Golf club owner Alec Fernihough doubled his membership with a Utopian scheme – and his vision has won a top England Golf award.
Alec, of Gaudet Luce Golf Club in Worcestershire, was presented with the Membership Award at a gala dinner last night at the England Golf annual conference, which celebrated the golfers and golf clubs who make the game great and inspire others to play.
The award recognises Alec’s innovation in introducing Utopian Golf, a flexible membership package which is based on a points system, but has no annual fee.
“I am delighted to receive this award,” said Alec. “The way that people live their lives has changed hugely over the past few years and I believe that golf club memberships need to reflect this.
“We wanted to make sure that our flexible membership was as flexible as possible for our customers. We believe that Utopian membership provides this.”
The scheme offers full membership benefits and has had widespread appeal, attracting newcomers to the game as well as time-challenged 20-40-year-olds, juniors and older players who want to continue their membership but are reluctant to pay full seven or five-day fees. In the two years since it was introduced the club membership has doubled from around 400 to just over 800.
Utopian members include new father Mike Hyde who said: “I joined early last year just after the birth of my first child and it was the perfect solution. I play mostly off-peak and it’s great to have membership options that allow people in my situation to carry on playing the game they love.”
Mark Laing, the England Golf County Development Officer for Hereford and Worcestershire, commented: “It’s crucial that we have clubs like Gaudet Luce, creating lots of new members, year on year. Utopian membership has played a major part in their success.”
Alec’s initiative supports the England Golf’s strategic plan, ‘Raising Our Game’ which calls on all who care about the sport to work together to create a brighter future for the game, including more members, more players and stronger clubs.
Alec Fernihough (left) receives his award from Morten Backhausen, Danish Golf Union Chief Executive (Image © Leaderboard Photography).