By Eddie Bullock
Leaving the European Union will, I feel sure, dominate the news for some weeks to come? But what impact will this have on the club industry throughout Europe?
Many clubs have come through the turmoil and challenges of the recession, changing the way they think, improving their risk and safety policies, establishing best practices and delivering better and improved service for their members and guests alike.
Conceivably these were policies and initiatives from within the EU!
The financial markets will of course have an influence, some speculations have been voiced, a higher level of interest rate, changes in VAT and more local regional control of our environmental management, this all comes with uncertainty especially as there will be a change with the country’s leadership.
Potential changes in trade deals on certain supplies within the EU market may likely have a direct effect on how clubs view their long-term strategy.
Some semi-private clubs, who are geographically well situated, have intentionally built relationships with various golf societies in mainland Europe, for example encouraging their close neighbors in France, Holland and Germany. This could well become a declining market.
Many progressive clubs have been focusing on engaging and capturing with younger adult audience and family involvement. With recent initiatives such as Sprint6 Golf, which is gaining positive traction within this demographic audience.
Do these stats give clubs a direct understanding of how the younger potential future club members wish to react within a business and social environment, maybe not. However this does display they are a representative force whereby clubs do need to listen to them! Especially as some traditional clubs are finding it hard to change their governance policies, to equip themselves to the generational shift.
At this stage, of course, much depends on the day-to-day nature of post Brexit UK – a nation that could conceivably find itself without two of its member’s countries, Scotland & Northern Ireland, which firmly backed EU membership. The constitutional changes will be poignant but it will be some time before the whole picture emerges of how people will live and do business in the years ahead.
For many of those working in the UK club industry, the hope will be that this political earthquake does not alter the landscape too dramatically.
My hope is that my next case of Chateau Saint Pierre, St Julien is saved from becoming out of my reach!