Surveys and Reports

Exploring Social Support, Sport Participation, and Rural Women’s Health: A National Curling Study by Dr. Heather Mair

National Curling Club Survey

The 2003 National Curling Club Survey is the fourth survey carried out in the past sixteen years. Previous surveys were conducted in 1987, 1991, 1998, and 2003. The survey was mailed to 1,078 curling facilities in January of 2004 and also included directions on how to complete the online version at

The 2003 survey expanded on the questions asked in previous surveys with the purpose of creating a more detailed view of the business of our curling clubs and to set a broader set of benchmarks for the next survey in 2006-2007.

The survey contained six sections titled: Information, Building & Property, Membership, Operations, Management and Season of Champions. We received 491 responses to the survey spread evenly between paper versions and online submissions. The response rate is 45.55% which is up slightly from the 43.00% generated in 1998.

Curling Canada offered an incentive to clubs to complete the survey. The Livelong CC in Livelong, Saskatchewan was the recipient of the 1st prize and a 56” Toshiba rear projection television. The Dundas Valley G&CC in Dundas, Ontario were awarded 2nd prize and desktop computer, 3rd prize of a Guy Hemmings Tour Jacket went to the Riverfield CC in Howick, Quebec.

In the following survey information, all answers are a percentage of the actual number of responses to each question. In varying numbers, clubs chose to not answer a particular question therefore the data in this survey shows the number of “no answers” against the total of 491, while the data is shown against the actual number of actual responses. Occasionally, the percentages do not total 100% due to rounding or multiple answers. When a second question was asked to the main question, the resulting percentages were based on the number of responses to the specific question and not the 491 respondents.

Respondents to previous surveys – Historical (represents the total from each area against the total number of responses)

Province / Territory 2003 1998 1991 1987
British Columbia 12% 11% 10% 12%
Alberta 11% 14% 18% 13%
Saskatchewan 14% 20% 22% 20%
Manitoba 11% 12% 13% 13%
Ontario 32% 25% 22% 25%
Quebec 8% 8% 7% 4%
Atlantic 10% 9% 6% 10%
Territories 0.5% 1% 2% 2%
Anonymous 1.5% n/a n/a n/a

Survey Highlights

  • Of the 491 responses, 350 (71%) were from facilities with 2, 3 or 4 sheets of ice. The remainder were from clubs with 5 sheets of ice or more. The percentage of responses from 2, 3 or 4 sheet clubs versus the actual number of affiliated buildings of that size is 43% (350/806) and the percentage of responses from buildings with 5 sheets or more is 52% (141/272).
  • Facilities in small centres continue to dominate the Canadian landscape. 295 clubs who responded to the survey represented communities with populations of less than 10,000. A further 85 responses were received from clubs in communities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000. Finally, 88 responses came from clubs in urban centres with populations in excess of 50,000.
  • Previous surveys concluded that “the physical plant of curling clubs has aged considerably over the period of Curling Canada’s three surveys” (June 1998). The 2003 survey shows a different trend with 60% of clubs describing their refrigeration equipment as in “Good Shape” and less than 15% identifying the need to replace any of the critical components in the refrigeration system. In other areas of the building, the responses were similar with the single exception of “Walls and Roof” which 25% of clubs identified as needing replacing.
  • 47% of clubs (222) had their curling stones re-conditioned, re-sharpened, inserted or replaced since 1999 and 94% of the 222 were pleased with the results.
  • Only 39% of clubs pay property taxes (174 responses) and the majority, or 122 of the 174, pay $10,000 or less per year. 61% of the respondents (277) either do not pay taxes or are not responsible for the payment.
  • The comparison of electricity bills from December 2002 to December 2003 showed a small increase upwards in the price.
  • 80% of curling clubs have heated ice sheds or arena.
  • 297 clubs (60%) reported their buildings were entirely smoke-free while only 4% or 20 clubs reported buildings without smoking restrictions.
  • Results from the number of members and renters question will be analysed in a separate document. The numbers will be compared against clubs of the same number of sheets and then by community size.
  • The prices for curling memberships in Canada are literally all over the map. Unlimited playing fees range from less than $100 to upwards of $500. Mixed curling fees range from $50 to $250. One night a week curling – where applicable – also ranges from $50 to upwards of $250. Day time curlers pay anywhere from $50 to $250, although 30 clubs charge more than $250. Student or Intermediate rates are $150 or less. 50% of juniors pay less than $50 and 30% pay from $50 to $100. Youth curling is either free or under $50.
  • Since the year 2000, 41% of clubs reported increases in overall membership with an average overall increase of 43 members. 34% reported no change in their numbers and only 25% reported decreases which averaged 29 members overall.
  • Since the year 2000, 20% of clubs reported increases in overall renters with an average overall increase of 48 renters. 72% reported no change in numbers and only 8% reported decreases which averaged 36 renters overall.
  • 51% of respondents do not collect and/or store membership information on an electronic database system.
  • 55% do not have formal committees for membership recruitment or retention.
  • Club recruiting efforts were generally positive when using advertising, open houses, member-get-a-member or other promotion campaigns; however, the number of non-respondents to this question (anywhere from 40 – 75%) is alarming. Generally, we can assume the majority of curling clubs do not have formal recruiting campaigns.
  • 82% of clubs operate junior curling programs with an average club membership of 34.50 curlers.
  • 53% of clubs operate youth curling programs with the average club membership of 29.75 curlers.
  • Only 33% of clubs have enough trained coaches to deliver club based programs and/or clinics.
  • 391 of 462 clubs answered they had a computer at the club or relied on a member’s computer to do the club’s business. The computer is used mainly for storing membership information or for the financial accounting of the club.
  • 82% of clubs operate with some paid staff, though, of the 376 responses, 89% reported the ice maker as the paid staff. Only 43% (161/376) have paid managers; 58% (220/376) have paid cleaning staff and 50% (190/376) have paid bartenders.
  • 62% of clubs have capital reserve funds established for the replacement of critical equipment.
  • Curling clubs continue to communicate with their membership in the traditional newsletter format (82%) while only 16% communicate by e-mail.
  • Only 28% of clubs accept credit cards and 26% accept debit card transactions. Finally only 5% accept online payment for fees or other programs and services.
  • 65% of respondents do not have business or strategic plans in place.
  • 58% survey their membership on a regular basis but only 21% do exit surveys of non-returning members.
  • Curling clubs seem fairly successful in applying for and receiving grants. 289 clubs received grants from various sources for amounts exceeding $5,000.
  • A small number of clubs (89) have a form of volunteer management programs.