The next generation of golfers, the children of the Baby Boomers, are going to be managing the future of private country members for a long time. They will have to find the answer to …what will it take to get the under 40’s to join private country clubs?
Fortunately, this era of golfer does not react to things as the non-golfing marketing firms feel they should. Gimmicks, or tricks, are not going to get them to join these clubs.
There have been a number of programs put into place over the years to court younger members, but none have long lasting effects. The solutions to Country Club survivability will come only after they changed direction.
If Private Country Clubs are to survive they will need to offer things the current, and future, members want, or need. In order for the Club to change they have to solve the problems they currently have.
From that review will come the answer to the questions on what private country clubs will have to do to survive.
It’s no secret that the golf industry is going through significant change. What is not widely known is just how much the industry will need to change in the coming years to ensure the next generation picks up the game, purchases memberships, and passes the benefits on to their grandchildren. The industry is evolving to open its doors to new generations of golfers that are going to change the way the private clubs do business in the future.
Golfers join a private club so that they can meet, socialize, and develop friendships and associations with individuals of similar backgrounds, interests, and pursuits. However, many private clubs today find themselves in a new predicament: they must actively seek additional members. This has caused many private clubs to implement a membership marketing plans, something practically unheard of in the prestigious halls of private clubs prior to 1980.
Candidates for membership and new members, those in their late twenties to early fifties, desire different services from those preferred by older, long-term club members. These newer members and prospective candidates for membership prefer more casual dining and faster service. Time shortages and the resurgence of a focus on family life make family club activities critical for many clubs; members want to spend their limited free time with family members. Because many membership candidates come from households with two adult wage earners, gender equity in the club is an important issue; clubs must accommodate and appeal to both adults in the family, not just the household’s adult male. Newer, younger members typically are also more health-conscious and seek clubs that provide healthy menu alternatives as well as fitness/health activities.
Baby Boomers are currently in the driver’s seat. They’re the wealthiest generation, controlling 70 percent of disposable income in this country, and boasting $3.4 trillion annual buying power.
The youngest Baby Boomers turn 49 in 2013, while the oldest representatives of the generation will turn 67. There are vast differences between a 49-year-old coming into the prime of his or her career and a 67-year-old contemplating retirement.
What is Working
Membership for the Day
One of the most favorable plans adopted by many Private Country Clubs is offering a non-member the opportunity to become a member for a day or month.
This allows the guest to come in see the club, bring in friends to get their opinions of the facility. The investment of this program is recovered from the discounted monthly membership due these potential members would pay. So if they decided not to become a full member then the club has not lost.
The majority of all private golf club members joined a club before they turned 40 years old. If private clubs are going to flourish in the years ahead they are going to have serve the needs of a younger demographic, which are looking for more technology, faster play, more diverse membership and different amenities and dinning choices than their older counterparts.
For more information on programs sand marketing strategies for private and semi-private golf cubs contact New England Publishing at 800-736-9020 or go to nepuninc.com.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?