Facing a changed economy, one of Canada’s most iconic golf clubs is adapting.
Scarboro Golf and Country Club, soon to turn 100 years old, is offering annual trial memberships and looking at discounts and greater value added incentives to keep their famous greens in the black.
“[Scarboro G&CC] has seen slight affects of the economic weakening by members becoming more diligent in their spending,” said Donna MacLean, Membership Sales Director.”
The club located near Scarborough Golf Club Road and Lawrence Avenue, has been a haven for the city’s golfers since 1912, hosting four Canadian Opens and currently ranked the 53rd finest golf course in Canada.
Its membership is equity based, meaning each member owns a share of the club. The club’s financial future depends on securing a strong membership base.
In the past, private golf clubs required a costly initiation fee to join a club. With membership numbers dropping in recent year, many clubs have resorted to offering annual trial memberships in a bid to attract new members. Scarboro G&CC adopted this policy recently, and has had a great response.
“The annual lease membership is an extremely attractive option for prospective members looking to join an equity club,” MacLean said. “Our conversion rate [of trial members to equity members] is over 50%, so we plan to continue this program.”
Scarboro G&CC faces several factors which hurt its ability to attract new members such as new public courses that boast similar accommodations, and Clublink, a corporation which offers its members unlimited golfing at 20 golf courses it owns in the GTA and surrounding area.
“Camaraderie among the members, and a huge social community atmosphere give us the advantage over public courses,” MacLean said. “Our members also have huge pride in their ownership of the club.”
Scarborough G&CC has made plans for a potential greater economic slowdown in Canada.
MacLean said that the club would continue to promote its annual lease program, as well as create value added promotions to attract new members and keep current members happy.
While the Scarborough G&CC does have plans for a potential economic slowdown, it recently hired golf course architects Ian Andrew and Gil Hanse to restore course which was originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast.