The Full Golf Member

In just four power-packed pages of his essential book, Club “It’s All About Golf” Book, author Mitchell Stump makes an overwhelming case for the value to the club of the full golf member.  Just as powerfully he points out that this premium member is often overlooked by a management staff focused on the larger membership and complexities of other areas of the operation such as food and beverage.

In Romancing the Customer, Maximizing Brand Value through Powerful Relationship Management by Dr. Paul Temporal and Martin Trott, the authors make the obvious point that not all customers are equal and should not be treated equally.  While they don’t advocate slighting less profitable customers, they do stress the absolute importance of taking care of your best customers – in the club’s case the full golf member.  Incidentally, they also say that the rising tide of customer relationship management will raise some of those less profitable customers to the level of best customers – and won’t your Membership Director and General Manager be thrilled when some of your sports or junior members upgrade to full golf memberships or a guest decides to join after experiencing your operation.

So what’s the bottom line on this topic?  Take extra good care of your full golf members – know them like family, greet them like long, lost friends, and treat them like rock stars!

Here some ideas:

  • Identify them – make sure the entire golf staff knows who these members are and recognizes them by name – every time, everywhere.
  • Brainstorm with your golf operations team as to how you can go above and beyond for your full golf members and their guests.  Make a list of the best ideas and implement them.
  • Develop a “wow” factor list for your full golf members and surprise them with over the top service.
  • Review your current operational standards, policies, and procedures to find better ways to “honor” your full golf members with recognition and service.  And oh, by the way, improving your standards will benefit all golfers – possibly a way to increase the number of full golf members.
  • Periodically “walk the path” of your full golf members and guests with an eagle eye to enhance and improve your parking lot, bag drop, pro shop, locker rooms, shoe service, bag storage, detailing of golf carts, practice facility, etc.
  • Remind and reinforce the highest service standards to the golf staff – pro shop and outside and on-course staff.  Pick their brains for ideas to do more and better.
  • Learn as much as you can about your full golf members from beverage preference, favorite clothing brands, favorite colors, shoe, shirt and hat size, NFL team, birthday, anniversary, etc.  Then act on this “intelligence” to do special and personal things for Dr. Smith or Mr. Jones.  Get your staff to report every piece of intelligence they learn from their interactions with full golf members.  Use your computer to Google them – you’ll be surprised how much you can learn on the World Wide Web.
  • Never stop looking for ways to make the full golf member feel as special as he or she is to the club and your golf operation.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

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