Date: April 27, 2017
Author: Paul Vardy

Tapping into the 800,000 social golfers

lign="left" />

On average 22% of golf club members are aged 25 – 44 years.*  People in that age bracket form a significant part of Australia’s 800,000 estimated non-club golfers. So, why do clubs struggle to attract these people?

The answers are many and varied, however, one reason is that lifestyles change dramatically around the late 20’s, early 30’s.  People get busier and have less time for pursuits such as regular golf.  At the same time, age concessions on subscriptions typically offered by clubs come to an end. 

So what is a club to do?   Many clubs struggle with the concept of offering concessions to members in their 30’s and 40’s.   Quite rightly clubs don’t want to cannibalise their traditional higher-priced offerings.  Yet, there is often a feeling that the club has to do something.

Some things to consider at your club:

1. Look at it from the 25-44’s perspective.   Find out what’s preventing these people from purchasing your membership? Is it simply price or are there other factors at play?   If you only had time in your life for a dozen games a year, would you be comfortable paying a full membership?  What are the alternatives?

2. Get creative.  Develop a few membership products for your committee to consider that offer reduced playing rights at a lower price.    Estimate how many new members you’d like to attract and the revenue this would generate.   How many members in this age bracket are currently in higher categories (such as full or 6 day)?  Are they significantly utilising their higher priced membership?  How many resign on average each year?   If you introduced a new category (say for 25 – 44’s), how many existing members seek to downgrade to the new category?  Can you test this?  What would subscription downgrades cost you compared to what you could save from resignations prevented?  Can you protect your existing categories by limiting movements to the new category with a cap (i.e. maximum 40)?  Can you put in place a restriction whereby members can only downgrade if they have proposed a new member to the club?

3. Think longer term.  How can the members in the newly developed category be encouraged to elevate to full membership over time?  How can you introduce a member nurture program that tracks their movements, communicates directly and embeds them into the club over a 3-5 year span?  How can you better utilise the services of your golf professional (or community instructor) to help the new members improve their golf and become more active?  A sense of progress is a big motivator.  Can you create special events for this segment of players to encourage them to play more golf?  How many of these potential members have families?  How can you encourage their kids to join your MyGolf program?  Can you invite a spouse/partner to a Swing Fit program?  You have their details.  Can you surprise them with a family lunch offer? How can you get your ideas in place for your membership drive in October’s GOLF MONTH campaign?


* 2014 Golf Participation Report