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How a studio golf club academy can support member retention

Many clubs are keen to retain the new members they have gained in the last three years. Here, Ian Melham, Head of Membership Services at Foremost Golf, explains that a studio academy can be highly beneficial.

It goes without saying that golf club memberships have been a beneficiary of the pandemic, with a 12.5 percent growth rate nationally (based on Foremost member golf clubs, comparing pre- to post-membership levels). As a result, a focus on the retention of these new golfers is paramount to the success of the golf club in the years to come. There are multiple factors that contribute to whether a member will continue their subscription on a yearly basis. These factors naturally include the product itself, access to the golf course, enjoyment and the feeling of ‘belonging’. This article will discuss the positive impact a studio golf club academy can have on membership retention.

Participation – extension of the golf club product

It is an expectation of many new golfers that there should be an indoor coaching / simulator and fitting facility at the golf club.

A factor that can’t be controlled is the weather. As we are aware when someone is paying for a membership or service they ‘expect’ to have access to it when they require it. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case when it comes to golf, especially during the winter months with excessive rainfall and cold temperatures. An indoor studio facility provides a convenient alternative for members to keep playing, reducing the possibility for them to be forced to travel to competitor golf clubs. This allows them to play golf when they wouldn’t have previously been able to, and in turn see the studio as an ‘additional benefit’ of being a member of the club. The more time they are at the club, the more member engagement and customer spend potential.

Professional service and customer engagement

The studio academy offers the perfect opportunity for customer engagement with golf club coaching staff, and building long-term member relationships.

When a golf club academy is effectively run by a proactive golf professional, the member rewards are endless. In life people like doing things they enjoy and what they are good at. As a result, having an effective golf club academy is essential in assisting the improvement and development of club members. If a member is struggling with their golf game, the first person they should be looking to turn to should be their golf club professional. Having an effective, modern, state-of-the-art studio on-site will allow the professional team to coach and custom fit all year round, turning what could previously have been a basic service in the wind and cold, into a highly professional customer experience.

Feeling of ‘belonging’

A focus point that can be overlooked at times when it comes to membership retention is the feeling of ‘belonging’. If someone is new to a golf club and has joined on their own accord, it’s important to find them a group of golfers that they can attach themselves to. No department is better placed in a golf club to regularly engage with these members than the professional team in the golf shop / academy. The team has the opportunity to integrate them into the fabric of the club and make them feel part of a family. The indoor studio provides the perfect environment to conduct new member integration events like induction sessions, group coaching or a social event.

Golf club community

A studio golf club academy can also have a positive impact on the ‘community feel’ at the golf club. The simulator in the studio would open the door to additional events such as: indoor winter leagues, educational talks, nearest the pin, and long drive competitions. This will encourage members that may not have previously used the facilities the opportunity to try them, and to see the benefits of the technology. It will also provide the opportunity for different membership groups to mix in a more relaxed environment and as a result becomes an additional social setting at the club.

For more information on how Foremost can assist you and your business in 2023 simply email membership@foremostgolf.com or call 01753 218 890

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