By John Jackson
When I started as Club Manager at Sale Golf Club back in April 2017, it came apparent that we needed to attract more new members.
We had suffered greatly from the poor weather of the previous winter and as a result had lost over 50 members.
In June 2017 I put together a detailed marketing plan for the Club which had a main focus on attracting new members, especially ladies!
Liaising with the Club Professional and with the help of England Golf, I scheduled in a number of free ladies taster sessions. These taster sessions would then be followed up by a four week ladies beginner coaching course costing just £20.
I made sure that the taster sessions were advertised far and wide. We sent an email out to members letting them know that we were running these ladies taster sessions and that if they had any friends who might be interested in trying golf, now was their chance. I also promoted the sessions heavily on all social media platforms, especially Facebook. There are a number of local Facebook pages for the community of Sale which I targeted such as ‘Sale M33′ which has over 13,000 members. Targeting pages such as ‘Sale M33’ really helped to reach a large audience of ladies who potentially might be interested in golf. In addition to this, I also contacted local women’s groups on Twitter and emailed local ladies Clubs to see if they’d be interested in coming along.
The promotion and advertising paid off and for our first free ladies taster session we had 22 ladies turn up.
We began the session in the Clubhouse where the ladies could get to know each other while enjoying a complimentary cup of coffee and biscuits. This really helped to put the ladies at ease and get them ready for the session ahead.
With 22 ladies altogether we decided to split the group into 2 – half the ladies went chipping & putting while the other half hit some full shots. After 30 minutes the ladies swapped round so they all got a good taste of what golf is about. To finish the session we headed back to the Clubhouse where the ladies enjoyed more coffee, cake and a good chat.
With the ladies all having a good chat, now was the time to ask if they’d like to sign up for our 4 week coaching course. Amazingly we had 19 ladies sign up there and then.
With 19 ladies signed up for the coaching course, we made sure we had plenty of our own lady members attend the sessions to provide support and make the ladies feel welcome. Over the course of the 4 weeks the ladies covered the swing, chipping, pitching and putting.
At the end of the 4 weeks they were then offered our ‘Get into Golf’ membership costing just £99. With this membership they’d get 2 x 30 minute lessons with our Professional, use of our practice facilities for 3 months, 20% discount behind the bar and limited access to the course when accompanied by a full member.
Again, amazingly we had 16 ladies sign up for the ‘Get into Golf’ membership which was fantastic!
The Sale lady members then played a key role once the new ladies joined as ‘Get into Golf’ members. Our Lady Captain set up a group on WhatsApp for all the new ladies and arranged weekly get together sessions on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. This was crucial in my opinion in helping the ladies feel part of the Club. Not only did the new ladies enjoy the golf, but they also enjoyed the social aspect. They would regularly meet up for a practice and then enjoy food & drinks in the Clubhouse.
Before the ‘Get into Golf’ membership expired, I then emailed all our new ladies with a special offer on membership for the first 12 months. 9 ladies took up the offer which was great.
Since this first ladies taster session over a year ago, we’ve now had over 30 ladies join as ‘Get into Golf’ members with 15 of them going on to join the Club as full members. This is something we will continue to push and work on but I’m pretty positive that if we continue to do what we’ve been doing, the future of ladies golf at Sale is very bright.
If I was going to give advice to anyone looking to attract new ladies to the Club, there are a number of key points to ensure.
- Plan – Have a plan. Schedule a number of free taster sessions and coaching sessions at a discount rate.
- Welcome – Make the ladies feel welcome. Offer free coffee/cake and biscuits at the taster sessions.
- Fun – Make the experience fun. The ladies want to enjoy themselves so make sure the sessions are relaxed and fun.
- Have a membership pathway in place – By having a ‘Get into Golf’ membership, the ladies can try golf without a great deal of financial commitment
- Get your ladies involved – Get your current lady members involved in the sessions and the recruitment. They will be a massive asset!
- Keep in contact – It’s important to stay in constant contact with the new ladies. Make sure they’re enjoying their golf and experience at your Club.
John Jackson is 28 years old and from St Helens in Merseyside, England. He is a qualified PGA Golf Professional and has been working as Club Manager at Sale Golf Club in Manchester and was recently appointed as Manager of Grange Park Golf Club. John is currently on the CMAE’s MDP pathway having recently completed MDP part 1 in London and was the recipient of the European Club Education Foundation Young manager Bursary.