Tip of the Day

21 Ways to Boost Your Golf Business

Here are twenty-one sure-fire ways to boost rounds at daily fee and semi-private golf courses.
  1. Increase benefits of memberships to drive # of memberships.  Increasing membership benefits may make them more attractive, causing more players to join.
  2. Target area businesses for an Employee Appreciation Day outing.  Prepare a letter and send to local companies proposing an outing.  Package the golf, prizes, and F&B to make it easy for companies to say “yes.”
  3. Target area business for a Company Golf Team League.  Each team would require 4 players.  Prepare a letter to local businesses explaining the league, format of competition, dates to play, package cost to sponsor a team.  Also, use display ads to market leagues.
  4. Interclub League play in various categories (seniors, men, women, and youths).  Sound out membership for players to play in matches against other clubs and golf courses.  Coordinate league play with other clubs and golf courses.  Establish pricing, prizes, and schedule of play.
  5. Work with competitors and local hotel to put together and co-op out-of-towner golf package – 3 days, 2 nights of golf.  Price package, coordinate with other courses and hotel.  Market during winter months in selected NE or Midwest golf markets to try to improve winter play.
  6. Beginners’ Golf Package – “Learn to Play in Six Easy Weeks” – Lessons, rounds, club fitting and sale, pairings with other beginners.  Set up package, market through web site and display ads.  An excellent promotion for spring; also works for youth golf during summer months.
  7. Free swing evaluation – with written evaluation from the pro.  Establish standardized form to use to identify the problems of a golfer’s swing and how to correct.  Focus on stance, grip, swing mechanics, exercises to address each noted problem.
  8. Go after County and City employees.  Special discount with ID card?  Establish a County and City golf team; include them in Company Golf Team League.  Or, simply set up a weekly time for such employees to play at a discount; could be a 9-hole round after work during summer month.
  9. Through benchmarking determine all times when the course is most empty and available for play.  These times should be discounted and marketed for price sensitive players.
  10. Package reasonably priced mini-outings limited to a dozen or so players.  Market these for traditionally slow days.  Make the package all-inclusive with golf and cart fees, box lunches, beverages, and prizes.
  11. Build a mailing list of non-profits (churches and service organizations), businesses, core golfers, veterans, etc.  Start with phone book and query current membership.  Ensure that you are familiar enough with MS-Word Mail Merge and Mailing List functions to quickly produce and send flyers, letters, and other marketing material to selected mailing lists.
  12. Offer and advertise incentives to current members to bring in new members.  This should be part of our internal marketing effort to your membership.  Devise incentives and market them.
  13. Always collect email addresses of players and build a database of members and players to broadcast email announcements – “We still have Tee-times available this weekend.  The weather is forecasted to be great and we have a fun format event for Sunday afternoon.  Give us a call.” This type of last-minute marketing is used to fill empty tee times.  It can also be used during cooler or inclement weather to attract golfers at a discounted rate.
  14. Establish Competitive Flight Ladders?  Highly competitive golfers play to try to climb the ladder for bragging rights and a trophy.  Construct the ladder and prominently display it in the pro shop.  Results of all matches should be publicized in a newsletter, email blasts, and in the pro shop.
  15. Classify current golfers as “competitive” vs. “recreational” and design specific events for each?
  16. Use giveaways (inexpensive logoed items) for all first time visitors to course.
  17. Consider giving away rounds to try to build volume.  Free green fee, pay only cart fee.  This approach can be used at slow times of year, week, and days.  Establish guidelines, goals, and benchmarks to measure benefit.
  18. Build an annual calendar of events – “12-months of golf traditions” – one specially formatted tournament each month.  Most golfers use stroke play most of the time.  There are many other “fun” formats to be used.  Develop and schedule such “tournaments” for each month and market through emails, newsletter, web site, and display ads.  Visit http://golf.about.com/cs/golfterms/a/formatsbets.htm  for ideas.
  19. Offer “Weekend Golf” for a weekday price at certain times of the year.  Using past benchmarks, identify the times of year to offer this; market through emails, newsletter, web site, and display ads.
  20. Market to area hotels for “golf specials for their guests.”  Develop a list of local hotels and motels and establish a relationship with their management to allow their guests to play at a discounted rate and free rental clubs.
  21. Find a stay at home mom or someone looking for part time employment with clerical skills to execute marketing efforts such as direct mail.  Given the administrative burden on the Head and Assistant Pro, it may make sense to hire and develop someone who can quickly react to opportunities and execute a pre-determined marketing effort – web site, emails, flyers, mailers, and display ads.
The two most important aspects of marketing excess capacity and open times on your course are to build an email database of players and to recognize your course’s use patterns through continual benchmarking.  The email list will become your most prized possession and can be used to notify players of events and periods of discounted play.  But to take advantage of the timeliness of open tee times, you must have a variety of promotional programs and messages ready to go at a moment’s notice.