Growing Your Game… Golf Market Development Case Study

Marketing strategies to grow your business

There are two fundamental ways to increase revenue to your business:

1.  Grow your marketshare, or your percentage of the pie.

2.  Grow the pie.

A company’s business plan should incorporate strategies towards both objectives for long term sustainability.

We are very privileged to work for numerous clients in the golf industry in Canada. Golf is an $11.5 Billion dollar industry according to the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), with the highest sport participation rate in Canada. It is a lifelong sport that can be enjoyed from age 3 to 83! The challenge lies in that only 2% of kids age 5-12 are currently playing golf and these are the full play members and guests 20 years from now!

Golf must focus on golf market development and grow the pie as must many industries.  Fortunately the national and provincial associations are doing some great work…

  • Junior golfGolf Canada reports that golf is now offered in 2200 schools across Canada, largely as a result of the Golf in Schools and SNAG (Starting New at Golf) Initiatives.

  • British Columbia Golf has implemented Playground to Fairway as a bridge from the school programs to the golf course.

  • CN Future Links is Canada’s Junior Golf Program and offers a full suite of programs from Learn to Play to a Junior Golf League for kids age 6-18.

What can an individual golf course do to grow the pie?

5 Ways to Grow the Game…

  1. Adopt an elementary school. Contact the schools nearest your golf course to see if they they incorporate golf within their programming. If not, find a champion within the school or become the champion yourself and consider providing them with a fun interactive learning experience through the Golf in Schools program. Adopt a School for $475 per school to ignite passion for the game could very well be money well spent.

  2. Consider a Girls’ Only Club… There is a huge discrepancy between the number of young girls taking up the game and the number of young boys. For the most part Junior golf programs are co-ed, yet there are separate Men’s Night, Ladies Day and Business Ladies programs. Young girls may feel the pressure that their adult counterparts sometimes feel when learning and playing golf with the opposite sex. Let’s face it, boys are stronger at every age and they can hit the golf ball further. Perhaps golf can learn from soccer and its 40% engagement rate with kids age 5-12 that a less intimidating Girls’ Only Club environment may encourage participation!

  3. Ladies Only Instruction. While we all part of the same universe and do enjoy each others company on the golf course once we know the game, for the most part Venetians would prefer to learn the game without Martian spectators! Ladies Only Golf Instruction programs such as Predator Ridge’s Swing Like A Girl have proven hugely successful and are growing in demand!

  4. Get the Kids on the Golf Course. Join hundreds of your fellow golf courses across Canada and promote and participate in the NGCOA’s annual “Take a Kid to the Course” week in July, where typically kids under the age of 16 golf free with an accompanying paying adult. This initiative both grows the game and contributes to family relationships. The GolfBC Group has taken this initiative even further offering it every day of the year at their collection of nine British Columbia golf courses. Kids Play Free at GolfBC!

  5. Offer Reasonable Junior Member Guest Fees. While golf courses offer a junior rate, incorporation of an even more preferred rate for guests of your junior members will do as it does for your adult members and make them feel privileged to be a part of your Club. Juniors will amplify that privilege becoming a valuable extension of your marketing force toward both growing the game and your market share thereof. Consider packaging nine holes of golf, dinner and prizing for guests of Junior members as well as your Juniors and watch your Junior Night grow. Do it well and watch your Junior membership grow the following year. Continue to treat your Junior Members well and watch your Intermediate and Full Play memberships grow.

“Win the children you win the mothers. Win the mothers you win the game.”  Henry DeLozier

The Web Advisors are passionate about growing the game as strategic marketers for the golf and tourism industries and would love to collaborate on market development strategy for your business!

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