Congrats! You’ve made the leap and decided to start your own golf club. Did you and your crew decide it was time to add some structure and stakes to your weekly game? Couldn’t find another group that fit what you’re looking for so you thought you’d make it yourself? Just love getting people together for golf? Whatever the reason that brought you here (and there are plenty of reasons), we’re here to help you take the next steps. I know the proposition of running your own club can seem daunting at first, so let’s walk through how to get things up and running together:
Register your club with the SCGA
First things first: let’s make things official. By registering as an official SCGA club, you get access to a few major benefits:
Each member will get an official Handicap Index through the USGA. This way, you can have tournaments for golfers of all skills without having to assign strokes arbitrarily.
When a golfer joins your club, they also become an SCGA member, which gives them access to SCGA tournaments, member outings at premier courses, deals and discounts, etc.
You’ll have access to a suite of technology to help you run your club (more on this later).
The best news: there is no cost to become an SCGA club. The only dues that we collect come directly from your members.
Set up your Online Join/Renew Portal
If you want have a club of more than just yourself, you need a way for people to join. You could do this manually, OR you could let the SCGA handle it for you. All you need to do is provide some basic information about your club and how much you want to charge for your membership. The SCGA collects $36 for each member; anything you charge in addition to the $36 goes directly to your club to help with tournament costs, prizes, member gifts, administrative costs, etc.
Get 10 members
There are a couple minimum requirements we ask each club to meet. The first is that you have at least 10 members (including yourself) on your roster. If that seems overwhelming at first, don’t worry: you have 6 months to hit this mark. Odds are, though, you want to blow this thing out of the water, so getting 10 people together shouldn’t be too difficult for you.
Get handicap certified
The second requirement is that someone from your club (likely you, but you can also nominate another member if you’d prefer) get complete the USGA’s Online Handicap Certification. It may not be the most glamorous part of the job, but understanding the World Handicap System is a key part of the golf club universe. Watch a few videos, take a short quiz and you’ll be on your way. Before you ask, school’s not quite in session: you can take the quiz as many times as you need and is just to confirm you can answer handicap questions with your members.
Get familiarized with SCGA tech tools
Last piece of business before the party. As I mentioned before, the SCGA has developed an assortment of tools to make your job as club leader easier, from managing your roster to running tournaments to promoting your club. No quiz here: just feel free to peruse what’s available to you, as well as a reminder that the SCGA is always on call to answer questions and provide assistance as needed.
Run your first event
Congratulations, you’ve made it through the procedure and technicalities of getting your club started and now you’re ready to do what you came here to do: play some golf. Tournaments are the lifeblood of your club; they’re what separates being a handicap provider from being a community builder. This is what your members will look forward to each month (or week) and where they’ll form bonds for life. If that sounds like a lot of pressure for your first event, here’s my advice: don’t overthink it. This is likely the first time you’re hosting a golf tournament, and for your members, it will likely be their first time playing in one, too. Keep the format simple and award a few winners (gross/net leaders, skins, CTPs, stuff that most golfers are familiar with), but keep the focus on the social aspect and just make sure everyone has a good time. Once you have a feel for the basics, you can dive in to our ultimate guide for running an awesome tournament and explore some new tournament formats.
Market your club
Your initial group is probably going to be made up of people you already know, but if you really want your club to thrive, you’re going to need to introduce some new faces. I’m not saying you need to boom to 100 members overnight, but there are a few useful things you can do when starting out to help you along the way. Before you dive into our full guide on recruiting members, here’s a few easy methods of acquiring new members to get you jump started:
Word of mouth
The most tried-and-true method that’s been used since golf clubs have existed. Make sure you and all your members are inviting your golf friends to join your group. Meet someone that would be a good fit with your crew? Invite them out for a round. If you want to get fancy with it, you could consider printing up some business cards with info on where to learn more and join the club (or hit up the SCGA to help with that).
Start a social media page
If you want people to find you, you’ve got to be visible and getting on social media is the easiest way to do that. Instagram is the most widely-used platform by clubs as it’s visual format allows potential members to get a sense of your membership and vibe before ever coming out to an event. Make sure to post often and encourage members to tag you whenever they’re on the course so you can share it to your page.
Get on the SCGA Club Finder
When a golfer comes to the SCGA looking for a club to join, we direct them to our Club Finder site, which allows them to search for a group near them and filter groups based on a number of criteria. To get your club listed on the site, all you have to do is fill out the form sent to you when you register with the SCGA. Make sure to fill out as much information as possible and add a photo or video to make your listing stand out!
The Big Picture
Let me wrap up by expressing the point of all of this: golf needs people like you. Finding a community of golfers to share the experience with is what keeps people coming back to the course, and without someone to lead and organize that community, it falls apart. Golf participation is at an all-time high, so what better time to get those new golfers in your network to stick around? As soon as you’re ready to get the party started, the SCGA is here to walk you through the process and answer any questions you have along the way.
Kevin is a born and raised Southern California golfer. His golf highlights include occasionally breaking 90, losing an entire dozen balls in one round, and sinking a 20 foot putt on camera on the first take. Kevin is a member of Tiny Putters Golf and his current Handicap Index is none of your business.