How a proactive professional supports member retention

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 30, 2023 11:49

Ian Melham, Foremost Golf Head of Membership Services, offers advice on the role a forward-thinking professional can play in supporting member retention.

Ian Melham

In the last few years, club memberships have been a beneficiary of the pandemic, but a significant number of people will be forced to make financial sacrifices going forward. As a result, a focus on the retention of these new golfers is paramount to the success of the golf club and your business in the years to come. The professional team sits at the forefront of the golf member’s journey, checking them in and providing services to enhance that experience. These days, the role a golf professional plays has become increasingly diversified. Get it right and you’ll have a relationship builder, someone who understands the member dynamics and multitude of challenges that go into running and maintaining a club.

The first impression

It really matters. The pro shop is the first port of call at most golf clubs, and it sets the tone for the whole customer experience. A friendly greeting with a clean, professional, well-laid-out environment will make a great impression on a prospective member and instil a sense of pride in an existing member. A forward-thinking golf professional knows that the impact of this professionalism goes far beyond a successful retail business, elevating the entire club experience.

Creating a community and feeling of belonging

A focus point that can be overlooked at times when it comes to membership retention is the feeling of belonging. If someone is new to a golf club and has joined on their own accord, it’s important to find them a group of golfers that they can attach themselves to. No department is better placed in a golf club to regularly engage with these members, integrate them into the fabric of the club and make them feel part of a community than the pro shop team.

Those professionals that regularly host events, play with different members, and go above and beyond to make the atmosphere around the golf club like a second home, will help retain current members and also support new members with their integration into the community of the golf club.
Being a club professional that members and visitors trust and like is paramount to satisfaction with the overall member experience.

Digital and in-store marketing

As well as creating a community at the golf club, an extremely important facet of the modern golf professional is to create a digital community too. Being able to regularly engage with members when they are not at the golf course is essential. Without this, golfers are susceptible to marketing from rival retailers, coaches and golf clubs.

This need not be a scary prospect though. Retail groups like Foremost help catch consumers’ attention with newsletters, social media posts and special mails, and join-up the retail chain with professional signage, automated in-store video monitor content and displays, providing the tools to take a spark of interest through to an educated purchase. This tailored communication ensures members and guests feel important and get the information that matters most to them.

A studio space to boost opportunities

A factor that can’t be controlled is the weather. It is an expectation of many new golfers that there should be an indoor coaching / simulator and fitting facility at the golf club. An indoor studio facility provides a convenient alternative for members to keep playing, reducing the possibility for them to be forced to travel to competitor golf clubs. This allows them to play golf when they wouldn’t have previously been able to, and in turn see the studio as an additional benefit of being a member of the club. The studio academy offers the perfect opportunity for customer engagement and building long-term member relationships. Consider investing or partnering with the golf club in an effective, modern, state-of-the-art studio on-site that allows you to coach and custom fit all year round. This turns what could previously have been a basic service in the wind and cold, into a highly professional customer experience.

A thriving pro shop benefits everybody

A friendly, well informed pro shop team that provides a professional service, good retail choice, expert coaching and great value for money will reflect positively on the club as a whole and gives members more reason to not go anywhere else for their golf needs. Although often separate businesses, pro shop teams and golf clubs share the same common goal and when they work together, it significantly elevates the golfer experience. A harmonious approach promotes continuity and enables investment on both sides, ultimately providing the best array of services to golf club members.

A forward thinking, proactive golf professional has always been a huge asset to any golf club, and with the current challenges facing the sport, they will play an essential role in maintaining the momentum of clubs and memberships in the coming years.

For further advice, email or call 01753 218890


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick November 30, 2023 11:49
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