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The dichotomy of growing the game, your golf club and ultimately…your golf career

Almost every golf professional and facility manager I speak with these days, voice their challenges with growing the game and their golf club. Also injected in most conversations is the very real fear these professionals have of losing their jobs and the lifestyles they have come to love.

As a golf marketing sales professional, I can proudly say I have never worried about losing my job and I contribute this to one simple realization…when you produce results, you are an asset to the company and therefor, indispensable. Businesses operate on revenue and you are either one of two things…a liability (revenue impeding), or an asset (revenue producing).

Let me start by defining what it means to “grow the game” because it is often confused with “capturing market share” (i.e. growing your golf club). Growing the game does not mean recycling core golfers and locking them up as loyal golfers/members of your golf club. This is called “capturing market share”. Capturing market share is far easier than growing the game because these are core golfers who already love the game, have studied the game, know the proper etiquette, are known to have the financial resources, have the pedigree, etc. These golfers are like fishing in a barrel; with the proper marketing campaign and a great golf facility, 90% of the work is done.

“Growing the game”, on the other hand, is going out into the community engaging the public and getting people that never played the game of golf or those casual golfers who play one or two rounds a year excited and are interested in the game enough to make a commitment to your golf club. Growing the game is not easy; in fact, it is expensive, labor intensive and time consuming. But, just as in anything else, nothing worth doing is ever easy. The difference between “ordinary” and extraordinary” is “extra”. This is why you always hear people in the golf industry talking about “growing the game” but the numbers seldom reflect any significant “growth”. There is a redistribution of core golfers but very little “growth” if at all.

One of the major obstacles that must be addressed before you can “grow the game and your golf club” is the elitist attitude of some core members (approximately 100-200 golfers at any given golf club) and the pressure they put on the pro-shop staff manipulating them into being less than welcoming and almost alienating to the new golfer which is completely self-serving for the current member and detrimental to the golf club’s earning and growth potential. If those members are searching for that ultra-exclusive relationship with the golf club then they must pony-up and a pay-the-piper relevant membership dues that will afford the golf club the luxury of turning away golfers without the fear of lost revenue and financial suicide. If they are unwilling to do this, then have an adult conversation with them and ask them to be more accommodating in helping you grow the club so everyone wins; and the core golfer is always the biggest winner because there will be ample revenue to keep the property in pristine condition.

It is inevitable there will be growing pains associated to growing the game (we all were newbies at one time) and most will take place out on the course. Yes, they might not know the proper etiquette or wear the proper attire their first time out, but if we take the time to educate them and show them that we really value their business, we will earn their loyalty. Embrace the new golfer and his/her beginner status and welcome their ignorance as an opportunity to grow the game, your golf club and ultimately your golf career.

MMC®, is a performance-based, data-driven golf marketing company that hits ‘em straight.

Thank you for partnering with MMC® in growing the game, your golf course and your golf career.

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