You want to attract new members to your golf club.
But you’re not sure where to start.
If it’s of any comfort, you’re definitely not the only one.
Attracting new customers to a golf club is not very easy because those who are already into golfing may already have a preferred club that they frequent and those who are thinking about taking up the sport have lots of options to choose from in many areas.
So, if you are trying to come up with methods to increase your golf club’s membership, you need to start thinking outside the box.
One of the most important things you have to do, if you are not on it already, is to become digitally smart.
In this day and age, it’s impossible to attract more members and keep them coming back to your golf club without enlisting the help of social media platforms.
Without further ado, let’s dig into the top 20 ways to attract more new members to your golf club.
1. Start by knowing your market
One of the easiest ways of attracting additional members for your golf club is to analyze the preferences and characteristics of your current members.
By doing so, you will know what services and products to market towards new individuals.
For example, if you know that the majority of your membership is in a certain age bracket and lives within a 30-minute drive of the club, you can concentrate your marketing on those characteristics.
It goes without saying that they also need to know whether you are the main audience that has children, so you can add family-friendly activities or parent-child golfing classes.
2. Don’t forget about word of mouth
Yes, this is an old-school strategy, but don’t make the mistake of dismissing it straight off the bat.
It has probably been in use since golf courses were first invented, and believe it or not, it still works.
Word of mouth might not bring you insane amounts of new customers, but it still brings in lots of new customers, particularly from the pool of people who are apprehensive about paid advertising.
Satisfied customers promoting your golf club to their friends are a priceless commodity, so do your best to keep them happy, and they’ll do free advertising for you.
3. Run a member introduce a member scheme
This strategy is closely related to the one above, word of mouth.
Statistics show that many people join a club because they are invited by someone who is already a member.
This is particularly true for golf because this is generally a game that people don’t play alone, so if they have friends or work colleagues with similar interests, they are likely to bring them to their club.
By running a member, introduce a member scheme, you can get members that will be with you for life, so make sure you don’t skimp on the incentives.
4. Run a spouse program
Similar to the previous strategy, you can get good results by encouraging existing members to get their spouses to join the club.
To make sure this is a good strategy for you, it’s a good idea to do the math and find out how many couples you have as members.
If you already have a lot, a spouse program won’t be a good idea, as you will end up offering discounts on memberships that you’re already receiving.
But if you don’t have many husband and wife members, you should consider offering an incentive for couples.
5. Invite previous members back
Many golf course managers overlook this one, but you can recruit new members by merely inviting some of the old members back.
Even though they left at some point, their circumstances may have changed. Perhaps they are in a better place financially, or they may simply have more time to start playing again.
Sending personalized letters to previous members to invite them back is not a difficult strategy to pursue, and the results might surprise you.
6. Add extra benefits to the membership
Customers who see more value in membership are more likely to subscribe to a particular package.
You don’t need to break the bank by doing so. Some examples include allowing guests to bring guests one or more times a month and offering flexible payment.
Have a look at the perks this golf club in Scotland offers so you can get some ideas that you can implement.
7. Look into offering strategic partnerships
Not all golf courses have lots of facilities and amenities on site. If that’s the case for you, you can partner with some of the nearby businesses nearby to make up for that and be able to offer your customers all the facilities they may want.
For instance, you can partner with a nearby gym to offer members discounted rates, or with a local swim club, so members who want to use a pool can have a place to go at preferential rates.
8. Offer freebies
There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t like a freebie.
And the good news is that you don’t need to spend much to offer free incentives to attract more new members to your golf club.
You can start by giving away some free rounds of golf to offer prospective clients the chance to see how they like your course before they become full members.
This is especially important if you’re not yet a fully established business and want people to give it a try and then tell their friends and neighbors about the new golf course that’s a short drive away.
9.Keep your website updated
We assume you do have a website for your golf club (if not, stop everything and rectify that).
You don’t need to spend a fortune on your website, but it’s vital to keep it updated with all the information members and prospective clients need.
This info includes opening hours, clear instructions on how to get to the golf course, and any current offers and promotions you may have.
