Doug Poole is the former managing director of Golfsmith Europe and former chairman of the BGIA, and he is leading the march of National Golf Month, which will be inaugurated in May. As consumer awareness rises, project director Poole offers GOLF RETAILING an exclusive update
The idea for a National Golf Month came from the conference preceding the BGIA AGM in April 2012, and the excellent presentations made by the major associations and golfing bodies from within the industry.
Having spent all my working life in the golf industry I felt I knew how it all worked, and over the years golf had just seemed to grow based on the magic of the game. However, we all knew this was changing and the conference showed me how much work all the parties in the game were doing to try and reverse the ever-reducing number of golfers.
I felt the unique position the BGIA held in the industry could help pull all these initiatives together and create a major event, reaching into areas of the public where we could start to gather newcomers to the game.
We needed a major media partner to support such an event and Bauer Media – with all their radio and printed publications – stepped forward, giving NGM a media reach of 23.7 million. Other major media partners also offered huge amounts of support.
If we want to grow the numbers playing golf, the key to success is for our advertising and marketing to get out beyond the boundaries of our collective golfing reach. National Golf Month will be hitting over 20 million of the public who do not currently play golf. The adverts, social media and database activity is focusing on: ‘Get your partner, family and friends to join you in May to get into golf’.
It was mentoring by our parents that got many of us playing and the message for NGM has exactly the same principle: ‘Grab a non-golfing friend and get them out playing in May’.
The initial idea was to aim to attract the lapsed golfer because I saw these as ‘oven ready players’ who can step straight back into playing. However, as I looked deeper into the project I was so amazed at the comprehensive programmes already in the marketplace offered by England Golf, Scotland Golf and Golf Union Wales that we soon had an event that could target all areas of ‘Getting into golf’ and every age and gender.
The support by all the major associations, golf clubs, driving ranges and Foremost Golf has enabled us to reach just about every area of the public. The marketing campaign has used major publications and social media to drive interest to a website, www.nationalgolfmonth.com. This is the daily operation that communicates between customers looking to try golf on the one hand, and on the other, the suppliers and partners who can load special offers and deals for May 2014 into a pre-registered section that confirms bookings and enables them to print confirmation. Journeying through the website is quick and easy.
The key piece of information is the customer’s postcode; once a postcode has been entered, the website takes potential golfers straight to offers within 25 miles of their address. These targeted offers keep the options for customers focused on four main opportunities:
1. Get Golfing Again –targeted to get lapsed golfers playing golf again
2. Get into Golf – promoting new and follow-on opportunities incorporating structured coaching, playing and membership offers
3. Coaching Experiences –targeted to promote specific coaching programmes delivered by PGA professionals
4. Golf Club Open Days – to promote specific open days and taster sessions
As NGM progressed further, valuable support came from the European Tour and Ladies European Tour, and this was quickly followed by other major partners in golf, and more recently by associations such as BIGGA and GCMA.
Getting support to raise the profile of NGM and making it visually exciting has been easy, and some great ambassadors have stepped up and given their services to create even more impact for the event. Padraig Harrington and Charley Hull are the men’s and ladies’ faces for the website and advertising campaign, and more recently Darren Clarke and Sir Nick Faldo have given their names and some personal quotes to support.
NGM will only succeed if all the suppliers within the golf industry pull together to reverse the decline in the number of golfers. Golf is fun and a game for life so let’s get more ladies, men, juniors and children out there playing in 2014.
NGM looks forward to your support.
Doug Poole can be contacted at: email@example.com