If you happen to own a golf course as a business, then you likely know how fortunate you are. You operate a business where people get to spend time outdoors, relax, and get some exercise, enjoying an activity they love. You spend your time interacting with such individuals, which is likely a far cry better than what you had to put up with at previous jobs and earlier careers. It’s likely you even get to play a round or two for free when you want. Your online presence is also a big thing as the internet is the trend for information nowadays so it is important to hire web designers for golf websites.
However, there might be times you are out on your fairways and greens and realize there just aren’t as many people out there as there could be. To keep your course open, or just to grow its existing success, you know that you need to market the location. If you find yourself wanting to do this, or just needing to, and you’re not sure how then keep reading to learn 13 ways to go about doing it.
1) Television: People are willing to driveways for the right golf course, so think big regarding your potential market. If your course has features, elements, or perks to it that no one else around really has, then you should let everyone know.
2) Radio: If your city or community is big enough to have any AM or FM stations dedicated to sports 24/7, then it’s almost critical that you have ads on that station for your golf course. Not only that, you need to run yours more often than any other golf course.
3) Newspaper: Your local sports section is a great place to run an ad for your golf course, and to be honest, the business section might be too. Put a map up of your course, either of the location regarding road layout, or even the actual tees, fairways, and greens. If you want to beat some of your competitors out, make sure that you do these ads during the middle of the winter, if the weather in your community lends itself to cold-season golfing. Even though the days are colder and shorter, avid golfers still look to get out when they can. Some of them particularly love how cold, hard ground means their balls bounce farther downhill or along fairways, resulting in lower scores. If you want to get truly creative, put in a fake snow maker by the parking lot so kids can have a place to play in the snow while a parent hits the links.
4) Festivals: Any community festival, be it an annual school event or an ethnic holiday, is something that the organizers want to be as big as possible. See if you can put up your tent or booth, possibly setting up a small mini-golf course for kids and families to enjoy while attending the event.
5) Parades: An area parade is always a chance to create more awareness about your golf course. Most parades aren’t going to let a float participate if it’s overly commercial, but the whole sport of golfing means you can create something truly entertaining to make the crowds wow over or at least get a good laugh from.
6) Local sports teams: Coaches of local sports teams and even current or retired professional athletes and gym coaches are probably among the biggest golfing enthusiasts in the area. See if you can explore those connections to try and help sponsor their teams or clubs. You can go for the big deal, like having your ads hung in the arena of a local professional basketball team, or for a small-scale deal like getting your website and logo on the jerseys of a Little League team because you paid for the uniforms.
7) Host a tournament: Organizing a tournament at your course is a way to get the word around the local golf community that there’s a truly competitive event going on with prizes to be had, other than who is paying for the next round of drinks. If you know the right people, organize a pro-am or even a celebrity tournament where local golfers can play in teams with local business leaders, professional athletes, and political figures. Having a few on-air personalities involved can help spread the word, and if the proceeds go to a worthy cause, everyone looks and feels great for participating.
8) Sponsor a fundraiser: Even though the tournament you host might be a fundraiser on its own, feel free to support any school, the house of worship, or other local establishment running its charity or fundraising drive. Offer free golf games, an annual membership, or even a nice set of clubs as donated prizes for those buying raffle tickets or the like. Your golf course looks like a caring member of the community and gets its name out there.
9) The Internet: It’s critical to have a website that shows where your golf course is and lists your prices and hours. However, you also need to optimize it for any keywords like “golf course *community name*.” If you work with SEO professionals, make sure they emphasize local SEO that puts you on search engine maps. Also, make sure your site is either mobile-friendly or has a mobile version since golfers might use their smartphones or tablets to try and find you. If possible, enable online reservations for tee times. Just make sure there are safeguards preventing a competitor course from cramming your schedule with ghost reservations that eat up all your tee times but leave your fairways empty.
10) Local sporting good stores: Even though you hope the golfers on your course buy their clubs and balls in your clubhouse, the truth is that they’re often only doing that as a last-minute fix if they’re short on something. The exception, of course, is if you dredge up lost balls from water hazards and sell them cheap, but for the most part, they’re buying their gear elsewhere. Talk to the owners and managers of local sporting goods stores and see if you can work anything out about getting their patrons onto your links. Offering a 10-percent off coupon to anyone who buys clubs in that store is a perk that the store can offer their customers that cost them nothing, giving them the incentive to promote the existence of your course.
11) Friends play free: If you have an existing core of regular players, particularly members, then you have a loyal asset here that you should get to market for you. Since they already know your location and love it, give them incentives to lure other players to your course. How exactly you do that is up to you and how your memberships are structured, but letting members bring friends to play for free is a great way to get nonmembers on your tees and greens where they hopefully fall in love with your facility.
12) Daily deals: While the seeming crazes of Internet daily deal specials like LivingSocial and Groupon seem to have peaked years ago, the truth is that they are still around. Consider doing a special through one or both of them, or some similar program. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble (or just not want to give up the revenue they take out of their deals), then just look over your tee times to see what days of the week or times of day are slower than others. Much like movie theaters often run matinee specials or discount Tuesdays, advertising a lowering of your normal rates once or twice a week might fill some of the soft spots in your business cycle with new golfers that wouldn’t normally consider your course within their budget range.
13) Road signs: At the very least you should have a road sign beside your location, so golfers know where to pull in to park for their rounds. You should also have other signs around your community. Poll your current golfers or look over their addresses if you have them on file. Do this to get an idea what distances local consumers are driving to come to your course, and then make sure you have billboards throughout the area. Just putting directions to your course on them can seem innocent enough, even if you’re trying to snag golfers that get lost looking for other courses.
In all the time you spend playing the game you love or just running your course or driving range, you might have heard the interesting tidbit that the nation has more golf courses than McDonald’s. While it sounds like a cute fact, it’s also true, as the 15,500 courses around the country outnumber the Golden Arches by several thousand locations. That means there’s plenty of consumer enthusiasm for golfing you can profit from at your location, but it also means you’ve got a ton of competition you’re up against. Using these 13 golf course marketing techniques can mean the difference between a bogey and a hole in one.