In this dive into the GCMA vault, we go back to May 2019 when former Ladies European Tour professional Fame Tate - who'd bought her local course at Stanedge - told Steve Carroll how she was adapting to golf club management... Fame is now the subject of a docuseries, created by Syngenta Golf, and you can read more about that here. So how does a professional golfer buy a golf club? It was circumstance – nothing that was really planned. The opportunity came around and it was quite timely. A couple of years ago, I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable taking the plunge but having completed the PGA Foundation degree a year ago, it was timely. Opportunities like this don’t come around too often. Stanedge is five minutes from home and I’ve always wanted to put my stamp on something like this. We’re always being told that golf club membership is declining – and we’re seeing clubs close all over the country now. So you’ve not done this without risk? I’m doing this on my own – there are no other partners. You read all the articles that say golf club membership is on the decline but my vision here – and the message we are trying to get across – is to make the game affordable, accessible for anyone, fun, friendly and welcoming. Stanedge is not your typical golf club. We want it to be a warm and welcoming environment where you can walk in and there’s no stuffy dress code. I feel we’re pitching this at a slightly different market. We are for the members here, but we’re also for the visitors and everyone else. We will do everything we can for the members and make it a members’ club but without it having the stereotypical private members’ club ethos. As you say, you’ve made it pretty clear in your early marketing that Stanedge is designed to be a very open golf club? We’re not an 18-hole facility. We’ve got 10 holes but people are time constrained nowadays and, whether you’ve got a family or not, I do think 9-hole golf has got its benefits as well. I appreciate you can go to an 18-hole facility and still play nine but we are trying to promote something different. The beauty here is you can do two loops of three holes or you can do five or six. There are quite a lot of options at Stanedge due to the course layout. We’ve also rejigged the membership packages. We have full adult membership and we’ve put a family package together – two adults and all the kids go free. We’ve really tried to focus on the 18 to 35-year-old market and, if you read all the reports from England Golf, that is a difficult market to target. Is it financially viable for them to be paying a full membership? I don’t think so. So we’ve put a good deal in place there. Lastly, we’ve got junior membership, which we’ve...
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