The launch of online golf club, Ready Golf (www.readygolf.co), can provide golf clubs around the country with some much-needed additional income following a period of lost revenue over the last few months following the corona virus outbreak.
Ready Golf gives nomadic golfers access to a range of high quality golf courses without having to pay multiple green fees whilst member golf clubs benefit from two payments per year without incurring any cost to the club.
The spring payment is based on the number of Ready Golf members and the green fee level of each individual course whilst the autumn payment, paid on October 1, is based on the number of rounds played by Ready Golf members and the extent of the access allowed by each golf club.
The advantages of this unique golf club are numerous but perhaps the most persuasive and immediate attraction for golf clubs is that there are no upfront costs in order to gain the additional revenue. Moreover as the Ready Golf membership grows, so will the clubs’ remuneration and in the meantime they will also benefit from ancillary spend in the club house and on guest fees as well as acting as a marketing device to attract potential new members.
The target demographic for Ready Golf members is nomadic golfers within 25 to 40- year-old bracket – both male and female – who have the chance to try out a variety of courses as they move around the portfolio. Then should at some point they wish to settle down and join a club, they will have already experienced several clubs and made their decision in the process.
As a requirement of being part of Ready Golf, members will need to maintain a playing handicap, managed by Ready Golf itself, to ensure that will have a decent level of reliable playing standard to a maximum handicap of 25 so that clubs do not have to endure course hackers.
Following a period when golf has been completely off the agenda, the launch of Ready Golf is timely as under lockdown easing, golfers have shown they are extremely keen to return to golf and play even more than before. With one of the main attractions for members being that they can play as much golf as they like over a group of different golf courses, in return for an annual subscription, Ready Golf will no doubt prove to be a popular option for golfers.
Another key draw for golfers not affiliated to a club is that Ready Golf tracks scores played at its member courses which it uses to offer members an accurate handicap index, in accordance with the new World Handicap System (WHS), which members can use when playing other members.
Indeed it is Ready Golf’s plan to have its handicap system recognised by places like the Old Course at St Andrews which allows anyone with a handicap from a variety of online organisations to play on their links.
The Ready Golf portfolio is currently concentrated in Kent, Surrey and Sussex though it has plans to expand its collection of clubs on a national basis as it establishes itself in the golfing market.
Several Kent golf clubs have already committed themselves to the Ready Golf stable; the highly-acclaimed championship links at Littlestone in Romney Marsh as well as its second course, The Warren. Founded in 1888, Littlestone is a breathtaking, traditional championship links course laid out on naturally undulating land and its own range of sand dunes. Set between Romney Marsh and the English Channel, this stretch of coastline enjoys a unique microclimate making it one of the driest places in England.
Alongside Littlestone, the downland track at West Kent Golf Club, a well-established and highly-respected private members’ club founded in 1916, and the Broome Park Golf Club that boasts a layout created by Donald Steel, have also signed up to Ready Golf.
In addition Bletchingley Golf Club in Surrey is on board. A mature, tree-lined course with some magnificent oaks, Bletchingley offers panoramic views over the North Downs and the Weald which create the perfect backdrop for a layout which has made best use of the interesting and undulating topography whilst a stream provides several interesting water features. The course is playable all year round thanks to its establishment on rich sandy loam.
Cowdray Park in Midhurst, Sussex, where golf has been played for over 100 years, is also on board. Originally designed by Herbert Fowler and J F Abercromby, this scenic course is set in the tranquil surroundings of the 16,500-acre Cowdray Estate. This charming par 70 layout enjoys stunning views over south Downs National Park and its fairways blend seamlessly into the lightly-wooded downland landscape making it a wonderful place to play golf.
Meanwhile a host of clubs are waiting for committee agreement to become members and following the recent reopening of golf courses, it looks likely that many clubs will turn to Ready Golf in increase their income streams after a period of reduced green fees and tough financial uncertainty.
The early bird cost of Ready Golf membership is currently available from £768 whilst golf clubs can sign up for free.
“As a keen golfer myself, I have always struggled to find a balance between wanting to play lots of golf on many different decent courses and being a member of a single course. Speaking to other nomadic golfers, I realised I wasn’t alone so I looked into a way of providing access on a regular basis to quality golf courses without having to incur rising green fees. I also sympathise with many golf courses in the middle of the market which are forced to close or de-value themselves by selling through cheaper options and online deals,” says Tom Bishop, Ready Golf’s founder and director.
“My vision is to provide quality golf courses with a cost-free income and provide a home for nomadic golfers to experience a variety of courses.”
As we emerge from lockdown, golf clubs will surely be looking for as many ways as possible to maximize income streams and Ready Golf could play a huge part in this over the next few months and indeed years as the whole country recovers from corona virus chaos.
For more on Ready Golf, please visit www.readygolf.co