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All I want for Christmas is…more members!

​The Condeferation of Golf in Ireland highlight six ways to recruit new members to your club

  • 12 December 2018

The time of year has arrived when we sit back among the boxes of chocolate, decorations and gifts, reflect on the twelve months that have passed and make plans for the coming year.​

It is true, golf club membership across the island of Ireland has been in decline over the last decade, but fear not as the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) has some tips for membership recruitment – should that be a goal of your club in 2019. 

According to Participation Officer Justin O’Byrne, golf clubs who begin looking outside the box when considering recruitment options are seeing better results and a higher conversion rate into membership.

“It is important to evaluate your current memberships and make sure they offer value for money for beginner’s right through to those looking to join a new club.” he stated. “If new potential members are presented with a package upfront that they perceive to be valuable, the club has a much greater chance of converting that person into membership.”

The list below outlines a number of options which CGI have assisted clubs with in the past:

Free Taster Sessions
A great way to introduce beginners to the game and the golf club environment, these sessions can be targeted at a specific membership group. The Women’s Get into Golf Taster Sessions for example, would generally take the form of an introduction with the PGA Professional, integration with some current members and some tea or coffee afterwards.  Current members could be encouraged to invite family and friends and this session could also enable participants to also experience the social side of golf club membership.

Local Businesses
Many clubs have found targeting local businesses an effective way of recruiting new members. Many co-workers may give golf a try together a clubs may event consider promoting a corporate membership. CGI are available to do an awareness day in offices (where space permits).

Activities outside of the golf club
Taking your offer outside of the golf club brings golf and your club into the local community to provide an even greater awareness. Demonstrations and taster sessions at local shows/festivals, community facilities, colleges/universities and businesses have all been tried by clubs in the past but it is important to promote follow-on opportunities at the club.

Driving ranges and Pitch & Putt courses
Local driving ranges and pitch & putt courses are places where a number of newcomers will try the game.  A mutual arrangement may be appropriate to ensure that golf club opportunities are promoted to people visiting driving ranges and pitch and putt courses. 

School Awareness Day
School Awareness Days are a fun opportunity for school children to get their first taste of golf. Again, clubs are encouraged to have a follow on activity in the Golf Club soon after the awareness day to develop a family theme with a social event (e.g. BBQ), which may parents and siblings may like to get involved in. Many clubs have seen an increase in adult membership as a knock on effect of running an effective junior programme.

Create links & partnerships with local sports/leisure clubs
Golf is an ideal past-time for those sportsmen and women who are looking to take up a new, less intense activity. It may also be considered as an additional activity for those participating in seasonal sports such as GAA or hockey. Creating links with another local sports club might not only see an increase in membership, but the club may also use the golf club facilities for awards nights or outings that would increase revenue also. The Local Sports Partnerships (LSP’s) are another great link to make in the local area. 

While recruitment is the first step in increasing membership at your club, retaining those members becomes even more crucial. CGI Participation and Club Support Officers are on hand to support clubs in their efforts and clubs are encouraged to visit www.cgigolf.org for more information.