Revealed: The secrets to retaining golf club members

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Research carried out by Manchester Metropolitan University has revealed the secrets to keeping golf club members happy and loyal.

The study, which was commissioned by England Golf, will be used to help clubs strengthen their business by retaining their members and highlighted six key ways for them to do so. They are:

• Offer enjoyment and engagement;
• Provide a unique ethos and atmosphere;
• Create a great customer experience from car park to bar;
• A warm welcome which extends beyond a ‘meet & greet’;
• Participation options for all, from novice to experienced;
• Ways to keep members involved long-term.

It also offers ideas for clubs to consider which will customise their approach to members. These could include becoming a female-friendly club or offering alternative formats which could be welcomed by beginners, older players and those who are short of time.

Report author Dr Chris Mackintosh said: “Members are the lifeblood of any club and retention really matters. The evidence says that if golf clubs can be more diverse, more open and embrace a friendly culture more people will stay in the game and we will grow the sport.”

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s head of club support, added: “We want to show clubs how to understand and to value their customers and build a healthy base of loyal members.

“There’s another great benefit because we find that clubs which have an excellent relationship with existing members, will improve their reputation and find it easier to recruit new players.”

England Golf is now working in partnership with MMU on a three-year research project to better understand volunteers in clubs and the critical role they play in retention.

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