Golf clubs witnessed an unprecedented boom last year with PlayMoreGolf’s data showing a 260% spike in members since July 2020. Today however, we find ourselves in limbo with golf courses closed and players unable to play their beloved game.
Golf clubs will no doubt be eagerly awaiting the Government’s response to a recent petition calling for golf to be allowed with appropriate safety measures – which now has over 130,000 signatures. But in the meantime, there’s plenty that clubs can be doing to prepare for the busy season ahead.
We sat down with the UK’s leading golfing consultant, Eddie Bullock, to get his view on how you can best prepare your club to hit the ground running when restrictions are lifted. Eddie is the expert behind the success of Golf at Goodwood and Woburn Golf Club, helping clubs to create value by focusing on mindset, behavioural change, and team culture building. Here he’s shared with us his top three tips for golf club success in 2021.
1. User Experience
What are the quick wins when it comes to user experience? Consider your customers journey and their touch points and what can be done to personalise them. This doesn’t have to be extravagant, making small changes such as personalised greetings when they enter the club car park or a locker with a name tag on it can make your golf club stand out. Ensuring how your customers perceive your golf club is essential if you want your members to be positive advocates for the brand.
Take the hospitality industry for example, during the pandemic high-end restaurants had to change their business overnight. Switching to delivery-only wasn’t easy, but one thing the ‘winners’ from the pandemic have taught us is that maintaining user experience is essential as it drives repeat orders.
How many times have you been asked to rate a product or service? Whether it’s a five-star Deliveroo driver or a four-star hotel, your experience as a user is being monitored and improved. Golf clubs today should be looking to drive their customer over and beyond five stars and should be aiming for six or maybe even seven-star service.
2. Golf tourism
This year, unsurprisingly, there’s likely to be some hesitancy about booking holidays abroad. With the possibility of travel restrictions extending into the future, for many, the UK will be the only viable holiday destination.
What if my club isn’t in a typical UK tourist destination? One option could be to collaborate with a handful of local courses and market yourself as a destination. This could be supplemented with a promotion or a discount if you book a round with more than one of the courses.
With the popularity of flexible golf memberships, such a PlayMoreGolf, players are willing to travel. By being able to spend their Flexi-Points at over 250 golf courses in Britain, this is a great way attract ‘tourists’ or those looking to play golf somewhere new.
Contactless golf brought about by COVID-19 has made online tee-booking technology into a must-have for golf clubs. This technology can help clubs to understand the finer details which can help to drive profitability. Knowing where the capacity is on your course and making that time more appealing to casual players (because you know your members don’t take those tee times) is a really simple quick win.
Thanks to PlayMoreGolf data, we know that the average age of members has dropped by six years to roughly 43 years. With golf being one of the fastest sports to open up again last year, many younger player were incentivised to try their hand at the sport for the first time.
Clubs can be put off by the cost of updating their tech, but you really do have to speculate to accumulate - especially when it comes to attracting new members. PlayMoreGolf has already helped hundreds of golf courses to implement onlin
e tee sheet and they can also work alongside your club to attract new members with the flexible offerings.
While we wait to find out when golf can be played again, golf clubs should be taking this opportunity to improve their offering, enhance customer experience and implement technology updates. No one wants the renewed interest in golf to be a flash in the pan and 2021 is an incredibly important year – we must encourage committees and boards across the nation to widen their membership offering to attract the future generations of members to their club.