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Absent Membership

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    I am a full member (since childhood), but my husband (also since childhood) and my adult children are absent members. We all live in the USA. I understand there is discussion to reduce Absent Members’ days at the Club from 14 to 10 – and to increase the fees from 20% to 30% of full membership. The current 14 days for 300 GBP seems a fair cost, but 10 days at 30% seems unfairly expensive. Not my preference but if Absent Membership is increased to 30% then the number of days should be increased to 20. I would also point out that for the past two years, none of us have been able to visit London due to the pandemic so we have not used any days and have not complained! Synopsis: Our recommendation, which has worked well, and seems fair for the situation of our family, is to leave Absent Membership at 14 days for 20% of full membership cost. I would also like to point out that Absent Members are at a disadvantage when Open Meetings are held in person to discuss this topic, as they are unlikely to be present, and therefore not represented in the discussion. Online meetings would make this possible. It is appreciated having the record of the meeting to read afterwards online but that does not let one have one’s say at a live meeting unless held by Zoom or similar.


    Thank you for your comments. We have tried to provide a variety of options for members to respond both online and offline but I understand it’s not always possible for members to make meetings in person. I’m adding the link to your forum thread in our next Horizon Update email to see if other members would like to contribute to the points you have made.


    I totally agree with the views expressed Mrs Josephs. The absent membership costs should be left unchanged. It seems unfair to hit them twice via fees and access. In most cases these members continue to support the club through their membership whilst hardly using it.


    We fully agree with Mrs Josephs, being in a similar position, albeit in France. We last visited the Club in January 2020 and hope to be there for the first time since then in November. Almost two years paying our subscription but not able to use the Club. We strongly endorse keeping the status quo. Peter and Carolyn Bear


    As the parent of an absent member living in the US, I fully support the comments above and would strongly oppose any increase in absent member subs above inflation. Like many absent members, my son is rarely able to visit the club and there would be no benefit to him in increasing the number of days he is able to visit. He values the link with the club and the ability to visit it occasionally on his rare trips to the UK.

    John Shuffrey


    As a parent of two absent members-one in Australia, the other in Africa, I agree with the comments opposing changes to absent membership. I suspect a lot of absent members are not able to take up the existing allocation (this will have been exacerbated by the pandemic). It therefore seems unfair to increase their fees and reduce the frequency of their visits. Much of the debate over membership categories relates to concerns about overcrowding on busy (summer and sunny) days. By their nature, absent members do not generally contribute to overcrowding.

    Julian Holloway


    I am an absent member and based in France. I agree with the points made above and would be against both increasing our membership fees and reducing the number of days we can come to the Club. If I had to choose the lesser of two evils then I would prefer to have the number of days use of the Club reduced and keep the membership fee to 20% of full membership.


    Absolutely agree with all of the above re absent membership . It is just putting money first – pure and simple . Please can we look at Country Membership as well . The 75 mile limit ( 150 mile round trip ) is bonkers with traffic the way it is nowadays . One has to reside in the English Channel to qualify . We manage to visit the Club only a handful of times each year and things will only get more difficult with the ULEZ and the introduction of more and more low traffic neighbourhood schemes . We pay a full membership and a spouse membership so each visit works out at about £300 . We are loathe to give up our membership as one never knows how life will pan out but we have paid 12 years full subscription now for the two of us with tiny usage and it feels so unfair ..


    I totally agree wth the above comments. I live in Portugal and have not been able to visit the Club at all in 21 months. Even without the pandemic I would normally only expect to visit a few times a year which I suspect is similar for most absent members. The charitable thing to do if we are going to be asked to pay more to further subsidise the usage of regular users is to allow us more access, not to cut it back. The reality is that most will not avail themselves of this anyway, but it would make us feel more part of the club and able to use it more on the occasional longer visit to the UK.

    As a comparison my London golf club allows overseas members 31 playing days per year which have to be taken in no more than 4 visits to the UK per year. The overseas membership fee is similar to the 20% of Full levied by Hurlingham. This seems a fair arrangement whereas the current proposal under discussion at Hurlingham does not.

    Nigel Atkinson


    I have to agree with all of the above, as a absent member since 1993 I have attended the club at most 10 days in total. My mother who also is a absent member is 87 and has used the club in the past 10 years perhaps 15 day in total. I am not quite sure what the rational for increasing the fee and decreasing the days is. The club should look at the average number of days used by all absent members which will – for sure – show that the average usage is far less that the current allotted time.

    I am convinced that the idea is to generate additional revenue to fund the “horizon” projects. A more advantageous option is to adopt the North American club’s entrance fees model which can be as much as $80K for a senior member entrance. through membership attrition this can be a significant source of revenue versus small taxation of the absent members.

    I am convinced the leadership will do the right thing



    I used to be an annual member and agree with the thread. One barely uses the club and it’s facilities but contributes a steady income stream and to reduce access at greater cost would seem punitive. I used to joke that my two trips a year used to cost me £150 a swim which even by London standards is expensive. I never predicted I would come back to London but kept membership just in case – and that was indeed a fortunate thing when life throws a curve ball.

    John Salmon

    Having dug out my membership card, I see I was last at the Club in 2016. In any particular year I am unlikely to come to the Club more than twice. As a member of over 40 years, it would be sad to be forced out by an unreasonable financial squeeze. I would urge the committee to consider whether a 30% membership fee for minimal club access is reasonable.


    Is there an argument for the Main Committee, who we select to steer the Club for us, to consider market forces?

    We have a Waiting List of over eight thousand people who are prepared to pay an Entry Fee of triple the sub (£4,500) and an annual sub of £1,500.

    We have Absent Members who, mostly, do not use the Club but want to retain their ability to revert to being Full Members.

    The cap on Membership numbers is supposed not to exist but, in some form or other, it does.

    So it is essentially a “one out so one in situation”.

    Market forces would be one way of determining the ‘fair’ Absent Member discount.

    Some might even argue it is more democratic and less focussed on entitlement and priviledge?

    Notice the question marks!


    Sam B

    I agree that it is unfair to increase the costs of absent membership and to change the requirements. There are many, who – for whatever circumstances – are unable to visit the club for a period of their lives. Unlike a gym or other service, it is not possible to pause or give up membership and then rejoin, which means those people effectively pay for the privilege of rejoining at a later point.

    I personally would be in favour of allowing people to “pause” their membership for whatever reason they choose, for a modest annual fee (say 10% of whatever the usual cost would be), but they would not be members during that time and not be entitled to visit the Club.

    Of the various options for taking up this option, the most obvious would be moving abroad, but there would be others – e.g. student members who spent 1/2 the year or more far from the club and for whom the cost is otherwise a real burden; those who for whatever reason have had to move out of London (or to the other side of London) making regular visits difficult …

    Currently the fact that the one cannot rejoin the club, due to the waiting list (or lack thereof), means those who (for whatever reason) are unable to visit the club regularly pay a steep price for retaining membership for some point in the future.

    If the Club needs to raise income, I would prefer to see it do that in other ways, e.g. increase the joining fee for new members who are not children of current members. If overcrowding is sought to be an issue, then we need simply to reduce the number of members, which will happen naturally over a 10-15 year period, i.e. simply not let in new people until there is thought to be space. Another solution would be to look at reciprocal club rights – I know that many visitors to the club are in fact reciprocal members (e.g. of overseas clubs or of other London clubs such as the East India). I would cut back on such reciprocal rights.

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