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12,000 New Members... What's a Club To Do?

  • 25-08-2020 8:08am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭ Kevinmarkham


    There are some 12,000 new members who have joined Irish golf clubs in the past 3 to 4 months. I am trying to find out how clubs are reacting to this influx of new blood so if anyone can help me with the following questions it would be much appreciated.
    • What is your club doing to ensure that new members who joined during the Covid-19 months are integrating successfully?
    • Do you have someone dedicated to looking after them? Are you arranging special competitions? Do you assign a 'member buddy'? Is there a special event/newsletter/email to introduce them to the club and how it operates (e.g. booking tee times)?
    • What is your club doing for people who are new to golf and may not understand the etiquette required on and off the course?
    • How does your club plan to build loyalty and longevity amongst these new members (approx 12,000 across Ireland), especially as some will have joined only because other sports were not and are not available to them?

    Thanks for your help.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 979 ✭✭✭ mighty magpie


    Seen this on twitter too Kevin.

    1. Nothing, new members have full access to all tee times including prime saturday times, captain's day, president's day. It has caused a lot of complaints by some members.
    2. No, no and no. Emails to help with tee booking and website access is sent to all members.
    3. Nothing except a reminder on slow play which was sent to all golfers. Have seen 2 balls holding up 3 balls multiple times midweek and new (and usually younger) members have a very slow pace of play.
    4. Not aware of any plans. Members will be lost next year if GAA is back to normal come next spring. This may apply to other sports but lack of GAA was the reason at least 20 new members joined post lockdown.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ DuckSlice


    Nothing/No to all questions.

    We got a lot in as beginners but unfortunately our beginner membership doesn't give a handicap so the new members arent involved in competitions etc. I suggested that they get a handicap included in the membership or at least for the cost of the GUI fee but didnt get the go ahead.


  • Registered Users Posts: 545 ✭✭✭ bamayang


    Seen this on twitter too Kevin.

    1. Nothing, new members have full access to all tee times including prime saturday times, captain's day, president's day. It has caused a lot of complaints by some members.
    2. No, no and no. Emails to help with tee booking and website access is sent to all members.
    3. Nothing except a reminder on slow play which was sent to all golfers. Have seen 2 balls holding up 3 balls multiple times midweek and new (and usually younger) members have a very slow pace of play.
    4. Not aware of any plans. Members will be lost next year if GAA is back to normal come next spring. This may apply to other sports but lack of GAA was the reason at least 20 new members joined post lockdown.


    This drives me up the wall. I wouldnt mind anyone being new and struggling with the game or taking 10 shots to get down the fairway. But dawdling around, being on a phone, standing around on the green after everyone has finished. Jesus its frustrating.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,322 ✭✭✭ Wombatman


    Great questions Kevin. Clubs and their members should do all they can to assist new members as much as possible and hopefully retain them. I went out of my this summer, to play with and sign cards for new members so they could get their handicaps.

    Unfortunately some members see newbies as an inconvenience. Probably the same people that will come on here whinging when there clubs becomes insolvent and close.


  • Registered Users Posts: 737 ✭✭✭ Whiplash85


    There are some 12,000 new members who have joined Irish golf clubs in the past 3 to 4 months. I am trying to find out how clubs are reacting to this influx of new blood so if anyone can help me with the following questions it would be much appreciated.
    • What is your club doing to ensure that new members who joined during the Covid-19 months are integrating successfully?
    • Do you have someone dedicated to looking after them? Are you arranging special competitions? Do you assign a 'member buddy'? Is there a special event/newsletter/email to introduce them to the club and how it operates (e.g. booking tee times)?
    • What is your club doing for people who are new to golf and may not understand the etiquette required on and off the course?
    • How does your club plan to build loyalty and longevity amongst these new members (approx 12,000 across Ireland), especially as some will have joined only because other sports were not and are not available to them?

    Thanks for your help.


    I think it is the ethos in the club itself. I play in a very friendly club. There has been communication in form of newsletters to make sure people welcome new members and some general advice pertaining to golf etiquette as well. But a lot of it happens organically. My brother is one of the 12,000 newbies. He is a teacher so had entire summer off. He ended up playing with random club members both young and old. He is a high handicapper but they encouraged him, offered some advice, complimented the few good shots he hit etc. As a result he has a gra for it now and will likely stick at it. He has also improved considerably as a result. Before he would be mortified playing in front of strangers or teeing off in front of a few people on the first tee but he has got more confident now. So those kind of people are either in your club or they are not. I think there is a realisation that there had not being many 25-34 year olds as members so when a clatter of them come along it can only be a good thing for any golf club.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 718 ✭✭✭ ShivasIrons


    There are some 12,000 new members who have joined Irish golf clubs in the past 3 to 4 months. I am trying to find out how clubs are reacting to this influx of new blood so if anyone can help me with the following questions it would be much appreciated.
    • What is your club doing to ensure that new members who joined during the Covid-19 months are integrating successfully?
    • Do you have someone dedicated to looking after them? Are you arranging special competitions? Do you assign a 'member buddy'? Is there a special event/newsletter/email to introduce them to the club and how it operates (e.g. booking tee times)?
    • What is your club doing for people who are new to golf and may not understand the etiquette required on and off the course?
    • How does your club plan to build loyalty and longevity amongst these new members (approx 12,000 across Ireland), especially as some will have joined only because other sports were not and are not available to them?

