Marketing 101 – It’s the economy, stupid!

If you think it has been rough for the golf industry over the past few years, what do you think 2009 is going to be like. Times are tough and people are going to be very tight with their discretionary spending. If you’re running a golf course you have a couple of choices. You can either lower your prices or you can make the experience at your golf club better. The smart money is on the second choice.

If you are going to ask golfers to pay anywhere from $50 – $150 to play a round of golf at your golf course and expect them to come back to play again, you had better make sure that the experience starts when they contact you to book their tee time (make it as easy as possible) and continues when they pull in to your driveway (a players assistant to greet them and direct them). When they arrive in the clubhouse they should immediately feel welcome (even if they’ve never been here before) and the staff should be attentive to all of their needs. The starter should be friendly and welcoming (it shouldn’t feel like a golf factory moving golfers on and off the tee) and someone should greet them off the last hole to ensure that they had a good round.

It is essential that you pull your entire staff in to the process too. They need to understand that each of them are responsible for enhancing the golf experience of all of the customers. They need to be reminded that these people pay their salaries. Perhaps it’s time you started to think about staff incentives.

In essence, regardless of what level of course you have, you should try to provide every golfer a “country club” experience. Maybe you should offer a car wash while they golf or a free divot tool or a complimentary snack an drink on the course.

Times are tough but people are willing to spend money to relax. If you provide the best possible service for their money, You’ll probably get them coming back for more.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thanks Barry. I hear that you guys are going to try a few new things this year including Pirate Golf. It should be fun and interesting. Please let us know how it works out.

    Golf has been played in North America for 130 years now so it’s not going away but it has to remain a viable entertainment option for people or else the numbers will continue to decline.

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