Effective tips to get new (more) members


Creativity goes a long way when it comes to marketing your golf course. Presumably, getting new golfers or members to your club is always a challenge. While some clubs offer exclusivity for membership, the bottom line remains the same; it is all about getting more members and improving your profits.

Get on the drive

As a golf course operator, you would desire to have as many members as you can get. Whether you are an exclusive club that charges premium rates or a run-of-the-mill driving range, the objective is to get as many golfers in as possible and to be fully-booked as frequently as possible. Is that even possible in the current economic climate and situations? Here are some proven ways.

Start branding internally, succeed externally

Whatever plans or strategies that you have in mind, you need everyone in your team to be on board. Since this is all about getting new customers, you need to communicate how important this is to your employees. This starts with everyone in the reporting structure more importantly among those in the frontline. What you want to achieve here is to have everyone understanding the same thing and on the same page about the goal and objective, you seek to achieve.

  • Changing content with the times – This is one aspect that many operators tend to neglect. Whether you are on a website or on social media, you need to maintain fresh content. Information cannot be outdated. If you have updated your green fees, you need to shout it out at every possible platform. Social media would surely be the first so that your customers do not get caught out cold. Then you need to update your website as well as email marketing. Check and validate your email list. If you have those that bounced, you have to remove them so that your emails do not get a poor rating with the server of your customers’ emails.
  • Build your brand with a signature hole – Each golf course is unique and that makes a lot of difference when it comes to having people remember you. In most cases, there is always one particular hole that players will remember your golf course for. It could be the most picturesque or it could well be the toughest. That would be your signature hole. That can be the brand image of your campaign. Use the signature hole to your advantage by building your brand around it.
  • Use tech to your advantage – Gone are the days when golf courses use virtual walkthroughs as they are not as real as they are supposed to be. Technology is now at your disposal, hence, you can surely make use of them. Invest in a drone to take flyover videos. This gives your members a real look and feel of the surroundings, the environment and the size of your course. Videos should be used for every hole in your course so that members get to understand your layout better. You can use them for tutorials as well as marketing.
  • Relook into your website design – You might be spending a lot of effort in driving traffic to your website but what really happens when they get there? What do you want them to do when they visit your website? Do you have the right functions to keep them there and to do something that will benefit them or will they leave empty-handed? You would want them to book a round of golf at your course or at least send in an inquiry. To do that, make sure that your website is appealing and has the right design elements. If your design is dull and stale, it is time to change it.
  • Use current tech – Mobile apps are big businesses. If you are not on this platform, you are surely losing out to your competitors. Develop a mobile app (or get someone to do it) that allows users to book a game, buy products and keep their scores. They form a social community of players in your golf course where you can now implement push notifications directly to them.
  • Videos and tutorials – If you haven’t already done this, then it is time to seriously consider it. Use podcasts if possible. They are adopted in almost every industry imaginable. Set up a podcast or a video tutorial on how to improve golf swings, getting the right apparel, improving the game and such and that will surely create more awareness about your course.

Get onto social media

This is the go-getter for any business today. Social media like Facebook and Instagram gives you the most visual platform to market your services. For starters, you can find customers who fit your target segment and that is crucial. You can also use geotagging and hashtagging which works wonders to find the locations of your intended customers.

A social media contest is always welcomed. They provide you with a good plan to generate responses. What you want to do with social media contests is to encourage more people to share, comment and like your posts. This is perhaps one of the most underrated strategies that golf courses can use to engage with their members (current and potential).

  • Invest in good images – Your branding strategy must be impeccable and of good quality. Good images will surely push the visuals up and attract a better response. What you want to show is to highlight your facilities and only beautiful pictures can do that. Since new members tend to go through your website before deciding if they want to play there, they want to have the best visuals that can lead them on. This is where you need to start thinking about investing in better photography equipment or hire a professional photographer. If that is not in your budget, then use tutorials and the tools available with the latest smartphone cameras.
  • Integrate your customer list with Facebook – Facebook offers a wide range of functions that can do wonders for your campaign. One of them is that you can integrate your email list with your account. This move is also known as remarketing and it can be very powerful to re-engage with those who have knowledge about your course. You can use it to push new promotions or content.
  • Use Social Media with your pro golfers – On social media, it makes a lot of difference when there are experts who showcase their skills and technical know-how. What you want to do here is to get your pro golfers involved to be influencers for your golf course. Encourage and engage them to write reviews or blog about playing on your premises.
  • Be aware of your profiles –  When you have a business profile online, you might want to keep your reviews in check. Whether it is on Google Business or Yelp or any other similar platforms, check and see what your customers are saying about your golf course in these platforms. If you have a bad review, then see what you can do to rectify the situation. These are places new customers will arrive at whenever they do a search, so you might want to take note of its power. Remember that more than 90% of people will read online reviews before they decide to visit a business establishment. So, this is where your reputation plays a vital role. You might not ensure all positive reviews, and your viewers are aware of that but the lesser you have negative reviews, the better it will be.