    Thanks for your help.




    If a significant portion of clubs don't look after their current members, why would they look after new members all of a sudden?


  • Registered Users Posts: 48,742 ✭✭✭✭ Wichita Lineman


    What is your club doing to ensure that new members who joined during the Covid-19 months are integrating successfully? We send them a welcome letter from the Captains with some helpful hints on how competitions work and booking on BRS.

    Do you have someone dedicated to looking after them? No but we have active committees running the club and a fairly friendly bunch as members.

    Are you arranging special competitions? No. New members are allowed enter all competitions as long as they have a handicap. We normally have to have 5 comps played before being allowed enter Captains or Presidents but this was reduced to 3 for 2020.

    Do you assign a 'member buddy'? No.

    Is there a special event/newsletter/email to introduce them to the club and how it operates (e.g. booking tee times)? Yes and we have a very active P.R.O. ;):D keeping everyone informed. Weekly notes as a minimum and other communications as and when required.

    What is your club doing for people who are new to golf and may not understand the etiquette required on and off the course? We include an etiquette 'one pager' with their welcome letter.

    How does your club plan to build loyalty and longevity amongst these new members (approx 12,000 across Ireland), especially as some will have joined only because other sports were not and are not available to them? We have quite a few signed up for 2021 already and we have seen the 'football age' members swell the numbers playing competitions. We are hoping that the game of golf itself, the enjoyment of playing a different sport with their friends, the course and our members will encourage some of them to stick with us over the coming years.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ DuckSlice


    What is your club doing to ensure that new members who joined during the Covid-19 months are integrating successfully? We send them a welcome letter from the Captains with some helpful hints on how competitions work and booking on BRS.

    Do you have someone dedicated to looking after them? No but we have active committees running the club and a fairly friendly bunch as members.

    Are you arranging special competitions? No. New members are allowed enter all competitions as long as they have a handicap. We normally have to have 5 comps played before being allowed enter Captains or Presidents but this was reduced to 3 for 2020.

    Do you assign a 'member buddy'? No.

    Is there a special event/newsletter/email to introduce them to the club and how it operates (e.g. booking tee times)? Yes and we have a very active P.R.O. ;):D keeping everyone informed. Weekly notes as a minimum and other communications as and when required.

    What is your club doing for people who are new to golf and may not understand the etiquette required on and off the course? We include an etiquette 'one pager' with their welcome letter.

    How does your club plan to build loyalty and longevity amongst these new members (approx 12,000 across Ireland), especially as some will have joined only because other sports were not and are not available to them? We have quite a few signed up for 2021 already and we have seen the 'football age' members swell the numbers playing competitions. We are hoping that the game of golf itself, the enjoyment of playing a different sport with their friends, the course and our members will encourage some of them to stick with us over the coming years.

    P.R.O. Sounds like a dodgy character.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭ gypsy79


    One thing I notice in my place is a lot of the younger members not playing in the competitions and happy to wait to tee off at 3:30 to be allowed to play at weekends for this privelege

    They are not really buying into the ethos of been in a golf club. They are almost treating it like pre paid rounds. Our intermediate rate was too low imo but set by outside sources

    They are now punishing full members by blocking off times for visitors. I be glad when they go back to been pay and play members as many dont add anything to the club. Many are people who unfortunately lost their job and taking up lots of tee times

    There are of course exceptions


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭ Kevinmarkham


    Seen this on twitter too Kevin.

    1. Nothing, new members have full access to all tee times including prime saturday times, captain's day, president's day. It has caused a lot of complaints by some members.
    2. No, no and no. Emails to help with tee booking and website access is sent to all members.
    3. Nothing except a reminder on slow play which was sent to all golfers. Have seen 2 balls holding up 3 balls multiple times midweek and new (and usually younger) members have a very slow pace of play.
    4. Not aware of any plans. Members will be lost next year if GAA is back to normal come next spring. This may apply to other sports but lack of GAA was the reason at least 20 new members joined post lockdown.

    Re 1. I nearly added that as a separate question but decided it would only be relevant to a few clubs. Your club is obviously busy already then, re prime time bookings.

    Re 4. This is exactly what I'm trying to get at. What can clubs do to encourage all new (and old) members to stay loyal to the club, especially when their main sporting interest may lie elsewhere. If clubs make the right moves they could win some of these people over.

    etxp wrote: »
    Nothing/No to all questions.
    We got a lot in as beginners but unfortunately our beginner membership doesn't give a handicap so the new members arent involved in competitions etc. I suggested that they get a handicap included in the membership or at least for the cost of the GUI fee but didnt get the go ahead.

