ANDY DUNSTER admits these are challenging times for golf as he prepares to hand over the captaincy at Saddleworth to Charles Nicholson.
While Andy has enjoyed his 12-month term of office, he says Saddleworth must continue to be pro-active as they look for new revenue streams and ways to increase their membership.
He explained: “Membership is the main source of revenue for any golf club and over the last 10 years our full members have fallen from around 400 to 250.
“Times change and we have to change, and some tough decisions will have to be made going forward. We need to be innovative.”
Andy, a member at Saddleworth for 33 years, added: “These are difficult times for private members’ clubs such as ours, but hopefully we can entice new members and visitors to what is a fantastic local venue.”
He added that Saddleworth has embraced a number of new initiatives such as one launched by Golf England aimed at attracting newcomers to golf with five lessons offered for £25.
“There were around 20 who signed up and some later joined the club which was positive,” he continued.
Andy also pointed to the Golf Academy which was launched last summer, and which will do so again in 2015. It is something again aimed at introducing players to the game.
He said: “It is a cheap way of getting people into golf without devaluing the membership. It costs £300 and, although there are restrictions as to when you can play, you can do so on a Sunday.
“It also includes lessons from the professional and is geared to beginners.”
Andy is also keen that Saddleworth uses its great facilities to bring in revenue by hiring out them for functions and by introducing local non-golfers to the club.
He points to the Sunday lunch they serve, explaining that non members are welcome to dine with them so long as they book a table in advance.