Surveying your members

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick August 12, 2021 14:33

Understanding your members’ needs is essential to retaining them, and the best way of doing this is by surveying them. One proponent of this method is Fairway Credit, which details here why it surveys its hundreds of golf club customers every year.

How do you convert a pay-and-play golfer into a fully-fledged member?

An incredible 2.3 million additional golfers played at least once in 2020, with 36 percent returning to the game and 16 percent trying the game for the first time. The game’s appeal to women continued to grow with one in four of the women playing in 2020 being new to the game. £56m in new-player fees were injected into clubs in 2020 based on average pay-and-play green fees at circa £24.73 per round. These statistics suggest that the future is bright for golf post-pandemic, and now is the time to act.

What more can you do to keep this once-a-month player or even once-a-year player?

The growth in lower-cost ‘lifestyle’ memberships and other more flexible points-based schemes is a good place to start. The more attractive price point gives the occasional golfer the ability to establish themselves at a club and, over time, progress to full membership. Family memberships or corporate partnerships may be another method of increasing your appeal and attracting new blood.

The list of membership options could be endless, but, and this is the crux of the issue, ‘it has to work for your patrons’.

Many businesses worldwide including many golf clubs think they know their customers, ploughing forward with committee-led ‘if it’s what we want, it’s what everyone wants’ decisions, and there’s no doubt this method can bring success. However, we all know that even the decision of a well-balanced committee may not meet the wants and needs of the majority, thus diminishing their offer, product or service, pushing customers towards their rivals instead.

How can you stop this from happening?


Gaining customer insight from your members can seem daunting as you never know what ‘can of worms’ you might open, but it is a great way to give your members and guests a forum to open up to you. Many businesses survey their customers and prospects to find out exactly what they want from them, whether that is a new product, a new fee structure, better opening times and so on, the list is endless. The most important part of any survey is to find out what your customers think of you, your club, your services and the golden ticket item, if they would recommend you to others. The latter is easy to get an answer on, you add in the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question, set on a scale of 0 to 10 that is then played through a weighting model to provide you with an NPS score. Here is the standard question:

‘With 0 being unlikely and 10 being very likely, would you recommend our golf club to your friends and family?’

This type of question will help you identify who your supporters are and more importantly who are not. By using an NPS generator (these are abundant online) you will be able to gain a score which is recognised around the world. The score is based on subtracting your 0 to 6 scores from your 9 and 10 scores (7 to 8 are deemed neutral) to give you your final NPS score. Once calculated, if your final score is over 1 this is seen as a good result, 30+ is great and 50+ is exceptional. To make this more meaningful you should always follow it with another open-ended question:

‘Why did you give us that score?’

Getting verbatim feedback from your members is really important, it allows them an open forum to speak out and gives you valuable insight to any potential issues that members might have avoided sharing in the past This in turn provides an opportunity to save potentially disenchanted members. Using the survey will help you to structure any changes required and will allow you to communicate better with your members.

Communicating with your members about how they find your club and services doesn’t have to be a bombardment of emails or text messages, some current or prospective members just don’t want to have a say. Timing and frequency is important, our marketing department looks to send surveys normally once a year, the first time a customer will see a survey communication will normally be within three months of taking up the service, this allows the customer to have used us and have a better take on what they like and don’t like. Each survey is normally followed up with at least a second reminder communication, to allow for more customers to take part.

How does Fairway Credit standout?

We recently completed our annual NPS survey with our partner golf clubs and were delighted to score +52. Combined with the verbatims it shows that our product and related service are highly regarded and a boost to our clubs’ offering. Naturally some of the feedback was also developmental and this commentary is vitally important to allow us to improve our service, improve our product and show that we are ‘listening’ to our clubs.

The next step for Fairway Credit is to start to implement some of the suggestions we received, and this work has already started, there is no resting on our laurels, so watch this space!

Be a part of the Fairway Credit family

Fairway Credit have been working with golf clubs in the UK and Ireland for over 25 years, helping golfers enjoy the benefits of a monthly membership payment whilst giving clubs the satisfaction of knowing their membership administration is expertly managed and that income generation is being sustained. As the NPS results show, we’re doing this to a high standard.

With one in four golf clubs in the UK using Fairway Credit we know that we can add value to you and your club. Why not speak to one of our team to see what we can do for you and your members – Call 0344 736 9818


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick August 12, 2021 14:33
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