7 ways to retain golf club members

Wednesday 18th October 2023

Retaining existing members is key for most golf clubs. While many clubs won’t have a problem attracting new members – and you may even have a healthy waiting list – long-standing members help to develop a real sense of club community. Keeping your existing members happy and engaged indicates you’re doing all the right things, and ultimately reduces admin time and expense onboarding new members.

Here are our quick tips to help you improve membership retention.

1. Welcome new members in style

Make your onboarding process as smooth and simple as it can be. Include key information in a handy welcome pack, including opening times, a club rulebook, a list of any social events coming up, member benefits and anything else a new member might need to know. Add a welcome letter from your Club Manager to bring a personal touch to the onboarding pack or throw in some branded merch to really make your welcome pack stand out.

You may also wish to personally meet all new members, explaining everything they need to know and giving them an exclusive tour of your facilities.

This will help new members feel part of the club from the start, increasing the loyalty they feel for their club.

2. Go above and beyond

Low customer retention often indicates low customer satisfaction so you should always be on the lookout for ways to improve the member experience.

You know your members best, so you’ll know what they want and what they expect from their golf club. Use this information to tailor your service to your members. For example, if you want your golfers to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and friendly feel, why not introduce more casual clothing rules? Or if you know a new member is brand-new to the game, perhaps set them up with a pro or an established member to show them the ropes?

Train your staff to provide a top-notch, personal service too. Ideally, your staff should know members’ names and make the effort to get to know members individually.

3. Make golf membership fees more manageable

You could increase member retention by offering a wider range of payment options. While some members may choose to pay for their annual membership upfront, others could find it beneficial to spread the cost over several months instead.

Offering golf membership finance could make annual fees more manageable for both new and existing members, preventing members from leaving your club for financial reasons.

4. Keep members up to date

There might be loads of things going on at your club, from social events to member milestones. Make sure your members feel part of the action by updating your social media channels, newsletters and clubhouse screens with the latest information.

Communication is king, so make it easy for members to access need-to-know info in a way that suits them, whether they’re social media enthusiasts or prefer a physical copy of a newsletter.

5. Show members they're valued

Reward loyalty to keep members coming back year after year. Exclusive benefits such as priority booking or discounts can help your golfers feel valued. Without these membership perks, why should your visitors upgrade to a full membership at all? You may already have a suite of fantastic benefits, but your members might need reminding about them from time to time. Make sure you shout about the benefits of membership so your golfers can take full advantage of everything on offer.

Also consider organising a calendar of members-only events, such as new member competitions or night golf experiences, giving golfers a chance to get to know one another and enjoy the more social side of the club.

By encouraging your members to feel part of a team, you’ll see your community grow and your retention increase.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on ‘at risk’ members. Look out for members who aren’t participating frequently and reach out to them personally. Find out why they’re not utilising their membership and try to re-engage them if you can.

6. Encourage improvement

We all like to challenge ourselves and see our performance improve over time, whether that’s in a professional setting or out on the golf course.

Members may soon become disenchanted if they don’t see their techniques improving. Where’s the fun in struggling on without support?

Having pros on hand to offer advice and private tuition can help members to settle in fully and really embrace their love of the game. They’re far more likely to stick around if they can build on their skills with the club’s encouragement.

Plus, allowing a bond to develop between your experienced golf instructors and members will naturally improve your club’s reputation in the eyes of that member. They may even recommend your club to friends and family if they’ve had a good experience working with your team.

7. Gather feedback - and listen to it

You can have a good guess about what your members think about your club, but there’s no better way to really gather insight without asking directly.

Create a physical suggestion box or simply send our regular feedback surveys via your mailing list to ask for your members’ thoughts. You could even set up and monitor a member forum to find out the key questions or concerns members have.

Of course, gathering feedback is no use if you don’t action valuable suggestions. Show you’re really listening to members and doing all you can to improve their golfing experience. Golfers are far more likely to return and consider themselves a long-standing member if they feel their opinions are considered.

Enjoy the benefits of improved membership retention

By implementing some of these strategies, your members may stay part of your club for longer. Not only that, but you could also start to see a real sense of community develop within your club. And that is absolutely priceless.