What are the best marketing strategies for a golf course?
Identifying the very best marketing strategy to attract players and members for your golf course or golf club is no easy fete. It is not something that is canned or borrowed from another golf course. It has to be something that comes from within, tailor made to your unique golfing challenges. It’s based on where you are at now, while also based on the course you want to be in the future.
A Marketing Strategy is as Unique as Your Golf Course
The most standout golf courses have a marketing strategy that is tailored to them. It’s built around their golf brand. The tailored plan comes from within and is a solution that like the game of golf must be seen out through the entirety of the 18 holes of play. It is built off of an investment in research which identifies the golf course’s unique hazards and how to avoid them to find success. The best golf marketing plans can convert weaknesses into strengths.
So where does one start with developing a golf marketing strategy? Some will turn to a professional like a golf marketing consultant. The consultant will be hired on a temporary basis to research, write and implement a strategic golf marketing plan.
Others will staff up by hiring a full-time marketing team to dedicate their time around the clock to writing and implementing marketing strategies that the club can capitalize on. They’ll do this to build members and to book out rounds of golf as well create new revenue streams for the club.
Both above options come highly recommended. There’s no better solution than finding highly talented people, that dedicate their lives to a field working around the clock to implement marketing strategies that deliver results and strengthen your brand.
If you are reading this article, you are most likely attempting to do it yourself. You realize you need a golf marketing strategy which is a very important first step. To be very candid, this article will only get you so far. At some stage, you will have to invest in the right personnel and resources if you want to capitalize on all opportunities that can make your golf brand strong.
So therefore, this article is a stepping stone. It is a starting point.
The Golf SWAT Analysis
A SWOT Analysis is a useful technique or starting point to develop a marketing strategy. Its origins are credited to management consultant Albert S. Humphrey (1927-2005).
Through the years many organizations, including golf courses and clubs have relied upon the SWOT analysis as a stepping stone to further develop a business or marketing strategy.
It should not be relied upon single-handedly, but rather used as a tipping-off point. It is a clever tool of self-awareness and identity. It will allow you to understand your golf course brand and your general environment, which is the first necessary step towards developing a more comprehensive golf marketing strategy and plan
A SWOT Analysis is an acronym which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are often internal to your organization, while opportunities and threats relate to external factors.
Here is a breakdown of the SWOT analysis and how to apply it to your golf course or golf club:
Consider your strengths from the internal perspective of your golf course or club. Look at it from the lens of your players or members. Think about your strengths in relation to the golf competition in your area. For example, if all of the other your area’s golf courses provide expensive green fees or expensive memberships, and you offer a lower green fee, then you may consider yourself the budget friendly course. This would be an ideal strength. Here are some other questions to also ask when uncovering the strengths of your golf club.
- What advantages does your golf course have?
- What makes your golf course or club better than the other options in your area?
- What unique golf resources can you draw upon that others can’t?
- What do players and members in your market see as your strengths?
- What factors contribute to memberships and course bookings?
If you’re having difficulty identifying your strengths, try writing down a list of your golf course’s most positive attributes. These can also be strengths.
Another internal area to look closely at is your weaknesses. What kind of complaints are you hearing about from the people that play your course? Are your greens well kept? What are the competitors doing better than you? Here are some additional questions to ask:
- What could you improve at your golf course or club?
- What are you avoiding offering your members?
- What are the people playing your course likely to see as weaknesses?
- What factors lose you rounds of golf?
Be realistic with your assessment. The more honest you are upfront with your weaknesses, the better chance you have at improving your golf experience.
Consider opportunities from an external perspective. Be forward thinking and look at the general golf market. Look at services and products you can deliver that are currently not being met by the golf market. Here are some questions that lend themselves to opportunities:
- What golf opportunities can you spot in your market?
- What interesting golf trends are you aware of?
- Where is golf headed?
Opportunities can come from anywhere. There are forces at work in your local market. Forces include technology, government policy, social-economic, lifestyle changes (social patterns), local events and cultural shifts. Tie opportunities to each of these.
A threat is something that like opportunities that is external that you can’t control, but can prepare for. It is more over encompassing and will stem from market forces like: technology, governmental policy, social-economic, lifestyle changes (social patterns), local events, generational imperatives. Here are some questions to ask:
- What obstacles do you face?
- What are your golf competitors doing?
- Are the standards of golf in your market changing?
- Are there other forms of recreation that golfers are choosing to spend their time with?
- What are the economic indicators?
- Is technology threatening your course?
Download a copy of the Golf Course SWOT Analysis Worksheet for FREE.
Levon Guiragossian is principal marketing consultant and founder of The Holy Grail of Marketing, a consulting firm specializing in golf marketing helping golf courses and private clubs grow their players and members.