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Q: Trend in membership numbers in private clubs ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Trend in membership numbers in private clubs
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: kilboj-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 31 Mar 2004 22:54 PST
Expires: 30 Apr 2004 23:54 PDT
Question ID: 323385
Is membership in private clubs generally declining or increasing? 
Meaning private clubs such as golf or yacht clubs.  I have heard that
membership may be declining because of cheap airfares which offer
inexpensive and yet exotic alternatives.  Is this true?
Subject: Re: Trend in membership numbers in private clubs
Answered By: czh-ga on 09 Apr 2004 14:41 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello kilboj-ga,

?Is membership in private clubs generally declining or increasing?? In
short ? declining. I?ve found lots of information to help you
understand the reason for the decline of private clubs but cheap
airfares have nothing to do with it. I?ll highlight the basic trends
for you and I?ve included lots of links to help you dig deeper to get
a better understanding of what is happening in the private club

All of the recent articles and studies I?ve found agree that
recruiting and retaining members for golf clubs, country clubs,
exclusive health clubs and other private clubs has been a major
challenge in the last few years. The recessionary economy has been a
major cause along with changing demographics. It is imperative to
attract younger members for these clubs to survive and thrive. Some of
the research I conducted shows that private clubs that cater to
baby-boomers and finding that this generation is looking for
activities and amenities that are family-oriented instead of the
emphasis on business and social focus in previous generations.

I?ve organized the information I?ve collected to give you an overview
of the issues that are causing the decline in memberships and what
actions and strategies club managers are employing to turn around
these trends. I found a lot of supportive information about the
industry in the course of my research and I?ve included these
resources in case you want to explore further.

I trust that the information I?ve found will meet your needs. Please
don?t hesitate to ask for clarification if anything I?ve provided is
confusing or lacking.

I wish you well for your projects.

~ czh ~

Club Management ? February 2004
Down Trends in Membership Development

Items negatively impacting (country/golf clubs) to attract new members
? by NCA region
Poor economy
Increased golf competition
Increased dining competition
Marginal recreation/athletic program/facilities
High cost of dues

***** This is a 6 page article based on a recent industry survey from
the McMahon Group. The article includes lots of tables and statistics
to help you get a good interview of current trends in the industry.

Diamond Club Services
?A New Revenue Sharing Opportunity for Country Clubs?  

Executive Summary
Difficult economic times, combined with new upscale daily fee courses
and more trendy restaurants have forced country club General Managers,
and corporations that own country clubs to deal with declining
revenues that according to PCA surveys (over the past three years)
have produced:

 -- Membership declines in 44.1% of clubs
 -- Gross revenue slippage in 38.2% of clubs
 -- Aging members that are spending less

***** This article offers some good insights into what is happening in
the private club industry including some relevant statistics.

NOVEMBER 17, 2003   
Buyer's Market 
A sluggish economy has left many private golf clubs desperate for new members

Stagnant growth of golf participation during the past five years, a
surplus of private courses, and the recession are prime reasons this
is one of the best buyer's markets for private golf in recent memory.
Golf Digest contacted nearly 100 private golf clubs nationwide to
assess the landscape.

"Clubs are getting desperate -- not only to attract new members but
also to keep the ones they have,'' says Jim Koppenhaver, whose
Chicago-area company, Pellucid Corp., monitors the 3,700 private golf
clubs and 3.8 million private club members in the United States.
"About 14 percent of all golfers in the U.S. are private golfers. Our
hypothesis is, that number is going down."

There's no evidence of fee-slashing or a reduction in waiting lists to
join at big-name private clubs, Koppenhaver says, but it's absolutely
prevalent at lesser-known clubs, where waiting lists to join have been
replaced by waiting lists to get out.

***** Here is another recent article that gives you some current
information about industry trends.

United States Professional Tennis Association Inc.

