Tue Oct 25 2011New Golfer Program – The Gatekeeper
Gates are used to either provide an entrance or to keep something out; what your golf facility needs is a gatekeeper. The game of golf was created for the enjoyment and pastime of the upper class and to a large degree we have continued to build the golf industry around this idea. Today, we find ourselves in a dilemma as the upper class find the game irrelevant and much of the middle class feel the game is too exclusive. With less rounds being played and less memberships being sold, we continue marketing to the existing pool of golfers only to find we are devaluing the entire market place.
Here is the good news; there are an abundance of non-golfers who would like to patronize your course. Research shows they think highly of the game and would love to give it a go; all they really need is an invitation through a well marketed New Golfer Program. Non golfers represent a massive market and tapping into this hidden group means that you will have first crack at attracting them to your facility creating a steady stream of new customers driving your business.
‘If you built it, they will come’ was the saying in the 90’s. We built golf courses expecting the growth of the game to continue. Today, we must change this saying to ‘if you build a New Golfer Program, they will come’. You might be surprised to find out that you have little or no competition, simply Google ‘New Golfer Programs’ for your demographic area. Most of you will find there is no internet evidence of any Programs, if there is nothing to be seen, the gates to the game and your facility are in fact closed in the perception on the non golfer. This should be alarming to professionals inside the industry as its proof that golf facilities have done very little to grow the game. The fact is, in the eyes of the public the game is still elitist.
One of the major issues I hear today is that there is know one willing or capable to manage a New Golfer Program. We think of our staff PGA coaches for this job but the reality is that although your pro may be a candidate for the position, he or she may not have the time or desire. Managing a program is a full time endeavor with a specific target and most PGA golf teachers target the existing golf population who are trying to improve their games through private lessons. In addition, managing a New Golfer Program may not be in line with their personal branding and could risk their credibility as a serious golf coach.
We must begin by creating a new position at your facility that will have a well defined roll, a Director who will champion your program; this person could possibly become the most significant person at the club in regard to growing your membership and revenue. You must be willing to rewrite the rules regarding this golf teaching position as it involves much more than simply teaching how to swinging a golf club. Below are 5 attributes I look for when hiring a program Director.
- Outgoing personality
- Passionate about golf
- Marketing experience
- Good Communicator
- Average or better player
You might notice that being a great player is not on the list, non golfers often find it intimidating, an enthusiastic caring personality is much more desired. Although good coaching and the ability to demonstrate are vital, the basics of the golf swing can be taught with minimal training.
To attract the right Director, your club must offer an attractive compensation package based on the clubs specific objectives. For example, if you would like to increase rounds or sell more club memberships, an aggressive commission plan will be in both parties best interest.
In most cases, the public will here about your New Golfer Program through the enthusiasm of your Director. They must have the freedom to gain as much exposure in the community as possible and should be supported by the facility. The value of the program itself will be secondary to the relationship and trust they form with the Director.
Your new Director will require a well defined job description, performance goals, training, and support network, the potential impact of their efforts is startling. It is not unrealistic that your Director could register 1 new golfer per day if they are working full time. The residual revenue created from having 365 new golfers each year is massive.
Contact me if you would like to talk about a New Golfer Program for your facility.
Click here to email Grant or call on (+61) (0) 421 287 826
Grant Garrison began his career as a PGA Golf Professional in 1984 and won a dozen professional events throughout the following 6 years. He left his playing days behind to became a Golf Club Director and managed 2 exclusive country clubs in Southern California from 1990-2000. During this period, Grant was elected as a board member of the Professional Golf Association of America and managed several "Grow the game" projects.
In 2000, Grant accepted a position with Nike Inc. and created over 100 Nike Golf Learning Centers throughout the United States. His responsibility was to create and implement new programs and provide on-going training to over 400 golf teachers. This program became the largest and most effective player development program in America.
In 2006, He started his own business in Los Angeles, California. The company specialized in high tech golf instruction using the latest bio-feedback learning systems. The company also provided custom equipment and repair. The company was sold in 2009.
In 2010, Grant became the National Golf Team Coach in the countries of Bhutan and Nepal and is the designer of the highest golf course in the world located between Bhutan and Tibet. He now resides permanently in Australia.
Click here to email Grant.
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