The way golf clubs market themselves ‘is woeful and plays to gender stereotypes’
The way golf clubs market themselves is poor and often plays to gender stereotypes, two new surveys have found.
The first study, by Compare Membership, found that the majority of golf clubs fail to even reveal what memberships they offer on their own websites.
The second, by PH Media Group, reveals that golf clubs predominantly market themselves using male actors to showcase their venues. Some may not even consciously realise just how male biased they are.
Compare Membership surveyed 634 UK golf clubs’ websites and found that 52 percent of them offer no information on what memberships their clubs offer. Just over a quarter of these clubs only offer either an email address or a phone number for potential members to contact the club about membership, even though the majority of UK golf clubs are desperate for new members.
Just 37 percent of all clubs provide full information on what memberships they offer, including prices, and just 14 percent provide online application forms.
The same company surveyed hundreds of ‘nomadic’ golfers (people who are not members of a club but play golf regularly) and asked how they would find information on joining a golf club – 88 percent said they would look online.
Company spokesman, and PGA professional at Sickleholme Golf Cub, Simon Housley, said: “The resort and pay and play courses provide easy to find information on membership, but many of the private courses do not. I think this shows a clear difference in approaches between a commercial golfing venue and a private members’ club.
“In this modern age where everyone seems to own a laptop, tablet or smartphone it is essential for golf clubs to provide as much information online as possible regarding what memberships they offer and how much it costs.
“It is no longer good enough for clubs to assume that people will take the time to call or email the club for information. People have busy lives and are used to being able to source information at the touch of a button, and not having to phone a club whose manager might be out of the office. These are potential new members that might just go elsewhere because they can’t find the information they are after.”
Simon added that many golfers join a new club every year since joining fees were abolished for most venues, but they will not go to clubs that fail to market their membership offerings online.
“These people offer a great opportunity for golf clubs to boost their membership income, but only if they provide easy to find information,” he said.
“I know how busy club managers are working just to keep clubs running and keeping existing members happy, but I do feel little things like keeping their websites updated and providing good and easy to find information for potential new members is a must for golf clubs to survive.”
His company also asked nomadic golfers why they have not joined a club and found that 68 percent said they do not play enough to warrant being a member, even though, on average, they play 30 times a year. More than a third also said they would consider joining a club if they could pay their subscriptions in monthly instalments.
“This highlights the need for clubs to look at flexible membership packages and show their membership details,” added Simon.
Meanwhile, PH Media Group found that when sports’ clubs brand themselves using a voiceover, the ‘typical profile’ of the speaker is male and aged 45 to 55.
“The fact the most popular voice used in sports’ marketing is male will come as no surprise, given traditional perceptions of the industry,” said Dan Lafferty, a director at PH Media Group.
“But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be the best fit across the board and companies should use a voice which best reflects their products, customer base and service proposition.
“A feminine voice might often be appropriate to reflect a changing customer base and an increased prevalence of women in sports’ broadcasting. The feminine voice can be equally authoritative but is also perceived as soothing and welcoming.”