24 Things Golf Courses Need to Do in 2014 and Beyond to be Successful

January 2014

Here are 24 things that I observed courses who were successful in 2013 did which I believe is the new “Formula for Success” in 2014 and beyond.

1 – Have great course conditions that are consistent throughout the year.

2 – Have  a fun layout that is not too long or too difficult.

3 – Have a VERY friendly staff (yes, EVERY staff – even the people mowing the grass) but especially the proshop, beverage cart, rangers and grill areas.

4 – Have built a large database of customers (5,000+ emails and 1,000+ Facebook fans are good benchmarks).

5 – Regularly communicate via their website, email blasts and social media (2-3 communications per week).

6 – Know their target market (juniors, seniors, women, blue-collared men, white-collared men) and have an environment (clubhouse, locker room, dining area, card room, etc.) that is appealing for that group to enjoy hanging out in.

7 – Learn how to be independent of 3rd party tee time services to increase loyalty and protect inventory & perceived price point.

8 – Have strong leagues but are positioned at times that do not interfere with public play or mini-group outings.

9 – Have a moderate membership base that doesn’t tie up prime time tee time slots.

10 – Have a heavy focus on group outings with more emphasis on “mini-outings” (24-60) and are willing to be creative on modified shotguns with small groups.

11 – Heavy emphasis on Social Media Marketing including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Yelp

12 – Always have something new and fun going on (and tell everyone about it via website, email and social media).

13 – Annually survey customers to find out what they like and don’t like and actually MAKE SOME CHANGES to show your customers that you are listening.

14 – Spend the majority of their marketing budget on ONLINE marketing and accept the fact that most traditional and print marketing is DEAD (or at best a terrible ROI).

15 – Come up with fun, creative ideas EVERY MONTH to keep the vibe at the course lively, entertaining, interesting and fun which causes people (and media) to talk about you.

16 – Encourage parents to bring their kids to the course (specified times OK) so the whole family feels comfortable. Parents are doing more and more activities with their kids…make golfing one of them!

17 – Create an environment where golfers can learn, practice and get better (nice practice facility and lessons). Avid golfers will hang out, practice, eat, drink and more likely PLAY at your facility if so.

18 – Have an online store where you can sell gift cards, memberships, league fees, and special packages.

19 – Have a fair price point that your target demographic is willing to pay for your product.

20 – Make it fun for employees to work there.

21 – Do their OWN special discounts and pricing packages (eg. “self” groupon concept).

22 – Create a pre-season, monthly marketing plan to follow during the year.

23 – Create short (30-60 second) videos that inform and entertain to share online.

24 – When not DOING something marketing, be THINKING of additional ways to creatively market.

Kevin Unterreiner
Founder & Director, TwinCitiesGolf.com
Helping Golf Businesses Successfully Market Online since 1997.

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