How to market your club to boost member retention

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 13, 2016 03:49 Updated

How to market your club to boost member retention

The lifeblood of many golf clubs is built around member retention, so marketing to your existing members is a sensible idea. One way to do that, explains Jane Carter, is via a benefits package that could also bring in advertising revenue

With winter upon us and a new season looming, it’s time to take stock of your membership retention programme. Building benefits around being a member of your golf club is a simple but very powerful way to start. Work with the local community to offer real additional value to your golf club members

It is always important for you to know and keep communicating the benefits of being a member of your golf club but it’s just as important to constantly review them and keep adding more if you can.

Enterprising golf clubs are building as much value as they can into being a member and they do not always have to be golf related. A golf club is a part of a local community and working with businesses outside – sometimes those even owned by your members – can be very beneficial.

You have your own media channel

A golf club can forget that in these days of the internet it is now in control of its own media channel. It has visitors and members regularly visiting its website. It is likely communicating on a frequent basis via email. It has the traditional media we associate with golf clubs – tee boxes, score cards, newsletters, sponsored notice boards, menus, leaflets, even beer mats.

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All are regularly used and viewed by a valuable local audience and with some thought you can use those medium to promote valuable benefits to your own membership

Start with your website

The easy way to start is to build a package of benefits for a local business. For example, an advert on the partner pages of your website, a slot in your member newsletter four times a year; a banner advert scrolling across your member pages, a promotion of the month to your members.

You may only have 500 members – but remember this is a targeted campaign to a local audience who more than likely are in the demographics of local businesses. Car dealership, estate agents, solicitors, builders, local delicatessens, the new shop opening the in the high street, the local travel agent will all be interested.

Don’t forget that you have plenty of people visiting your website – hopefully? Use the opportunity to promote your partner businesses. Taxi firms, local accommodation providers, restaurants (including your own of course); other attractions if you are in a tourist area.

Use your direct communication channels

As well as just placing an advert on your website or in your monthly newsletter, remember you are constantly communicating with your members (or should be) through email. Why not run an offer of the week or month using local business benefits. This is good publicity for them – for which they should be paying – and a valuable perk for your members.

Build a valuable set of benefits

Importantly this is not just about promoting local businesses but building a set of benefits for your members which are a key message in your retention programme. Every time you engage with a local company find out what they can offer. It may be a regular discount; it may be a special one-off promotion on opening. The ideas are many and varied and usually the businesses themselves will have plenty of them. Your members are a good place to start as many will own businesses – or work for them – and they should be given first right of refusal at any opportunity to promote to their fellow members. Even if you have more than one often competing business (solicitors for example) there are 12 months in a year and plenty of opportunity to work with everyone. Each can take an advert on you website with a link to their own website and then it is up to your members and visitors to decide.

And generate revenue as well

Another added bonus is that as well as building a benefits programme, you can also generate some revenue. Golf clubs are obsessed with selling tee boxes which can be hard work and difficult to fulfil with constantly having to change or update signage. Your website, email newsletters are quick and easy to update and remove advertisers or add them as the year goes by.

A simple offer to a local business for a package of communication – ad on the website, three ads in the newsletter, two email campaigns a year – at £150 a year, 10 businesses adds up to £1500 – with the bonus of an off the shelf membership benefits programme ready to go!

Call Jane on 07918 636841, email or visit


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 13, 2016 03:49 Updated
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