Archive for November, 2009

As I travel around the country working with golf course operators, one question I often get is about marketing the golf course – “How and when do I market this golf course?” Well, one thing I can say about this subject is that it has been a hot issue for me and my clients in 2009, and I have seen some clear examples of when not to market your golf course.

As we know, there are four basic components of marketing (Four “P’s”) – Product, Promotion, Price, Placement. The first level of this marketing management philosophy is probably the most important with golf facilities – Product. At a golf facility the product is your golf course. If the golf course is not in ideal condition, all other marketing efforts (promotion, price, placement) are not likely to succeed, and may even backfire. I have seen this on two separate occasions with municipal golf operators in 2009. Here is a summary of what happened:

Heavy rain fell in late spring / early summer, drenching the golf course which does not drain well as it is.  The municipality went ahead with a pre-planned promotional push to drive new customers to the golf course. The promotion worked and all these new customers experienced soggy conditions and a rather un-enjoyable round of golf. These new customers left unhappy, unlikely to ever return. Also, they told friends and acquaintances about the conditions, who also told others and so on. In the end, the course gained a reputation as being “under water.” One rumor was even started that the course was going to close or be sold, leading to further declines in rounds activity and cancellations of pre-booked events.

So, the moral of this brief story is simple – make sure your golf course is in its most ideal condition (product) before embarking on an extensive advertising campaign (promotion).

Thanks for your attention. I sincerely hope the information is useful. In the next postings we will continue our discussion of golf course marketing with some examples of successful advertising campaigns for both rounds and memberships that I have seen this year.

See you down the road.

Richard Singer

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