The secrets of successfully running a golf club and attracting members have been identified in a new report from England Golf.
The results of the 2016 Golf Club Membership Questionnaire show that 30% of clubs in the United Kingdom increased their membership this year and it highlights trends and ideas which are working.
A warm welcome – a dedicated reception area, welcome packs and new members’ events are all winners.
Catering for different needs – a range of flexible membership packages to suit different lifestyles can attract more members. A major trend over the past two years has been for clubs to offer junior, adult academy and trial memberships.
Regular communication with members and visitors – this will help to retain as well as recruit members, but it’s important to use the right contact methods. One-third of clubs are missing the opportunity to connect with visitors who could be potential members.
Making more use of the club to increase income – opportunities include weddings and conferences, but these must be balanced with the members’ needs. A coffee shop is a big plus for attracting members, as is a crèche or children’s play area.
Becoming part of the local community – using a social media strategy will help to connect with local schools, clubs and other organisations. Highlighting beginner coaching, academy membership and added value deals can help to increase membership.
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink said: “The report gives us a snapshot of the golfing landscape and highlights ideas and solutions which clubs are using to grow their membership and which work. I hope that by sharing this information we will encourage and inspire other clubs to become even more successful.”
The biennial study was carried out by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC for England Golf and is based on responses from over 600 clubs.
Richard Payne, Senior Manager of Sports Accounts, said: “This is an insightful and challenging piece of research that has clearly demonstrated the benefits to clubs that have embraced strategies aimed to widen the appeal of the game and welcome golfers.
“In an age where consumers speak with their feet, ensuring that clubs deliver what golfers are demanding is critical to the future success of the game.”
Findings for the last two years show that the average number of club members has stayed largely the same at 460 in 2016, compared to 466 in 2014. The number of members aged 65-plus increased by 13%.
This year, 30% of clubs increased their memberships and their new members tend to play more frequently. Overall, there’s a slight decline in weekly golfers but an increase in those playing monthly.