The evolution of the club industry
Clubs deal with their members on a highly personal basis. Therefore,
the most important changes for clubs, as cited by managers, directors
and officers in these surveys and interviews, reflect changes in
membership demographics. The fact that the age of the average member
is expected to decrease from 56.5 years to 54.3 by 2010, although a
small change, will have a great impact on clubs.

Fitness centers will be added to cater to the large number of baby
boomers, who are more health- and body-image conscious than previous
generations. Clubs are already becoming more family oriented. Dining
is becoming less formal, and food and beverage operations are being
tailored to a new type of member. Dress codes are becoming less
strict, and the number of programs and facilities for children is

***** This is an excellent article that covers recent trends in tennis
clubs. The section on ?Why members join clubs? is especially helpful
in understanding this market. along with a table showing Present and
Future Services for Targeted Age Groups.

Private clubs: Creativity a must for survival
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Now, though, the financial climate has changed, forcing many private
clubs, particularly smaller ones, to find ways to survive.

The golf industry is in a three-year tumble in which the number of
rounds played has steadily declined -- at public and private courses.
A number of reasons have been advanced for the downward spiral, most
notably a sluggish economy. But there are others.

"Society has changed," said David Longwell, a golfer and board of
directors member at Brackenridge Country Club in Natrona Heights.
"Young people don't join [country clubs] any more. It's not the
prestige thing it was before. And their kids are in so many
activities, they don't have as much time. They're going in 50
different directions."

***** This article highlights some of the demographic trends impacting
the industry.

Private Clubs: Equal Access Issues and Public Status

Regardless of how a club views itself or selects its members, it
should know how to protect its privacy rights and guard against
potential liability. In recent years, the number of claims challenging
these rights has been significant. Collectively, the case rulings
demonstrate the inherent conflict for private clubs between economic
dependence on nonmember income and business usage by members, and the
constitutional protection of privacy interests afforded by purely
social, nonbusiness member usage.

"Collectively, the case rulings demonstrate the inherent conflict for
private clubs between economic dependence on nonmember income and
business usage by members, and the constitutional protection of
privacy interests afforded by purely social, nonbusiness member

Looking to the Future
A private club serves different purposes for its club members.
Membership may be prompted by social, athletic, recreational,
professional, or other interests. The purpose of a truly private club
is to serve the interests of its members, and they should be advised
of the club?s efforts to protect its private status. Each club needs
to evaluate its own internal culture, mission and goals, level of
nonmember usage, and applicable state or local laws that may have an
impact on the club?s private status.

***** This article addresses some of the legal issues involved in
applying ?public accommodation? requirements to private clubs.

Maximizing Nonmember Dollars at Private Clubs

The pressure on clubs to generate additional cash flow from nonmember
revenue and the IRS?s approach to auditing tax returns has brought
about a renewed interest in finding the best way to determine taxable

The following information will help guide you through the maze of
regulations and tax case law that controls the allocation of expenses
to nonmember revenue and provide you with a method to produce a
reasonable, defensible income tax return.

***** This article will give you a brief glimpse into some of the
legal and tax issues confronting private clubs.

4/9/2003  -- Few can afford membership in private club
There are some significant barriers that keep women and minorities
from becoming members at private golf clubs.

The biggest one: cost.
USA TODAY's survey found the average initiation fee is $48,900 among
the 78 host courses on the LPGA, PGA Tour and Champions Tour schedule
this year that have such a requirement.
In addition to initiation fees, there are monthly dues and fees, plus
assessments for the operating and capital expenses for the club. For
instance, the initiation fee at Trump International Golf Club in West
Palm Beach, Fla., site of the LPGA's ADT Championship, is $350,000
with yearly dues of $13,000.
Very few women and minorities can afford such memberships fees,
according to the 2000 Census.

***** This article presents some interesting information about gender
and racial demographics in private clubs.

4/9/2003 -- Golf's host clubs have open-and-shut policies on discrimination

However, all courses hosting events on the PGA Tour, LPGA circuit and
Champions Tour (formerly the Senior PGA Tour) must legally attest in
tournament contracts or other documents that they do not discriminate
in membership practices and policies on the basis of race, sex,
religion or national origin.