If you don’t have a budget for a website with all the bells and whistles, that’s not an excuse not to have a website at all.
This article from SmallBizTrends.com has a list of free website builders that are suitable for small businesses.
10. Social media is your best friend
It’s not enough to have a website. You also need to promote it, so people know about its existence.
Fortunately, we live in the social media era, so you can get huge benefits from promoting your golf club on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
As every marketing plan is different for every golf club, you need to do what works for you, but it’s always a good idea to check out what the competition is doing on social media and try to replicate their success.
This article from Moz is the perfect way to start if you are a beginner when it comes to promoting a business via social media.
11. Take your digital presence to the next level
After you have established a social media presence, it’s time to take it to the next level.
By doing so, you’ll be able to attract new members to your golf club, especially from the pool of millennials who are now old enough to be interested in golf.
According to Pew Research Center, Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996, who are ages 24 to 39 in 2020.
Approximately 35% of the US workforce will be made up of millennials by the end of 2020, and the percentage will only continue to grow beyond that.
As such, try to attract and retain more golf club millennial members who do most of their research digitally, as this can make or break your business strategy.
12. Get as visual as possible
Giving prospective members a good idea about what they can get if they become members is easily done by opting for a super visual approach.
From posting numerous photos regularly on your social media accounts to printing flyers and local ads, you can easily incorporate visual elements to entice new customers.
13. Modernize the game of golf
With many potential players being incredibly busy these days, you should think about incorporating strategies to cater to their lifestyle.
If any of your members-only have time to come for two hours a week, for instance, you can think about strategies such as turning an underused 18-hole course into a nine-holer to enable people to play a shorter version of the game.
14. Promote special deals
Try to offer special deals from time to time to attract new customers.
Promote them on social media and in-person as well, as some of your existing members might spread the word on their own if they see you have a good deal going on.
Have a look at this article from Business Know-How to learn more about how to spread the word about your special offers organically.
15. Offer various subscription-style memberships
To entice more prospects to take up a membership, you should offer a variety of memberships to cater to various needs.
Only offering classic seven-day memberships is not enough, as many people are too busy to enjoy the benefits they provide.
Instead, focus on developing weekend memberships or monthly payment memberships that don’t require a year-long commitment.
16. Print and distribute flyers
Yes, going digital is the way to go, but you shouldn’t forget about your older audience.
Printing and distributing flyers, especially when you have a good deal going on, it still an excellent way to attract new members who were thinking about taking up golf anyway.
According to data from SoloPress.com, flyers are still a very effective marketing tool, with 57% of recipients opening flyers when it just arrived.
17. Send regular newsletters by email
If you don’t have an email list, the time to start it was yesterday.
By collecting email addresses from members, you can send regular newsletters and keep them informed about any updates and special offers.
Check out this comprehensive guide on creating email newsletters to boost your strategy.
18. Start a blog and keep it updated
Members like to be updated on what’s going on with their club, and a blog is one of the best ways to do it. Just make sure all the content you post is relevant and that you update the blog at least once a week.
There are lots of resources out there that can help you plan a blogging strategy for small businesses, but this article from Forbes is a very good place to start.
19. Host special events for prospects
Many people who consider signing up for a golf membership don’t want to do so without testing the club first and getting an answer for any questions they might have.
By hosting special events for prospects, you give potential new members a chance to ask questions and test-drive the club before signing up.
20. Lower or get rid of initiation fees
Initiation fees can deter prospective customers who are shopping around for a new golf club.
If you have an upfront cost for joining that’s too high, prospects may be reticent to join because they won’t be sure they would use their membership enough to justify the initiation fee.
Golf club managers who can’t afford to get rid of the initiation fee altogether could look into options such as waiving it for members who sign up for a three-year membership, for example.
To sum it up, there are numerous ways to get more members at your golf club, ranging for catering to the lifestyle of millennials, who will be your main base of customers in the following decades, to offering all kinds of incentives for new members to join.
No matter what methods you decide to implement to increase your golf club memberships, remember to stay ahead of the competition and provide the best possible service to your customers.