First and foremost let’s take a step back and think about the game itself. Golf is a SOCIAL game. Traditionally you play in a group of four and you spend the best part of four hours, enjoying both the course and the companionship. However, increasingly I hear of how golf clubs are not ‘social’ places. So much so, that one of our members recently wrote to me with the following shocking statement from a lady golfer….
“I quit my golf club in Surrey because in 8 years I only met 3 people”
This female member went on to say…”Last year, whilst volunteering at Wentworth, I met Graham Yates (ex-Chair of England Golf), who believes that R&A & England Board are dinosaurs and he was rapidly losing faith in their ability to save the sport.” Which doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence?
Another TSG member commented, that he joined a club having been assured that he will be introduced to new members, invited to join club events and competitions and yet six months on, he has never heard from the club or met anyone at the club beyond a few head nods. He finds the atmosphere in the club ‘cliquey’ and worse, hugely discriminating towards women and juniors.
How did this situation arise? In short, because golf clubs are so stuck in their ways that refuse to acknowledge or understand that they are part of the problem. Speaking frankly, I put this down to laziness and a lack of professionalism of golf club personnel. Despite the advent of email, the internet and social media, golf clubs refuse to engage with people.
Furthermore, the majority of the time golf clubs do not offer any kind of ‘customer service’ beyond taking your green fee monies. I can’t even remember the last time I was asked for my email address at a golf club to entice me back or send me an offer? However, what frightens me most is that ‘lazy thinking’ assumes that Social Media is going to answer all these issues and that increasing participation among women is the answer to everyone’s problems. Nothing could be further from the truth in my opinion.
Probably the most common thing I hear from our members is that how they struggle to find people to play with. Yet what do clubs do to help people make new golf friends?
Clearly, the success of The Social Golfer platform and other similar platforms has proved that given the right arena, and if you create the right atmosphere, you can provide golfers with an opportunity to meet new people and enjoy the game even more. Don’t get me wrong, whilst we have bucked the trend by growing year on year, generating more than 100k hits a month to our website and mobile platform, our community is just one way to help golfers find new playing partners, but why haven’t golf clubs provided a similar service as we do.
They don’t even have to build a sophisticated community and invest thousands of pounds in new technology. They can now use Facebook events page to entice new members and visitors. In addition, how difficult would it be for clubs to arrange new joiner events on a monthly basis? Or organise joint coaching sessions for new joiners? Yet, they don’t.
Since our launch in 2010, we have only had ONE club proactively call us to see how we could work together. Worse, when I contact clubs regarding the 5k+ members we have in the UK (10k+ Worldwide) telling them it is free for them to update their club/course details on our 20k golf course database and post green fee offers on the site. Many golf Pro’s passes the buck to the golf societies manager or general manager and only 1 in 20 clubs ever return your calls.
Meanwhile, those clubs that we have worked with have seen revenues as much as £10k pa being generated. One club we partnered with received 245 tee times from us in the last 12 month alone.
But getting back to the real issue…golf is a SOCIAL sport but golf clubs are NOT social places anymore!
So if you love your golf and you want to make new golf friends with those that also love the game, join a virtual golf club like ours, a REAL social network, where you ACTUALLY leave your PC, meet people and play more golf!
Just some of the comments we’ve received from members in recent years…
“After years of playing golf irregularly on pay and play courses, I discovered TSG, my golfing life changed overnight… I now play as often as I like, on courses I could not have previously imagined, with a great bunch of new mates…best thing I ever did” Alan Haywood, London – Handicap 17
“I have been a member for the past five years and definitely recommend joining – especially to other lady golfers. You get to meet the nicest people and play at courses you probably wouldn’t ordinarily play at!” Ruth Brand, Sussex – Handicap 21
“This is the best way to find likeminded golfers in your area. You can attend games, organise your own games, keep a recognised handicap, play at different golf courses with friends and all backed up by a professional organization with a great, interactive website.” Greg Butler, Essex – Handicap 18
“I joined The Social Golfer over four years ago, it has changed my golfing life. I choose where and when I want to play. I have discovered over 90 new courses, made over 100 new golfing friends and become part of this big happy golfing family!” Brigitte Lockwood, London – Handicap 27
* Data from Statista, the statistics portal regarding golf participation in England from 2007 to 2016, stated that the number of adults playing golf on a monthly basis has decreased by 27% since 2007 from 1.5 million to 1.1 million people.