4 Bottlenecks to Selling More Memberships and How to Remove Them

In the next couple of months I’m moving to a new area on a more permanent basis and now that I’ll be in one place for a significant period of time, I’m on the hunt for a golf club to join.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked with a number of golf facilities, helping them grow their membership numbers and a major focus of alot of these clubs was in attracting my age group, the thirty-something year old.

This time I’ve decided to document my own journey to golf membership and In this video, I’ll show you my journey to date from the online search of 4 golf clubs to the initial contact I’ve had with them.

The Initial Search

I started looking online in March this year with the outlook of joining a club in July. I went online and searched for the golf clubs in the area that I’ll be moving to. So that was 6 months out. Every club website I visited had a membership application form on their websites which is insane if you think about it. I’m browsing online, from site to site and I’m expected to download a form, fill it in with pen and paper, upload it, send it back, send the money and then wait to hear back without ever having visited the golf club…. Come on!! Seriously.

A logical first step would at least be an invite to come down to the club, check it out, maybe even have lunch, a coffee, a round, or at least a chat…. None of that was offered online as a first step.

Takeaway #1 – Stop assuming everyone is ready to buy now.

When I did actually try to contact each club via email, it wasn’t easy. It was quite a challenge to find where on the site I could actually contact the club. 2 of the clubs had contact forms on the generic contact page of the website and the other two had hidden around the site their contact email address which took some time to find.

Takeaway #2 – Make it easy for people to contact you.

Ok so here’s the email I actually sent to all 4 clubs.

‘Hi There, I’m moving to the area in July and will be looking for a golf club to join. Your Golf Club looks Great! I’m returning to the game after many years away. When I did play golf I managed to get down to a handicap of 5. I’m 31 years old and would be interested in meeting some people my own age as well as I’ll be new to the area. If you could give me a call to discuss the potential membership options that would be great.’’

So if you break it down, what I’m looking for is Friendship, fun, and competition. When I looked at all the website membership pages they all assumed that I was interested in their 18, or 27 or 36 hole pristine golf course. But I never even looked at that. I was more interested in who is a member of the club and what kind of community they had. Golf isn’t my number one priority on this search but all the website I visited had carbon copy bullet point lists of all the benefits of joining the club such a priority tee time booking and discounted this and that and a club handicap. Nothing about friendship and fun.

Takeaway #3 – Stop assuming all customers are the same. Because they’re not.

So after I sent the enquiry email here’s what I got back. Let’s start with a good one…

Club #1 – A higher end course got back to me via email thanking me for my enquiry and inviting me to the club for a chat and a coffee. I then spoke with the GM on the phone and he said he’d be happy to arrange a round on the house with one of their members similar in age to myself. Brilliant. Two thumbs up.

Club #2 – Emailed my back sending me a membership application form with the prices of each membership package that the club offers, not even taking the time to consider what I specifically wrote in my email. On top of that they told me I would need two people at the club to sign off on my application and then they mentioned the extremely hefty joining fee…

Club #3 – I also received an email from them. Hi John, please find attached our membership packages and application form. Please fill in the form and send it back.

And finally Club #4 – They must have sold out of all their memberships because I’m still waiting for their response.

So the Takes aways from this. If you were going to buy a car and you saw the car online and the only way to buy that car that was presented to you was a form which you filled in and then received an email saying fill in this application form, send the money and the cars all yours. What would you say…?

You’d say, yay right! Good luck with that. Of course, you would. That’s insane, you’d want to at least speak with the owner of the car, and take it for a test drive before you’d even consider buying it.

Now how is a golf membership any different. Of course, you would want to take the facilities for a test drive before you would even consider putting your hand in your pocket.  Unfortunately, more times than not, this option is not available. I mean look at the booming fitness industry, every gym has a trial day as a minimum and if they didn’t they’d struggle with their sales I’d suspect.

Takeaway #4 – If you own, manage, run or work a golf club that sells memberships take a look at your membership page and think about yourself as the customer and what you would expect if you were considering joining the club and the steps you would expect to take in order to make that decision.

I’ll keep you posted on how the journey goes and post an update here in the coming months.

This article was brought to you by John King, Co-Founder of Golf Marketing Lab. For more free information on how to improve your marketing techniques, visit Golf Marketing Lab or contact John directly via johnk@golfmarketinglab.com or on +353 (0) 87684-4255

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