PROJECT 89: Retention with Continued Growth

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Play Better, Play More: Play Worse, Play Less

If you work in the golf industry, you know: the game is on fire! For more than 20 years, the game has had a search party out looking for new golfers: men, women and juniors: anyone who may have wanted to try the game. Well ladies & gentlemen, you can call off the search. In the middle of an incredibly challenging year on so many levels, people have found the game! The stories are amazing, almost unbelievable. Tee sheets filled from sun up through sun down, practice ranges packed, private club rounds through the roof! The game had worked so hard to reinvent itself, especially for young people, even pushing a hybrid called foot golf. Now, because they are working from home, then stuck with little to do after hours, young people too, have found our little 600 year old game. Golfer are golfing, and writing about it is so much fun!

No doubt that sports being absent is one reason our game is flourishing. Although we like our sports, we love golf, and the success of the past few months makes us momentarily stop and forget the seriousness that hangs all around us. The virus will go away or at least be minimized one day, and sports will return. What then will happen to the private club rounds, the practice ranges, and the tee sheets? Although we can wish and hope that every new and returning golfer will stick around, play their 16+ rounds per year, while making golf operators and golf ball brands happy, you may want to begin to plan, with a strategy for the long term. At the top of this post there is a quote. A friend said that to me one day 18 years ago. It has become a part of me ever since. She always wanted to play more golf when she was striping her driver and sticking her iron shots close. While the opposite was also true. When she was playing poorly, she made a dozen excuses not to take the invite.

This is part one of a two-part post about this idea I am calling Project 89. I will get into the improvement nuts & bolts in part 2. Part 1 will focus on soft ideas. This highfives post includes 5 thoughts about taking care of your golfers both new, and not so new. Here are my 5 thoughts:

  1. Likeability: create a plan with your team to roll out the red carpet daily. Execute a plan where you and your team talk to your golfers: learning about who they are, as they too learn about you, your team, and the game
  2. Communication: coach your team to speak with your members and guests. Create a service environment that is inviting & friendly. Have the team be available, out & about. Social distancing of course but allow your team to intersect with your golfers with interest and enthusiasm. Create an education platform on mobile and your web site. Customers build loyalty to the people & places they know and like
  3. Recognition: it is critical to recognize the small fetes of your golfers. Making their first birdie, breaking through a major score, and other achievements are important to recognize. The awards can be small, but timely
  4. Education: we will talk about instruction in part 2. Our game is rich in history and beauty. Spend the time to educate your team, and then your players on the game, the Tours, equipment, and information about the great courses
  5. Community: develop a mentor program for all who want to participate. Having a golf mentor can help a new player overcome their frustrations. In addition, when you create a community of golfers, you assure that no golfer will be forced to play alone. When people know they can always “find a game”, they may just create a reason to play.

I am calling this idea, Project 89 because it is about retention and breaking through barriers, for both men and women. This first part is about creating a path and strategy to make your golfers feel good about you, your team, and your facility. Getting people to like the experience and the people is an essential part. Getting customers to remain a part of the game is the mission. Thank you.

 Jack Dillon writes the highfives blog. Jack can help your team, your operation. Contact Jack at 407-973-6136 or at dillonjack53@gmail.com. Jack is the expert you may be looking for. He lives in Orlando.

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