Recruiting New Members

Topics covered in this section include:

Where to find new members
How to recruit new members
What to offer new members

For private members clubs and pay and play courses, the priority has to be drawing as many people to your golf club as possible. For daily fee clubs it is all about market share of the visitor business in your area but for private members club the emphasis is on maintaining a stable membership level and ensuring you are creating enough interest to replace outgoing members at a high enough initial fee to keep everyone happy.

Like many businesses, the membership levels of a golf club move in cycles. It’s possible that your club has healthy waiting list and has done for many years. The average attrition rate for golf club membership is around 10%. For clubs with 500 members that is 50 of them leaving every year. This can be for a variety of reasons: death, divorce, ill health, leaving the area, or can’t afford it in either time, money, or both. The reasons are varied, many and are becoming more and more common.

So, in order just to stand still, your golf club could be facing finding 50 new members every year. A tough target for any business and it means you constantly need to be topping up your waiting list.

Where to find new members
Before you can find them, you need to know what they might look like. In Retaining Members, you will have defined your key customer groups and built a profile of each group.

Knowing your members, their playing and club usage will help you define the best areas for growth and importantly may help you discover new types of membership based around different playing patterns. Adaptable membership structures are becoming increasingly common in golf clubs and you can learn more about these in Marketing to new members.

Having reviewed your membership groups and levels there will be obvious areas that you could immediately tackle. Women, for example. Corporates is another potentially lucrative category.

How to recruit new members
Once you have established the type of members you need to attract, the benefits you are offering (the reason to buy!), you are now ready to find new members.

1. Use your existing members

Your members can be your best ambassadors as long as they are satisfied! New members are particular good at attracting new recruits as they are full of enthusiasm.

The importance of attracting new members needs to be communicated to your membership. It's amazing how many members within a private members club are mistakenly under the illusion that their club has a healthy waiting list when in reality, it's a different story. You don't have to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but you need to communicate clear objectives and benefits when putting together a member referral programme.

2. Local Community Marketing

Your local community should provide a wealth of potential new member prospects but be prepared to put in the time and commitment to build up relationships in these areas. You may also have members who can help with local community marketing.

 What to offer new members
Until recently, life has been relatively simple for all businesses including golf clubs when it came to marketing to customers. However, businesses are now discovering that their potential audience is becoming increasingly segmented and they have to offer different variations of their products or services in order to meet demand and compete. This means reviewing your membership structure.

A golf club’s products are typically memberships and green fee packages. Green fee packages have been relatively easy to tailor but membership offerings require far more thought and planning. However, in order to give your club every opportunity of appealing to a wider audience it is important to give careful thought to your membership structure.

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