Public Relations (PR)

PR is the most underutilised marketing technique used by golf clubs. There are simple steps you can follow to make the most of it:

1. Make someone responsible for it

It may be a member of staff; it may be a member. Whoever it is, by creating a consistent point of contact you have already made it easy for the media to contact you.

2. Create a list of all relevant media

This includes the media you either regularly use for advertising or you feel is read by the people you are trying to reach.

This list will typically include:

•Local newspapers
•Local Radio
•Regional Newspapers
•Local magazines, usually delivered free to homes
•Local golf magazines
•Regional/national golf magazines
•Local business newsletters (check with your Chamber of Commerce)

Try and establish a contact there, usually the sports editor or golf correspondent if there is one, but don’t forget the Business editor.

Email is often the best way to make the first contact and it’s important to keep the list up to date as people move around in the heady world of journalism. You may be really lucky and the key people may be golfers - if so invite them for a round so you can meet them and even go as far as to give them courtesy of the course. They are unlikely to abuse it and the goodwill it will generate is enormous. Don't forget to invite them to your annual dinner.

3. Create the right tools to do the job

Give the person you’ve made responsible the tools to do the job. Prepare a general press pack for your golf club including a brief sheet on its history, key contacts and most importantly, good quality photography of the course and the clubhouse and even key people such as the professional or Captain.

You can store it all on your website in a special media area and magazines or newspaper can download whatever imagery they need. Ensure when you are dealing with your photographer that you have established full use of the imagery for your promotional purposes.

4. Prepare a list of potential press releases

This may sound difficult but there will be key events in your golf club year which you will know about several months before. These will typically include major competitions, charity days or even news about your members. Think about what would interest you to hear about another golf course and see if your story or news fits. Don’t overdo it, once a month will be plenty for most golf clubs.

5. Writing a press release

Once you have decided you have a story or news and you know which media is appropriate, it’s time to get the word out. Writing a press release is not difficult and local media are used to dealing with non journalists in all walks of live whether it’s the Press Officer for a local charity, a local Councillor or even the local Business Community. Keep it simple and remember the five W’s’: who, why, what, where and when. If all of those questions are dealt with and you give you contact details, then a journalist will have all the information they need.

6. Creating interest

News and information press releases are one source of creating editorial coverage for your golf club but there are many other less indirect ways which allow you to create awareness:

•Your professional is your golf expert so suggest he writes an 'Improve Your Golf' column for the local newspaper - good coverage for you and him
•Promote your golf club through schools by offering to run special coaching sessions for your youngsters in or out of school holidays. Your Club Support Officer will be able to advise you on what programmes may already be available.
•Organise an open day for local media, business people and leaders
•Organise a charity golf open
•Forge local business contacts by offering to host Rotary meetings or Business Network Clubs
•Team up with local businesses or your suppliers to work on attracting joint publicity

7. Keep your ear to the ground

Be aware of what people are saying or writing about your golf course. There are many golf course directories on the internet, often relying on golf course reviews placed by users. Make sure you find the key ones (just do a search for your golf club) and have a look and see what they say. Also make sure your contact details are kept up to date. Post your own review about your own course.

8. Use the contacts on your doorstep

Make sure your golf club website is cross linked to key sites in your area such as council and tourist information sites and that the entries are kept up to date.

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