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Survey offers pointers for PGA pros

11.57am 24th December 2014 - Management Topics

Cleobury Mortimer’s thriving junior section led by head PGA Professional Robert Watkins and junior organiser Richard Chandler has been instrumental in its success
Cleobury Mortimer’s thriving junior section led by head PGA Professional Robert Watkins and junior organiser Richard Chandler has been instrumental in its success

Findings in the 2014 Golf Club Membership Questionnaire reveal how flexible memberships, dynamic junior sections and working with county golf partnerships (CGP) can have a positive impact on membership numbers.

The results, gleaned from 709 clubs that filled in a questionnaire, also reinforce the vital role that PGA pros have to play at the heart of golf facilities and which have been highlighted by The PGA and RetailTribe’s rainmaker campaign.

The biennial study, completed for England Golf by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC, lists some key recommendations on how to target non-members, current members and juniors – all areas where the PGA pro can play a pivotal role.

Ensuring a comfortable and engaging club environment is considered important to attracting non-members with induction days, structured coaching taster sessions and working with CGP’s helping to increase membership rather than lowering membership fees.

And the 34 per cent of clubs that did offer flexible memberships reported increased membership in the last two years.

PGA pros also have a part to play when it comes to existing members because the survey revealed cultivating the right atmosphere was central to retention as was increasing the number of different types of membership.

When it comes to girl juniors the survey made stark reading with the average club having less than five members.

However clubs with a clear commitment to junior golf, either with regular coaching or a dedicated junior organiser, were significantly more likely to have increased their junior membership.

Another finding that illustrated where PGA pros can make an impact came when clubs were asked to identify how England Golf could provide support. The areas listed by clubs included recruitment of new members, access funding, retention of existing members, develop links with schools and community and marketing and communications – all of which PGA pro are well equipped to provide.

David Colclough, The PGA’s head of member education, commenting on the survey, said: “The survey highlights the importance of reviewing the benefits and activities that form the ‘golf club membership experience’ – the combination of the golf and social experience which the member (customer) has at the club, and which they weigh up against the financial and time costs associated with playing the game.

“We know from recent SMS research the PGA Professional is three times more likely to be the primary point of contact at the golf club than anyone else on site.

“Therefore in reviewing the golf club membership experience, it seems sensibly and important that clubs undertake this in conjunction with their PGA Professional.”

The findings of the 2014 Golf Club Membership Questionnaire can be viewed here

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