Golf is a sport which can be difficult to market. Though a well-maintained course will bring in lovers of the game, to maximize the potential of your club, you need to be aware of the best ways to bring in customers and increase membership.
Be Part of the Local Community
Engaging with the community surrounding a gold club can provide great marketing opportunities. Golf courses are often by necessity in a more rural area, and this means passing trade is rare, so new customers must be sought out.
Golf club management is a delicate balance between maintaining tradition and opening up enough to grow new business. Less formal open days can give a gentle introduction to people who might have never considered a golf club membership, and holding events, such as tournaments and charity drives, can bring in a host of new clientele.
If you run one of a number of clubs in your area, think about working with competitors to put together package deals, where 2 or 3 courses offer rounds over a week or long weekend. Bringing in local hoteliers or restaurant owners to the deal, can also forge useful business links.
Create the Right Atmosphere
Prospective members or players can be intimidated by a hugely formal atmosphere. First impressions are vital, and something as simple as training staff to greet and welcome everyone on arrival can help immensely with making people feel more comfortable, especially on a first visit.
Another thing to consider is decoration. Interior design should match the atmosphere you are looking to foster, and a blend of traditional materials, with a modern style can maintain a feeling of age and class, while looking fresh and up to date. Including appropriate signposting can be very useful, and not just for directions. It is a great idea to add ‘All Welcome’ signs to areas which are open to the public, to remove any doubt about where people may or may not go, and make them feel at ease. ‘Members Only’ areas are fine, provided they are clearly labelled as such.
Make Memberships to Fit Your Clients
Think about the economy and lifestyle in your area when setting membership prices and conditions. Find out how often your members make use of your facilities, and what other rewards you could offer to someone who only has time for one or two rounds a month. Membership must be worthwhile, so flexibility can be key.
Offering weekly, monthly, or yearly plans allows a range of people to find a membership which will fit into their lifestyle. You can also offer tiered memberships, bonuses, extras or deals to your most loyal members. Make sure all the information regarding your membership is easily accessible to all.
Don’t Forget Online Marketing
Bringing younger people in to golfing can be invaluable, and a great way to do that is through online marketing. Simple things like growing a Facebook account and posting about upcoming events can help you reach a target audience, and basically offer free advertising once you have put the effort in to build up the page.
Having an up to date website is also essential, your site should be easy to navigate, even on mobile devices. The internet is many people’s first, and in some cases only, source of information, so it pays to be easy to find online.
Effective marketing is a fundamental part of running a golf club. Branching out your marketing, and bringing in as many new customers as possible can breathe new life into your club, resulting in more memberships, and facilitating the growth of a vital community around your course.