One of the most unexploited opportunities available to golf clubs in this country involves golf clubs hosting events. To some, the position of a general manager at a golf course can seem an unenviable one. The upfront costs of running a golf course – maintaining the land and benefits the members are accustomed to – can be very high. This means a golf club that starts to struggle can run into serious problems very quickly.
However, the real estate that can be a liability to a golf club can also be one of its most valuable assets. Just as farmers are turning to events like weddings and “glamping” in order to access new revenue streams, golf clubs can too. Just as we discussed with tee sheets, the upfront cost of maintaining the house and grounds must be covered by keeping as fast and steady a flow of customers as possible.
But it’s not just about money. In these quickly changing times what people long for is community and stability.
As of writing the UK has just begun to emerge from Coronavirus restrictions. The vision of the green and healthy outdoors means that golf clubs can offer a safe, nostalgic venue for members and locals alike. We live in a world where industrialisation and corporatisation seek to package and repackage anything that can be sold. However, golf courses – each one a unique experience of nature’s beauty – can offer a quieter, more genuine alternative.
Golf Clubs Hosting Events – For Members
Almost all golf clubs host events for members. While this can serve in its own manner to raise revenue, the most important function this serves is to make your members feel valued and cherished. This in turn can help member retention, a vital part of keeping a golf club healthy.
But members are not stupid. Perfunctory attempts to put on second-rate events will be easily spotted. On the other hand, going the extra mile will also be noticeable. Efforts to put on a theme or a competition are good ideas, as is trying to make events family-oriented. Tying your club into the wider community via the families of your members can further cement retention. In addition, getting children into golf can be hugely important in ensuring the long-term health of the sport and the industry.
One of the most popular ways to create an event for members is to center it around a specific form of golf competition. Night golf – performed with balls that are luminescent or which contain LEDs – is one such idea. Altering your format to imitate an ongoing major tournament can also be a way to easily hold a memorable event. Finally, if your catering is good – and it should be – offering a special event menu can be critical.
Golf Clubs Hosting Events – For Non-Members
Some general managers might already feel comfortable with managing events. Some general managers who don’t can and should look into hiring an event coordinator. But large events for non-members won’t necessarily be something any golf club can offer.
Some golf clubs will not have the facilities to consistently offer dedicated events to non-members. Weddings, for instance, frequently require large buildings. According to UK government legislation these must have rooms that are ‘seemly and dignified’ along with requisite fire and safety exits. But for those that can offer these events, they can be a serious boon.
In addition to the revenue generated by the event itself- which can often be very considerable – you can use these events to try and turn non-members into members. Offering temporary bonus memberships as part of a package can be a great way to get people hooked on golf. The barrier to a first experience might usually be high. But if they find they enjoy it, they’ll be coming back for more.
The biggest and most crucial barrier for golf clubs hosting events is fear of failure. Perhaps you just don’t think you have the ability to put on an event. Perhaps a previous event ran into difficulties or was just disappointing. However, we live in an era where margins for golf clubs are starting to narrow more than they ever have. Choosing not to put your club out there is just ensuring a slow death rather than risking a quick one. Whether you’re confident about your ability to put on events or doubting your potential, at Mango Golf we excel at getting the most of your special times with our decades of expertise.