5 Things your golf club should do to retain members in the off season

If you are a golf club your main key performance indicator every year is how many members you have gained and retained. Your members are everything when it comes to success. They are what keeps the club alive and also are invaluable with regards to introducing new members. Yet some clubs do not effectively satisfy their membership which can be critical to retaining them.

Here’s 5 things your club can do to improve their member retention this off season

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COMMUNICATE

This shouldn’t be something that is new to anybody, it is however something that golf clubs become lazy with. I am writing this blog on the 25th anniversary of the internet being created and it’s because of this that communication has become so much easier. I plan on writing a post about communication itself in the coming weeks however it is crucial in my opinion that your golf club has 1. A monthly newsletter 2. An effective social media platform and 3. An effective mailing list.

Keeping your members “in the loop” is so important in making them feel involved/valued and also helps them to understand why decisions are being made.

REWARD

Loyalty should be rewarded. For example, If I’ve been a member for 5 years, why not organise a “thank you pack” with some sort of gift from the club. In the extreme case, if I have been a member for 50 years, why not give me a reduced “life membership”.

Something as simple as building a partnership with a restaurant meaning all members can eat there at 20% off.

A membership fee is expensive, something to “soften the blow” may be the difference between a member staying and going. Regardless it should make the membership feel as though their club values them.

Rewards Highway  Sign

IMPROVE

Appraisals happen in every walk of life. Every time we make a decision we review whether it worked or not. Sometimes golf clubs do not act upon this.

There should be evidence for members that the club is trying to improve on what went wrong in the previous year and trying to maintain what went well. Mentally it convinces the membership that their club is trying to move forward.

I love the idea of a “progress plan” for the year. This is something I wish my own golf club would do. The idea is that each committee member, be it greens, clubhouse, finance etc, all have a section of this “plan” where they detail what they have been through in the past year and what they PLAN to do for the upcoming season. There is nothing makes members ears prick up like plans for change especially if it sounds like constructive progress

COMPETE

If, like myself, you come from a climate where golf between the months of October and March is a very different game then you will agree that at times golf will be put to one side. This is a dangerous game for golf clubs.

If someone goes three months without playing and then they are handed a bill for hundreds of pounds who is to say that person isn’t going to say “I don’t really use it so I won’t bother renewing”.

Social events are brilliant and should be the norm at your club regardless of how healthy your membership is. They are not the answer in my opinion. Winter leagues and fun competitions are however! The weather may not always allow this but I guarantee you that if you get 20 people playing consistently in a league throughout the winter they will not even question their renewal come the start of the next season. Golf is an addiction remember, Feed the addiction.

DECIDE

My final tip for retaining members in the off season is make decisions. Golf clubs traditionally have annual general meetings at this time of year which is great however more needs to be done.

Decisions need communicated to members, proposals, votes, results, agreements. Make the membership feel as though they are a decision maker rather than just a customer who is there for the membership fee alone.

If a member is involved in the decision making process at every stage possible then they are a lot more likely to understand the reasoning behind it and furthermore accept its implementation. Email members updates, open online forums, make your member a decision maker.

 

Thanks for reading 🙂 What initiatives do your club have in place for retaining members? Does your golf club satisfy you at the moment? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I would love to hear them

 

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