Okay, commish—so you’ve registered your club with the SCGA, you have your founding members and now you’re ready to bring some new blood into the mix. Scrolling your contact list and hitting up your coworkers only gets you so far, so now is the time to put the foundation and tactics in place that will really bring in the masses.
Every club that’s interested in long-term success will have a foundation made from the following three pillars. What the hell are we actually building that only uses three pillars? Don’t overthink this…
The key to keep in mind as you build out your pillars is to put yourself in a new player’s FootJoys. Create something that would attract yourself to play in the club if you hadn’t heard about it prior… because aren’t we all our own favorite people!
1. Create a Club Email Address
Communication is key. It’s advice that transcends marriage counselors and applies to pretty much every aspect of life. Your club is no different. People, especially new members, want to know that they are joining a professional organization and the easiest way to show that is with a simple gmail account that features your club’s name. Don’t get cute with an inside joke like firstname.lastname@example.org – keep it simple! <Yourclubname>@gmail.com. And please, for the love of all things holy, use Gmail. No shade to Yahoo or Hotmail users but please just use what works.
2. Set Up a Club Website
Many clubs simply call it a day after the email account—but think about it—whenever you want to know more about a new product, service or club, the first thing you do is Google it and see if they have a website, right? And if no site is listed? You’re already skeptical as to whether it’s legit or not.
And I know the prospect of creating a website may seem over the top or too complicated. But places like Squarespace make it laughably easy to templatize your site and all you need to do is have a simple homepage with some photos to introduce your club, a page to show your season’s schedule, a contact form (to your shiny new Gmail account!) and a link back to your SCGA portal so signing up for your club is as simple as can be.
RSVP pages, content and all that is just a bonus if you have the time!
3. Establish a Club Social Media Account
Finally, getting your club an official social media account is crucial for spur of the moment communication needs. Have a last minute spot open up for your tournament in two days? Social media lets you reach well beyond your email list and also makes for a great opportunity to show your members some love with pictures and videos from events.
Which site you use is up to you and who you are looking to attract but a general rule of thumb is that Facebook tends to skew a bit older and Instagram slightly younger. And if you’re considering Tiktok… godspeed.
Now that you have your three pillars in place, let’s look to four of my favorite tactics to help grow your membership. And remember, each of these tactics can be reinforced across your email, website and social accounts. Let the people know… then watch your club grow!
1. Lock In Your Full Schedule ASAP
One of the best tactics to attract new members is by laying out your full season’s schedule of events as early as possible. The more specific you can be the better because everyone will always have a million places to be, family to consider and other events to schedule around. I know, I know—everyone should be basing their entire lives around your club. The lack of dedication is alarming. BUT if you can provide them with dates to block off months in advance, the chances that they save those dates for you grow exponentially—as compared to revealing the next month’s tournament date and location only weeks prior. No matter how nice of a course you book… you will lose the battle with a significant other’s birthday 10/10 times. Trust me.
2. Charge Member v. Guest Entry Fees
First things first, inviting golfers to play as a guest in your events is a great way to introduce them to the group before they commit to joining. “Try it before you buy it”—if you will. And a sneaky good conversion tactic to encourage those guests to actually join your club is by appealing to their pocket book! By designating certain events as either members only (when your club is large enough to support) or by charging a slightly higher entry fee by $5 or $10 to non-members, people realize very quickly how much it pays to be a member. And what should you do with that extra $$? Pour it right into the prize pot—so members now have even more incentive to bring their non-member friends… everyone loves a sweetened pot!
3. Try a Referral Program
A more advanced tactic you can use to help grow your membership is by trying out a referral program for existing members. The range of incentives you can provide varies depending on club size and your appetite for dipping into your own pockets—but something as simple as some branded club merch or even $5 off their tournament buy-in can often be all it takes for your members to start hitting up their own contact list or coworkers.
*PRO TIP – Combine the idea of a referral program with the non-member entry fee. Knock $10 off the member’s entry fee if they bring a friend… who will pay $10 more for theirs as a guest. Net zero. That’s economics baby!
4. Use the Club Finder Tool
Finally, one of the best low-lift tactics for you to grow your membership is by setting yourself up on the SCGA’s Club Finder Tool. The SCGA are your partners in growing the game and also your membership numbers. And because of that, they’ve already done a huge amount of work to create their Club Finder tool that allows potential members to discover a club that fits them. Submit your info today to get your listing on the Club Finder.