Three tips for marketing to younger golfers

Martyn Gill
By Martyn Gill June 9, 2016 23:45 Updated

Golf is built upon solid foundations of tradition, history and integrity. And while we’re proud of its origins, it doesn’t mean that a golf club’s marketing strategy also needs to be something rooted to the past.

Recruiting new members, attracting non-members or social members, organising social events, selling merchandise, enticing golfers for professional lessons and hitting business objectives – all in the digital age – is something of a challenge in today’s highly competitive environment.

The macro factors affecting golf clubs are significant as much as they are worrying. That’s said, to pull in the punters through the doors, there are some things still within a golf club’s control – not least, a relevant marketing strategy

While golf is still a massive draw for millions of us across Britain, the figures indicate we’re up against it – we’re in the rough so to speak. According to England Golf, the governing body, between 2004 and 2013, one in five golfers in England gave up their club membership, with numbers falling from 882,184 to 707,424.

And while many secretaries will just revert to the trusted yet rusty pitching wedge that’s got them out of trouble each and every time as they try to preach to the converted, the grip is starting to wear thin and we’re facing troubled waters.

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Another key challenge, claims a report in the Financial Times referencing work conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys, is that ‘in the UK, the average age of golfers is up from 41 in 2009 to 45, while that of ‘avid golfers’ (those who play at least once a week), Is up from 48 to 63’.

So what?

Consider the impact of an aging golf membership at your golf club… Now consider the impact of an aging golf membership and a declining recruitment policy. Where will your club be 10 years from now? Attracting younger golfers to your club and retaining memberships is an ongoing challenge in a market place where memberships and participation have fallen.

The game of golf hasn’t changed – and, therein lies one if its greatest beauties, but perhaps it is time to recognise that the people now enjoying our great game, have.

The new generation of golfer engages differently. They are ‘mobile’ first, and ‘social’ first, they buy differently by putting time into researching online reviews first, and always expecting a first class customer experience.

And that’s why, to enthuse this audience, you might want to revisit that marketing strategy. The slick looking technology that is at your fingertips needs to be embraced.

A report written in The Times only three months ago claimed housing developers are snapping up failing golf courses for residential development.

Don’t let that be your club.

At Brandigital we have some tips to help you address these areas:

  1. Make it easy: Make it easy for new golfers to find you. Be easily accessible. Have presence on the internet, have a website and place yourself on social media. This new generation love convenience. And if you’re not searchable then you will not get a second chance.
  2. Engage appropriately: Communicate via means that your new audience uses, and not the way you do because you’ve always done so. Your new members engage using mobile. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Consider an app for your golf club, this can be a great differentiator.
  3. Use social. Facebook, specifically, is a perfect fit for golf course marketing. With next to no investment and with relative ease, you can very quickly build a dedicated page to have your followers leave comments and offer reviews – a great way to get endorsements.

Martyn Gill is from www.brandigital.co.uk, a company that can reshape your digital marketing strategy. For a free consultation email: info@brandigital.co.uk

 

Martyn Gill
By Martyn Gill June 9, 2016 23:45 Updated
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