USA TODAY surveyed 129 private, semi-private, public and resort
courses hosting tournaments in 2003 to see how well they meet the
non-discrimination guidelines set by the respective tours and golf
organizations. Yet even in the face of the Augusta National
controversy, clubs shared limited information concerning their
practices and policies.

***** This is an excellent article that discusses the legal
requirements for non-discrimination and the rights of private clubs to
set their own membership rules.

Private Club News, March 2004

If it seems to you that the members at your golf club are getting
younger, they probably are. The National Club Association in
Washington, D.C., which supports private sports clubs, has completed a
report, "Trends in the New Millennium," that details the present and
future of the private club. The report is based on a survey of 510
clubs, including 300 of the nation's top private golf clubs. According
to the new study, the average age of a member at a top-tiered club in
2004 is 56.5 years old. The survey confirmed that the average age of
club members has dropped, and it should continue to do so as more of
the baby-boom generation?the seventy-six million people between the
ages of forty and fifty-eight?achieve the earning power to pay up.

***** This report highlight the trend toward younger membership.

The mission of the National Club Association is to serve the club
community by protecting, preserving and enhancing the interests and
well-being of private social and recreational clubs.

Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
Industry-Related Subject Guides -- Club Management

***** This is a 6 page guide that provides an excellent overview of
the industry and includes a nice selection of links for further

Until now, stand-alone independent private country clubs have not been
successful in developing a nationwide network of private clubs that
offers their members the ability to play the other courses in the
network for cart fees only. The Private Club Network has made this
exciting concept a reality.

Founded in 1957, Dallas-based ClubCorp has approximately $1.6 billion
in assets. Internationally, ClubCorp owns or operates nearly 200 golf
courses, country clubs, private business and sports clubs, and

Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals

Membership Development for Private Clubs 
Survey Report
Our survey report (completed in August 2003) concerning the status of
membership in private clubs.
Price: $75.00

***** I referred to this report at the top of my answer. You can buy
the whole report if you would like more comprehensive information.

Industry Resources Report
SIC 7997  /  NAICS 713910
Private Clubs / Country Clubs
For golf clubs, also see SIC 7992 Golf Courses and Driving Ranges.

Industry Resources Reports list resources available from trade
associations, industry publications, and research firms which address
subjects such as industry overview, issues, trends, and outlook,
financial benchmarking, compensation surveys, and valuation resources.

Health and Fitness Clubs - US 
Mintel International Group Ltd. 
January 1, 2004
 99 Pages - Pub ID: GN957680 
Price $2995

The U.S. health and fitness club industry is on a revival trend, with
new club brands, absolute club openings and new memberships
increasing--similar to the mid-1980s--after a decade of flat growth.
Total health and fitness club membership at the end of 2003 is
estimated to be almost 38 million, or 18% of adults 18 and over. The
total number of clubs has grown too, an estimated 10% from 2002 to
2003. Total owned club revenues have increased 13% from 2000 to 2003,
from $11.6 billion to $13.9 billion. With 59 million adults, or 31% of
the adult population, considered obese, it would appear that the
market has considerable room to expand.

***** The Executive Summary and Table of Contents for this high-priced
report will give you a good introduction to the health and fitness
membership clubs industry.


membership numbers in private clubs
membership trends private clubs
yacht club member  trends
"private club" demographics
kilboj-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
This is a terrific answer.  Especially the links to other sources,
such as USA today.  I liked the executive summaries, and the writing
itself was first rate.  Thanks.

Subject: Re: Trend in membership numbers in private clubs
From: czh-ga on 10 Apr 2004 09:59 PDT
Hello kilboj-ga,

I'm glad you liked my answer and found it helpful. I'd love to work
with you in the future. Thank you for the five stars and generous tip.
~ czh ~

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