Golf Tourism England has just announced the formation of a partnership with England Golf.
I think they can complement each other well. I hope this partnership does not come too late. England Golf reported last year a 12% drop in weekly participation since 2005.
In addition, English golf clubs’ membership shrank by 23.5% between 2004 and 2014: from 882,640 to 675,000.
Since its launch in July 2014, almost 100 golf properties and tour operators have enlisted as Golf Tourism England members, with further support for the initiative already having been offered by Visit England, the national tourist board.
In last summer England Golf launched its strategy, ‘Raising Our Game’, to slow down (at least) or to halt the decline in club membership and to increase the number of active golfers.
England Golf chief executive, David Joy is hoping that this partnership will encourage local partnerships, with groups of clubs working alongside tour operators and accommodation providers for the benefit of themselves and their communities.
It would be wise to think about how to meet the expectations of nomad golfers. 68% of golfers in the UK are nomad golfers.
I have not found any concept or solution how could golf clubs tackle this phenomenon.
We also learned from Syngenta Growing Golf in the UK report (October 2014) that the main reason why people are leaving golf clubs is the price.
If I were England Golf or Golf Tourism I would sit down with major social tourism sites (e.g. Tripadvisor.com) and golf social networking sites (e.g. Golfshake.com, Howdidido.com) and other online golf communities (e.g Golf Game Book, Hole19 Golf) to discuss possible future cooperation since we are looking for advice and social proofs in social media. This way we could reach golfers in the moment of truth.
The last two examples of Golf GameBook and Hole19 can be strange to you, but I believe that most customer journeys start today on mobiles. UK advertisers spent over 2 billion GBP on mobile media in 2014. This is a 96% increase since 2013. eMarketer says that mobile media will be bigger than print media, in the UK in 2015.