As the UK’s first online flexible points-based membership programme, PlayMoreGolf (www.playmore.golf) aims to help private and proprietary golf clubs increase membership revenue by up to 50% over three years. GMé caught up with Jamie Carroll, director at PlayMoreGolf, to discover how the company can help generate significant financial benefits for golf club managers.
All of the latest market figures suggest that the majority of golf clubs are facing a decline in membership numbers due to more competition, a perceived lack of value and an ever-increasing number of people engaging with golf in non-traditional formats such as pitch and putt or par-3 short courses. It is clear therefore that ‘standard’ memberships are no longer meeting the requirements of a rising number of, typically younger, golfers, who are increasingly finding it hard to commit to playing golf regularly enough to justify a full club membership.
Recognising the specific requirements of this growing group of golfers, PlayMoreGolf (www.playmore.golf) launched in November 2015, with the aim of changing the way golf memberships are undertaken and appealing not only to the transient golfer, but also to avid club members who enjoy the social side of club life as much as playing, by providing golfers with more choice and flexibility.
Based on experience
PlayMoreGolf is the brainchild of the team that created the hugely successful De Vere Club, which launched in 2010 and attracted more than 18,000 new members to 12 golf clubs in just four years. Its success was based on many of the golfers buying into the fact that they were able to enjoy the benefits of a single club membership, combined with the flexibility of being able to play throughout the network.
This flexible approach to golf memberships was the key to its success and has provided the foundations for the PlayMoreGolf membership programme, as Jamie explains: “Back in 2010 we felt that the time was right to create a ground-breaking model to help golfers whose needs weren’t being met by the traditional style of golf membership and as a team, we learned how to create and administer the country’s most successful flexible membership scheme.
“The De Vere model was, naturally, limited to the clubs within the group, but we have utilised the experience to develop PlayMoreGolf, which is designed to be a more inclusive programme. It means hundreds of clubs throughout the UK can join and benefit from increased flexible membership numbers and revenues, while simultaneously improving the experience for golfers.
“We believe the more inclusive nature of PlayMoreGolf will not only encourage people back into the game – and get newcomers started – but also see them retained within the game over a longer period of time, particularly young and occasional golfers.”
How it works
The real key to PlayMoreGolf’s appeal is its simplicity for both golfer and club. For the golf club, a bespoke partnership is developed, enabling each venue to structure the relationship in a way that maximises the cost-effectiveness for its business. Then, once established as a participating club, PlayMoreGolf will connect golfers online as members, which has an immediate impact on revenues.
For the golfer, membership starts at £325 per year and despite only paying a small initial fee, the scheme allows members to nominate a ‘home’ club, which gives them the same benefits as full-members. Having become a PlayMoreGolf member the golfer is given a minimum of 100 points – 80 to be utilised at the pre-agreed ‘home’ club and 20 reserved for rounds at other participating clubs throughout the PlayMoreGolf network. Clubs simply need to determine how many points are redeemed for a round and, once a member’s points run out, they can purchase more and continue playing. At the end of each year when a member renews, any unused home points can be carried forward, free of charge.
However, the programme is not designed to simply replace ‘traditional’ memberships with new ‘flexible’ members, as Jamie comments: “Nothing beats the feeling of belonging to a club and the more people feel they belong, the more they will play and enjoy the game. Rather than replacing ‘traditional’ memberships though, PlayMoreGolf is designed to sit alongside clubs’ existing packages with the aim of appealing to the broadest number of golfers and providing a compromise between flexible and traditional memberships in order to maximise the amount of members and revenue for the club.
“With the De Vere Club for example, while it added more than 18,000 new members, the programme only saw up to 3% of the ‘traditional’ members migrating over to the flexible scheme. The detailed strategic plan we have designed for any venues looking to partner with PlayMoreGolf will ensure the transfer from ‘traditional’ memberships is kept to a minimum.”
In addition to the opportunity to increase member numbers and the detailed strategic plan, one of PlayMoreGolf’s biggest draws for golf club managers is the opportunity to take advantage of a series of bespoke support packages.
Jamie commented: “One of the key benefits of becoming a PlayMoreGolf partner is that a golf club will be provided with a complete sales, marketing and support plan at the start of the relationship. This package includes sales training, member acquisition marketing campaign support, a fully integrated customer relationship management (CRM) programme and a web-booking engine that directly interfaces with the club’s booking requirements, all of which are designed to add real value to our partner clubs.
“This complete sales and marketing support package ensures any additional administration tasks for the partner golf club are negated, while also enabling the venue to track each of its members effectively, safeguarding them against membership migration.”
The challenging climate the industry faces at present has forced many clubs to reassess their membership packages and despite only launching at the end of 2015, the programme has already been well received within the market. A variety of clubs up and down the country are already seeing the potential benefits of providing a more flexible approach to memberships.
Having previously worked with the team, De Vere Venues have recently announced that it is now a PlayMoreGolf partner, with locations such as Staverton Park, Wokefield Park and Wychwood Park joining the network. In addition, Selsdon Park Hotel & Golf Club, which is part of the Principal Hayley Group, Henley Golf & Country Club, Ullesthorpe Court Golf Club and Henlle Park Golf Club have also decided to become part of the ever-expanding network.
Key benefits for golf clubs
- Grow your membership revenue by up to 50% inside three years
- No risk growth opportunity
- Reduce the average age of your member by up to 20 years
- Grow your traditional membership
- Bespoke sales training support
- Member acquisition marketing campaign support
- Fully integrated Customer Relationship Management Programme (CRM)
- Web booking engine that interfaces with your booking requirements