Targetted marketing works

One crucial aspect of this marketing platform is able to communicate directly to them and that is where D2C (Direct-to-Customer) strategies work. It is important though to first determine where your customers are and what platform they mostly use before charting out.

  •  Marketing and remarketing – Use remarketing pixels on your website so that your customers get a better brand recall of your golf course. The ads will follow them around when they visit other websites. By using remarketing pixels, you get better hits and you get to access the list of visitors who visit your website.
  • Target the millennials – Golf is no longer a game for older people. It has now grown to the younger generation and being in this market will surely push your golf course high up the rankings. The millennials are those with social media accounts and who are very active. They are vocal and they like to have fun. If you can target this segment, half of the battle is won.
  • Use messaging apps – WhatsApp is the most widely-used messaging app in the world today. But that does not mean you can broadcast and blast any message at any time. You need to plan and strategize. Find out where your golfers are communicating and then use them intelligently. They could well be on Telegram or on Signal, you just need to be aware. Always provide them with some value in your texts.



Incentivise your customers for sharing

You do not want anyone’s good experience at your golf course be forgotten. Give golfers some form of incentive for sharing about their experience on their social media page. It helps that they hashtag your course too. This can be done through various form of encouragements like discounts on their next game, promotions at the Pro Shop or recognition for great shares. Alternatively, you can use a loyalty point system. For the best post of the week, award extra points for the winner.

Use email marketing

Email is not an old marketing tool. It has been around for quite some time but it works wonders. You need to look at the outlook of your emails. Almost all golf courses today still depend on emails to reach and connect with their players. You can send out newsletters or discount vouchers and you can be sure to get good responses. Make use of your database and blast emails whenever you need to. But be careful not to be too frequent or it could just be sent straight to the thrash. One trick you need to know is that you must be more targeted in your mails. CRM tools like Saleforce allow you to create automated emails by segregating your receivers and scheduling them. This is extremely useful whenever you need to send a birthday email or for special occasions.


There is no doubt that e-commerce has grown exponentially since the global pandemic occurred. There is no better time than now to venture into e-commerce so that your Pro Shop can continue to sell products to golfers. While you might not expecting them to buy all the time, it helps that golfers know you exist in this market.

Online booking tools

Let your members know that you are staying ahead with the times. When they book for a game, the process should be online and automated. This should be extended to even checking in and payment. Let the booking experience an seamless one and truly convenient. In the long run, you stop using physical phone calls and will surely save on cost. Remember to embed this in all your platforms (web and mobile).

Start them young

Think about starting a young golfer’s programme. Provide classes and work with local schools on how to push the game, introducing them to the younger generation. It might cost a bit from the start, but the long-term positive effects can be very beneficial.

Golfing Events for the Community

Target the families

On special weekends (once or twice a year), host a golfing event for families. Encourage your members to bring their family members and organize golf games (telematches). This will surely give them something to remember you by and each year, they will come back for more. This way, you nurture new golfers, create more positive perception of the game and push your brand higher. Another event you can host is on International Women’s Day. When you are a lady-friendly golf course, you become more inclusive and positive reviews will surely come your way.

Execute a loyalty programme

In golf, your customer’s loyalty is very crucial because that would mean they come back to play whenever they want to. Knowing that they can collect points which can be redeemed in the future give them an extra push to want to come back. Ensure that they are always aware of their balance and that they should have no problems using the points whenever they want to.

Recognize collectors with the most points

Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers. This means that there are those who spend the most and they will continue to do so. Hence, it will make a lot of sense when you reward the top spenders in your golf course because that will push them to continue staying loyal to your brand.



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