One of the key findings of the European Golf Course Owners Association’s Vision 20/20 (published in 2014) was the importance of flexibility. Their study found that full membership will decline and flexible membership will grow.
Flexible packages (aka “golf credits”) include discounted annual subscription to be a member of the club and then reduced or free green fees for a certain number of rounds they play.
Most recently, Wycombe Heights Golf Centre has implemented the Flexible Membership model. As you can imagine they are not the first to utilize this membership model. Since the launch of the flexible membership offer, the club has acquired more than 150 new golf club members.
Before you would run to launch your own flexible membership offer, I would advise you to conduct a survey about your existing members’ playing habits. Analyze these issues:
- when they play,
- who they play with,
- how often they play,
- do they enter competitions,
- do they put handicap cards in,
- have they ever had a handicap.
In addition to these, I would search for:
- their pain points in emotional terms —> what are their feelings and thoughts about membership in general;
- what do they want to achieve by joining your golf club? Maybe social acceptance?
Another alternative golf club membership model is the “Trial Membership” that can be useful if it is supported by the different units of the golf club. Namely, it is not enough to sell the “trial membership”, but the golf club should do its best to motivate the newcomer to upgrade his membership to Full Membership or at least to Flexible Membership.
Along with this, I think golf clubs should provide a pleasant and encouraging golf experience in every part of the golf club to convince people to renew membership or to join.