The topics covered in this section include:

Why you need to advertise
Deciding when to advertise and how often
Deciding on your target audience
Where should you advertise?
How much you should spend?
How do you create your advertising?
Getting value for money
Monitoring the response to your advertising

Why you need to advertise

Advertising can be used in various ways depending on your objectives. It can be aimed at producing immediate sales, used to create brand awareness or publicise changes to your club. 

Deciding when to advertise and how often

It is likely that the main aim for your golf club advertising will be to increase sales in a particular area - memberships, visitors or conference/group bookings.

It is important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. A large society for example will be looking to fill their fixture list for the forthcoming year very early on. It may be worth some targeted advertising to that market in January in order to get their business before it goes elsewhere!

Likewise be aware of when you have slow times and have some promotional offers ready for some targeted advertising during these periods. By being aware and interpreting your business needs in advance it won’t be a last minute panic when you find you have an empty tee sheet for August.

Deciding on your target audience

Once you have decided on your key objective for your advertising campaign, then the next step will be to identify your target audience. 

You may be looking to recruit new members, attract more visitors or increase your society bookings, only by being sure of your target audience can you make certain that you choose the best means of reaching them and ensure the best value for money for your advertising spend.

Where should you advertise?

Once you have decided who you are looking to market to and why you can start to consider what media is available to you to use. The bulk of any spend for most golf clubs will be in the local marketplace and in golf the number of specialist magazines abounds.

1. Local advertising
The bulk of any spend for most golf clubs will be in the local marketplace and in golf the number of specialist magazines abounds. 

As well as the specialist golf magazines which you will regularly have delivered to your club and all the others in the area, don’t forget your own local weekly or evening newspapers, these are important when trying to generate new business. 

Think about what media you and your members read and that is a good starting point. If your members regularly turn to the golf column in your evening newspaper on a Tuesday then the chances are, other golfers in the area will do the same thing- and they could be reading your advert!

2. Regional advertising
If your club is in a tourist area where there are weekend visitors or holiday makers then you may have to look further afield for your advertising campaigns.

Your local tourist office can help and they may produce guides that your club can be included in. Think about combining with local businesses such as hotels to run joint advertising. This can be more cost effective and if they are experienced they will have a good idea of where money can be well spent. 

3. Internet directories
One of the most cost effective means of advertising these days is on the internet. For golf clubs there are numerous golf course directories on the internet. Basic entries within these directories are often free and you can pay for enhancements such as photographs or the chance to appear at the top of the search list.

One of the key directories and of course it’s free is Engand Golf - Golf Central (

There will also be internet directories for businesses in your local area so make sure you are included on these. The local tourist office website, area guides and the council are all good places to be seen.

4. Your own website
Your website is an instant source of information for members, visitors and potential customers. In our section on e-marketing we look at the importance of your golf club’s website in the marketing mix. However, remember that if you are advertising a special offer in the local media make sure it’s promoted on your own website as well.

How much should you spend?

Once you have established the key times you need to drive your business, over what period of time and the target audiences you are looking to reach through which media, you will now begin to have some idea of how much it could cost.

However, remember that your advertising spend is only part of the marketing mix discussed in the Marketing Plan. 

If you are already spending money on advertising then your existing budget should be a good starting point. If you have never advertised before and this is all new to your golf club then your starting point is what you can reasonably afford within your marketing budget, set of course as part of your marketing plan. 

As a rule of thumb, most small businesses looking to advertise themselves should work on around £2,000 per annum for a well targeted, consistent campaign. The odd advertisement here and there may seem to be the cheaper option but such a hit and miss approach is unlikely to reap any real benefits.

Ensuring you get value for money is crucial and once again the emphasis must be on the right offer for the right audience in the right media and at the right time.

How do you create your advertising?

Once you have worked out your campaign strategy, there is nothing worse than poor execution so it is worth spending some time and effort on how your advertising will look. 

A local design agency is well worth considering. It is a very competitive market and they are always on the lookout for new business. However, even here good planning can save you a lot of time, trouble and most importantly cost.

Whether you, a talented member or a design agency are taking on the creative of your campaign, they can only work with the materials they have got. A well designed logo in an easy to use format; decent photography of your golf course and its facilities and a clear understanding of the message within the advertising will all help the process go more smoothly. All too often a poor brief means a change of mind and so the bills and the time spent start to mount up.

If your advert can be easily adapted to go up or down in size and you make your contact at your choice of publication aware of this then you might get last minute space quiet cheaply if they have a space to fill and an advert sitting there ready and waiting.

Getting value for money

Once you have decided where you are advertising, when and how often, it is time to contact the advertising sales department of your chosen publication. 

They are very determined people so be clear about what you are trying to achieve, what budget you have and what you want the ad to do. Mention the names some competitor publications so they understand that you are still deciding where to spend your budget. 

They will keen to win your business especially if you are new business and you have mentioned their main rival. This is the best time to negotiate hard. 

Monitoring the response to your advertising

This is probably the hardest part of any campaign, often the most overlooked but also one of the most important aspects in your quest for value for money.

In order to make good judgements about your campaign, its success and what to in the future you must have an idea of what results it has produced. 

The simplest way is to include a voucher or code which people have to mention when booking and present when playing. If you are running a campaign in more than one publication make sure the ad has a different code so you can trace back when it came from.

Remember that for any promotional offer you need to anticipate the response level and whether you can fulfil it. Don’t for example run a half price green fee campaign if you have only allocated two tee times a week to it. You will not be able to fulfil the response and have many disappointed customers who are unlikely to respond to any future advertising.

  • England Golf Partnership
  • England Golf Trust
  • Sport England
  • Woodhall Spa
  • Get into Golf
  • GolfMark