How you can support member retention

    Ian Melham, Foremost Golf Head of Membership Services, offers advice on the role you can play in supporting member retention.

    The professional team sit at the forefront of the golf member’s journey, checking them in and providing services to enhance that experience. In the last few years, club memberships have been a beneficiary of the pandemic, but a significant number of people will be forced to financial sacrifices going forward. As a result, a focus on the retention of these new golfers is paramount to the success of the golf club and your business in the years to come.

    The first impression
    It really matters. The pro shop is the first port of call at most golf clubs, and it sets the tone for the whole customer experience. A friendly greeting with a clean, professional, well-laid-out environment will make a great impression on a prospective member and instil a sense of pride in an existing member. A forward-thinking golf professional knows that the impact of this professionalism goes far beyond a successful retail business, elevating the entire club experience.

    Creating a community and feeling of belonging

    A focus point that can be overlooked at times when it comes to membership retention is the feeling of belonging. If someone is new to a golf club and has joined on their own accord, it’s important to find them a group of golfers that they can attach themselves to. No department is better placed in a golf club to regularly engage with these members than the professional team.
    Those professionals that regularly host events, play with different members, and go above and beyond to make the atmosphere around the golf club like a second home will help retain current members and also support new members with their integration into the community of the golf club.
    Being a club professional that members and visitors trust and like is paramount to satisfaction with the overall member experience.

    Digital and in-store marketing

    As well as creating a community at the golf club, an extremely important facet of the modern golf professional is to create a digital community too. Being able to regularly engage with members when they are not at the golf course is essential. Without this, golfers are susceptible to marketing from rival retailers, coaches and golf clubs.
    This need not be a scary prospect though. Retail groups like Foremost help catch consumers’ attention with newsletters, social media posts and special mails, and join-up the retail chain with professional signage, automated in-store video monitor content and displays, providing the tools to take a spark of interest through to an educated purchase. This tailored communication ensures members and guests feel important and get the information that matters most to them.

    A studio space to boost opportunities

    A factor that can’t be controlled is the weather. It is an expectation of many new golfers that there should be an indoor coaching/simulator and fitting facility at the golf club. An indoor studio facility provides a convenient alternative for members to keep playing, reducing the possibility for them to be forced to travel to competitor golf clubs. This allows them to play golf when they wouldn’t have previously been able to, and in turn see the studio as an additional benefit of being a member of the club. The studio academy offers the perfect opportunity for customer engagement and building long-term member relationships. Consider investing or partnering with the golf club in an effective, modern, state-of-the-art studio on-site that allows you to coach and custom fit all year round. This turns what could previously have been a basic service in
    the wind and cold, into a highly professional customer experience. GR

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.