    Interesting... at what stage does a beginner normally get a handicap?
    bamayang wrote: »
    This drives me up the wall. I wouldnt mind anyone being new and struggling with the game or taking 10 shots to get down the fairway. But dawdling around, being on a phone, standing around on the green after everyone has finished. Jesus its frustrating.

    True, and it's why clubs need to take new members (and old and juniors and societies and visitors!) to one side and explain the etiquette of the game. Until there are consequences to slow play nothing is going to be done about it.
    Wombatman wrote: »
    Great questions Kevin. Clubs and their members should do all they can to assist new members as much as possible and hopefully retain them. I went out of my this summer, to play with and sign cards for new members so they could get their handicaps.

    Unfortunately some members see newbies as an inconvenience. Probably the same people that will come on here whinging when there clubs becomes insolvent and close.

    You've just got to keep trying and ignore those whingers who were probably newbies themselves only a few years ago.
    Whiplash85 wrote: »
    I think it is the ethos in the club itself. I play in a very friendly club. There has been communication in form of newsletters to make sure people welcome new members and some general advice pertaining to golf etiquette as well. But a lot of it happens organically. My brother is one of the 12,000 newbies. He is a teacher so had entire summer off. He ended up playing with random club members both young and old. He is a high handicapper but they encouraged him, offered some advice, complimented the few good shots he hit etc. As a result he has a gra for it now and will likely stick at it. He has also improved considerably as a result. Before he would be mortified playing in front of strangers or teeing off in front of a few people on the first tee but he has got more confident now. So those kind of people are either in your club or they are not. I think there is a realisation that there had not being many 25-34 year olds as members so when a clatter of them come along it can only be a good thing for any golf club.

    Agreed - 100 per cent.


    If a significant portion of clubs don't look after their current members, why would they look after new members all of a sudden?

    Ouch! I guess that begs the question, what are clubs NOT doing to look after their members?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,998 ✭✭✭ finglashoop


    If a significant portion of clubs don't look after their current members, why would they look after new members all of a sudden?

    +1

    The only way i usually get a tee time is people who cancel in time so i can pick one up


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,832 ✭✭✭ DuckSlice



    Interesting... at what stage does a beginner normally get a handicap?

    When you pay up full membership! I think to keep members you need to get them involved in competition etc so i was pushing for this at an AGM before but got shot down!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭ gypsy79


    +1

    The only way i usually get a tee time is people who cancel in time so i can pick one up

    There is a time free tomorrow afternoon. There are ways to get tee times


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,998 ✭✭✭ finglashoop


    gypsy79 wrote: »


    There is a time free tomorrow afternoon. There are ways to get tee times

    I have to play around work, like most people. I do pick them up as people just block book. I was guilty myself but stopped as i didnt want to be constantly cancelling either.

    Same with people booking four lines even though every email says not to.

    Lip service constantly every friday in an email about tee times and bookings and committee to review cancellations.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,938 ✭✭✭ Kevinmarkham


    What is your club doing to ensure that new members who joined during the Covid-19 months are integrating successfully? We send them a welcome letter from the Captains with some helpful hints on how competitions work and booking on BRS.

    Do you have someone dedicated to looking after them? No but we have active committees running the club and a fairly friendly bunch as members.

    Are you arranging special competitions? No. New members are allowed enter all competitions as long as they have a handicap. We normally have to have 5 comps played before being allowed enter Captains or Presidents but this was reduced to 3 for 2020.

    Do you assign a 'member buddy'? No.

    Is there a special event/newsletter/email to introduce them to the club and how it operates (e.g. booking tee times)? Yes and we have a very active P.R.O. ;):D keeping everyone informed. Weekly notes as a minimum and other communications as and when required.

    What is your club doing for people who are new to golf and may not understand the etiquette required on and off the course? We include an etiquette 'one pager' with their welcome letter.

    How does your club plan to build loyalty and longevity amongst these new members (approx 12,000 across Ireland), especially as some will have joined only because other sports were not and are not available to them? We have quite a few signed up for 2021 already and we have seen the 'football age' members swell the numbers playing competitions. We are hoping that the game of golf itself, the enjoyment of playing a different sport with their friends, the course and our members will encourage some of them to stick with us over the coming years.

    Thanks for this, Wichita. Which club are we talking about?


  • Registered Users Posts: 48,742 ✭✭✭✭ Wichita Lineman


    Thanks for this, Wichita. Which club are we talking about?

    Moate in Westmeath


  • Registered Users Posts: 326 ✭✭ REFLINE1


    I joined Bray GC during the lock down as a beginners member. They have been really welcoming and good at making sure all new members got their 3 cards signed in prompt fashion and encouraged existing members to join beginners on casual slots to speed up this process. They also hosted a new members evening with a scramble and meet and greet . All new members received a pack with divot sand bag, pitch repairer and a pack explaining competition types, rules book etc.


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