Leading players in the golf business have come together to form an important new organisation, the UK Golf Course Owners Association (UKGCOA), promising to introduce comprehensive market data and share best practice to benefit all UK golf courses, professionalising the business.
The Association, which is open to all UK golf course owners and also has the backing of the English Golf Union (EGU), will represent the interests of golf course owners in a unified way, as well as organising national and regional conferences to develop the sport.
Among the UKGCOA's industry-changing objectives is the introduction of detailed business performance data so owners can compare and benchmark their course's performance against those in their regional market or on a national scale.
A leading independent research company has been appointed and has commenced surveying golf courses, confidentially, on performance indicators such as number of rounds, green fee revenues, number of members and annual subscription rates.
The UKGCOA says this type of data pooling, which is common in other industries, notably hotels and hospitality, will help golf course owners make informed decisions on strategy and investments based on accurate market information and intelligence.
In addition, key objectives of the UKGCOA are:
- To promote, develop and represent the interests of golf course owners in the United Kingdom
- To play an active and positive role in the growth of the game of golf
- To act as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences
- To professionalise the golf business in the United Kingdom.
Membership is open to facilities that are owned by individuals, families, corporations, landowners, municipal authorities, syndicates and club members.
The launch of the UKGCOA is the result of two years' consultation and discussion, with founding members including leading owners and operators Burhill Golf & Leisure, Crown Golf and de Vere. The 'official' unveiling of this important new organisation will be at the European Golf Course Owners Association Conference in London on December 1st, to which all golf course owners are invited to send a representative.
Colin Mayes, Chief Executive Officer of Burhill Golf & Leisure, and the UKGCOA's first Chairman, said: "I am delighted so many significant owners of golf courses have already signed up to become members of the UKGCOA.
"It has been clear for some time that given the industry's issues with declining participation and the effects of the recession that working together as a collective group, golf course owners can achieve more and make a positive impact upon our industry.
"Despite all the difficulties involved in the industry a number of businesses continue to thrive. The UKGCOA will also be looking forward to entering into dialogue with the other industry bodies to assist in maximising the sports appeal to all."
The UKGCOA will be an integral part of the European Golf Course Owners Association, and will play an active role alongside other European golf course owners in pan-European initiatives and programmes.
EGCOA Chief Executive Officer, Lodewijk Klootwijk said: "The EGCOA is pleased to see the formation of the UKGCOA. We think it is a big step forward for the golf courses and their owners in the UK. They have an interesting and challenging task ahead to improve the golf business in the UK and UKGCOA can play a very important role in this goal. We look forward to working with our friends in the UK to accomplish this."
One of the organisations that has been included in the consultation process has been the English Golf Union. John Petrie, the EGU's Chief Executive Officer said: "The English Golf Union is pleased to see the emergence of the UK Golf Course Owners Association. The EGU look forward to developing a close working relationship with the UKGCOA and to work together in the development of the game of golf."
The UKGCOA board of directors has appointed the experienced Jerry Kilby as their part-time Executive Director, a role that complements his other part-time role as the Chief Executive Officer of the Club Managers Association of Europe.
CMAE President, John Hunt said: "The CMAE is delighted to see the formation of the UK Golf Course Owners Association and we look forward to establishing a mutually-beneficial relationship with the UKGCOA and its members, as their preferred partner for club manager education programmes in the UK. The CMAE board is also pleased that both organisations can share the time and energies of Jerry Kilby, who we know will give equal enthusiasm to both organisations."
The UKGCOA will be able to benefit from the administrative services of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations, from their Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire offices, to provide membership, events and accounting administration to the UKGCOA.
• For information about the UKGCOA and to join, please visit: www.ukgcoa.com