(The Stables, Royal Norwich GC’s new building that will house a microbrewery, bakery and multifunctional space).
The 125-year-old club is unveiling a new microbrewery, bakery and family nature trails to “create a community and a reason for people to be part of it,” according to its General Manager and Director. The club’s previous site is closing to be redeveloped for housing, and it is building new golf courses as part of its relocation and repurposing.
The manager of the first Royal golf club in the world to relocate said that golf alone is no longer enough for a modern club to maintain a sustainable business, in explaining the dramatic changes occurring at his property.
125-year-old Royal Norwich Golf Club in the east of England is preparing to open the doors of a new, purpose-built club featuring a microbrewery, bakery and family nature trails. Speaking in a new podcast and multimedia feature sponsored by Syngenta, “Is Club Membership Dead?” (https://growinggolf.shorthandstories.com/is_club_membership_dead/index.html), Grice said, “You have got to create a community and a reason for people to be part of it.”
Grice’s comments came as the old Royal Norwich Golf Club site, which suffered declining membership for 11 consecutive years, prepares to close ahead of redevelopment for housing.
“The business was unsustainable,” Grice admitted. “The challenge of having an older clubhouse, with an older membership, an older mentality and an older golf course was leaving us cut adrift.”
While the upheaval has enabled the construction of an impressive new 18-hole course and a six-hole academy course, both by Ryder Cup course specialists European Golf Design, the move is much more than a relocation.
What’s emerging is an entirely new club, with a bold people-centric vision and a clear strategic plan, informed by market research and customer insights.
“We’ve looked at the technological world, we’ve looked at the time-based world, we’ve looked at what youngsters and families want and what fits today, more so than telling them what we offer and hoping they want it,” Grice explained.
“We’ve taken a top-down approach as to what we can do – and a bottom-up approach as to what people actually want,” he added.
As well as all-inclusive memberships, Royal Norwich GC has been successfully selling new “points-based” memberships as part of its repositioning.
“We are absolutely, fundamentally, one hundred percent a private members club, but we believe we operate in a customer focused way,” Grice said. “We’re just ensuring the customer is getting exactly what they want.”