One of the duties of the Club Professional from yesteryear was introducing new members to old ones. After all, few people join with their regular foursome. If your club still does this for the first 30-60 days via your Club’s Professional staff combined with an ambassador program – Congratulations, you are ahead of 95% of the Clubs in America.
Men’s leagues, when well run, have proven to be an important part of integration, retention, and camaraderie for Club Members.
Has yours become stale…or worse, have you abandoned it when the economy dropped a few years ago?
Re-igniting it is easy, running one that gets consistent participation, not so much.
The best ones have several things in common:
The Professional Staff is an active participant.
Members that participate are rewarded for their consistency in some way.
They breed camaraderie, before, during, and after play.
They are semi-competitive and fun at the same time.
They are reasonably priced.
Do you want to start 2016 off with a bang? Below is a simple, sample of what Men’s league could look like in 2016:
Men’s League 2016
Purpose: To facilitate working members who would like to play a quick nine after work in a fun, organized format. To help new members integrate into the club, meet fellow members. To grow and protect the base membership.
When: Every Tuesday at 5:00/5:30 pm – fallback/daylight savings time
Format: Games work best with two-man format, mixing up contests, and players with handicaps (examples):
Best ball scramble
Team combined score
Cost: Keep it low, $10-15 per 9 holes (walking). Pay out in pro shop credit each week. Provide a food bar at the completion at each event to promote camaraderie; taco bar, pizza, sliders, chicken skewers, chili, etc.
Year-end event: To keep interest and participation high, award points each week for participation (10 points), 1st (10 points), 2nd (5 points), 3rd (3 points) places. Top 10-15 players compete in year end shootout for large(r) pro shop prize pool.
Benefits to the club:
Provides a good feeder for new members to integrate, meet other members.
Increased pro shop sales.
Increased Food/Beverage sales. The food bar means people will stay and drink.
Increased cart revenue.
Break-up cliques by making the format largely blind draw.
How long: 1st of April through end of September
Marketing: Make someone responsible for posting pictures on social media with results, action shots during play, and action shots after play. A simple leaderboard in the Pro Shop, Grill(e), and Locker room should be updated each week.
The biggest key(s) are:
Have the Professional staff run the event – pairings should be blind draw at least twice per month. Mixing up players is paramount. Some members won’t like it, but they can play with their buddies any time, this will weed out the curmudgeons.
Make it fun – Have a large dry erase board in the Grill(e) room filled with the teams. Congratulate those who performed well. Joke about those that had a tough day. Be creative.
Be consistent – Start on time. Keep the cut-off time for pairings the same. If teams are odd, have a staff member ready to play so no one is left out in the cold.
Be consistent 2.0 – You may have to go months without much participation, especially if you are trying to revive the group. Don’t give up. Stay the course. If it is marketed well, fun, and builds to something memorable at the end of the year, people will participate.
Post pictures each week of the participants, the food, the winners, and the fun that could be had on your clubs social media. If it looks fun, more will become curious and will give it a try.
It’s not shocking, judging by the number of Country Club pages I follow, that the clubs that are in the worst financial shape almost unanimously (continue to) post pictures of their menu, their pool, and their fitness center in lieu of the #1 draw of the club – Golf.
No one joins for the restaurant – although a bad one can certainly be a point of contention.
They don’t join because of the pool…that is only open three months per year.
They don’t join for the gym either. One on every corner it seems.
If it were possible to hide your club’s name on your social media postings, would an outsider be able to guess you had a golf course?