Many golf clubs across the country are being hit hard by the changing economy and changing expectations of what it means to be a club member nowadays. Membership is not just about playing golf with mates on Saturday morning anymore.
There are two ways your golf club membership delivers you hidden benefits. You can use your club for networking to further your career, and for a multitude of other leisure and corporate services you may not have considered.
With numerous clubs nationally having in excess of 1000+ members, the professional networking opportunities available to you as a member are endless, especially if you are near a major city where most clubs’ membership bases are business executives and owners. You may not realise some of the members at your club are high-flying executive types who want to get away from the busy schedules they normally live.
Networking has always been one of the best means for finding a new job, a new client, or as a way to build long-term professional relationships. These are opportunities that you may be missing if you are strictly playing golf as a social player. Start by asking yourself how many members are at your club? How many do you personally know or have regular interaction with? Do you play with the same foursome each week?
Ask your PGA Pro or Club Manager to help you find some potential like-minded members to play with or even try starting your own club within a club. You could arrange for a group to get together for a monthly mixer and nine holes.
It doesn’t matter what type of membership you have, you should be networking heavily with your fellow club members or at least taking advantage of sponsoring the club’s newsletter, website or club event as a great way to advertise your name and company. This approach could see you reap a major return on your annual club fees. Also, ask your tax accountant about any tax breaks you could get if you were to join under a corporate-style membership category.
In the current economic climate, everyone is looking for ways to save money and more importantly to save time. How can supporting your club help save you time and money? Does the club offer any services you are currently paying for elsewhere, such as gym, pool or tennis membership? Could you use the club’s meeting rooms for your business events? If so, compare the costs of what you are currently paying for all these extra services with what your club is offering. You could easily save hundreds of dollars and at the same time divert revenue back to your club.
The new club operational models are focusing on becoming more family-centric and multi-purpose to help meet the needs of a changing market in an effort to retain current members and attract new ones. So don’t be surprised to see kids’ areas, beginner tee boxes, family pricing, and fun-style golf competitions, along with free room hires for member-introduced functions, monthly payment plans for annual dues, and member charge accounts. Not every club will be in a position to offer all of these, but it may be worth asking.
By supporting a club through member networking, club sponsorship and utilising their additional club services, not only will you save your own money, but you will also generate much-needed revenue for the club itself. Imagine if all members spent an extra $25 a month at their club. With 1,000 members it would equate to $300,000 in extra revenue each year, a huge win-win-win for everyone – the club, members and community.
Written by Mike Orloff Golf Operations Specialist © Golf Industry Central March 2009
Golf Industry Central provides a variety of member retention and growth strategies for clubs throughout the region. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further info or call on (+61) 0415 682 249.