Many British golf clubs having to ‘putt up’ with business rates rises

Some British golf clubs could be in the rough this year with many seeing business rates rises following the controversial revaluation that kicks in on April 1.

As golf fans prepare to settle in for one of the biggest golfing spectacles of the year – The Masters being held in glamourous Augusta in the US –  it is a far cry from the hundreds of smaller clubs across England and Wales which will be struggling to absorb business rate rises of up to 5% or more.

Operating margins are already being squeezed in many regions due to rising inflation and falling memberships, but the South West and Central England will also see the biggest business rate hikes across the sector.

UK Rating experts Dunlop Heywood looked at the national picture and discovered there were large regional disparities when it came to the new 2017 Rating list and the resulting bills.

Wentworth Golf Course – home to the BMW Championship – saw one of the biggest rises of 7%, from £750k to £800k, and now has the unfortunate accolade of having the highest golf Rateable Value (RV) in the country. Second place goes to Woburn Golf & Country Club at £520K. Royal Birkdale, which has the honor of hosting The Open this year in July, has remained at the same level across both rating lists – £162k.

These are top end of the RV scale, the average for England and Wales is circa £55k.

To see the winners and losers when it comes to business rates across England and Wales:



East 330 -0.59%
Central 312 +5.13
London 107 +1.77
North East 294 +3.74
North West 287 -1.62
South East 304 +2.77
South West 304 +5.84
Wales 183 -2.65
TOTAL 2,121 +2.28


Dunlop Heywood Rating Director Adam Brooke said: “With falling participation in golf and many modern day enthusiasts opting to ‘pay and play’, rather than being members; golf club owners may have been hoping for large falls in their business rates. The sport faces significant challenges in the coming years and examining that against the industry’s RV’s, I can see many will be very disappointed with the revaluation outcome.”

“There is always the option to appeal but the Government is currently revamping the Appeal Process which seems to be making it harder not easier to challenge the Valuation Office Agency. My advice would be to check your business rates and seek guidance from a professional Rating advisor who can navigate you through the new legislation and undertake the challenge on your behalf.”