club (13 miles from Birmingham)
Photo credit: North Warwickshire Golf Club
Also very close to Coventry which is only 8 miles away, the North Warwickshire Golf Club enables university students to play at their golf course for just £250 a year, which is a really great discount considering that full membership is £850. And since the golf course has excellent drainage, Club members and visitors alike can play golf regardless of the weather conditions, 365 days a year.
Hilton Park Golf Club (7 miles from Glasgow City Centre)
Photo credit: Hilton Park Golf Club
Set in a beautiful landscape about 7 miles south of the Glasgow city centre, the Hilton Park Golf Club has two James Braid-designed golf courses: 18-hole, par 70 Hilton Course and 18-hole, par 69 Allander Course. And both can be enjoyed by students for just £260 per annum. This is a considerable discount on Intermediate Membership (available to 18 to 29-year-olds) which is £494 per annum.
The fact that less than one third (27%) of 242 reviewed golf courses in top 10 university cities in the UK offer incentives or discounts for university students suggests that students are not a particularly desirable “category” of members or visitors. The majority of golf clubs does offer a considerable fee reduction for young people in the age category of 18 to 24 years, but for many full-time students, the normal “Intermediate rates” are still too high.
The good news is that the small number of golf clubs that didn’t forget about students and their unique needs offer very attractive and most important of all – very affordable – student packages. And by doing so, they help keep golf accessible to all groups of population including university students whose budget for leisure and sport activities is often very restricted.
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