Golf at Goodwood

Thanks to reader Phillip for this intriguing story from the Independent:

Lord March, the son of the Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Gordon and owner of Goodwood House - the Sussex pile famous for the Glorious Goodwood horseracing festival - would appear to be an unlikely disciple of Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the Greek founder of easyJet, the budget airline.

What is all of that Lord and Duke nonsense about anyway? Sorry, continue...

In January, March will unveil Golf at Goodwood, a concept that he hopes will prompt revolution in the hierarchical world of golf clubs, with their dress codes, prohibitive prices, long waiting lists for membership and snobbery.

Golf at Goodwood will be based on the easyJet principle that the cost of the service will be directly linked to demand - the lower the demand, the cheaper it will be. Golfers will buy "credits" and the number of these expended per round will depend on how busy the course is. There will be no dress code, no waiting list for new members and no parking space reserved for the secretary.

But the purists do not need to worry that they will be playing on a second-class course. Nestling on the South Downs with a view of the Isle of Wight, it was designed by James Braid, who created the famous King's and Queen's courses at Glen-eagles. Laid out in 1901, it has been under-used in recent years, but is seen by some aficionados as one of the finest downland courses in Britain.

So what is March up to? Why is this landed peer opening up his course to the hoi polloi?

He says he is trying to knock the elitism out of golf, or - as he puts it in a chillingly Blairite phrase - trying to create an "inclusive experience in an exclusive environment".

"Golf has very much been the domain of the stuffy members' club. I think there's a much younger audience who don't want that any more and aren't prepared to be told that they've got to wear certain things," he says.

"Take Formula 1, where everything is cornered off and hierarchical. It is impossible to get where you want to get unless you've got the right passes. You immediately feel that you are not good enough. We are keen to have none of that," he says.

 The story goes on to cite various numbers and more on the "concept."