With golf club joining fees and yearly memberships at an all-time high after the post-Covid boom, have you considered if your club’s brand identity and communication materials reflect the price of entry?
Having located interstate in late 2022, Mark was on the hunt for a golf club to call home. He spent many weeks doing his research, through talking to other golfers, visiting golf club websites, playing at various courses within his practical geographic reach and contacting clubs to obtain their yearly membership fee rates and joining fees that may apply.
So abundant were the number of clubs in his area, he compiled a spreadsheet detailing costs, travelling distance from home, waiting periods for membership, as well as notes on each club. The final column was a traffic light system with red for a no, amber for potential or green to investigate further.
Mark finally settled on a club which had a great course, and was relatively close.
Having settled into his new club and having now played a couple of dozen rounds, he has had many conversations with other club members regarding other clubs in the greater area, including the quality of the course, their joining fees, and their yearly membership fees.
It turns out that many of the clubs which Mark dismissed had very high-quality courses (that feature well on course rankings) that were overlooked, as he felt that their cost of membership and joining fee didn’t match their branding and overall appearance and quality of their communications. Everything from the appearance of their membership information packages, application form/s, email signatures used by the team, social media accounts, website quality and all the small intangible items used throughout the communications from the club.
Of the clubs that he did visit to look at the facilities (or play a round), some had an impressive course but were let down by branding basics. Things like a well thought-out and consistent signage system which makes it easy for visitors to know where the first tee is, the amenities, the practice range and even how to get from one hole to the next.
Others were let down with poor quality scorecards and stationery that looked as though they were designed and printed 20 years earlier, course and facility maps that didn’t do much to help you find your way around, or pieces of A4 paper haphazardly thrown together by the team with MS Word with no brand consistency. For the club in question, using the font “Papyrus” on a tatty A4 sign has no place in a public course let alone a private club with a yearly membership price above $4000 per year for membership.
Clubs which had a definitive and consistent brand identity in place throughout the property made you feel like you were in an exclusive private club that matched the joining fee and yearly membership. These clubs even made Mark consciously take his golf that day more seriously when playing (which can’t be a bad thing!).
Along with the quality of the golf course and the friendliness of the team, the experience that quality branding promotes throughout the club ecosystem goes a long way to elevating or maintaining the status of the club.
Whilst this article was written from the perspective of a potential new member, and Mark having been a member of a golf club since taking up the sport, it also goes a long way to maintain the prestige or status of a club and retaining a high-quality membership base. If a golf club takes pride in not only their course and property but also with high quality branding and communications, we are certain that rumblings and complaints from members about yearly membership increases will be drastically reduced when the perception that a club is a high quality facility is not brought into question.
Why make your prospective and current members feel as though they are part of a club that feels like a Swatch Watch, when you can make them feel like they are wearing a Rolex?