Good golf marketing gone bad

Mar 7, 2013   //   by Mike   //   Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Good golf marketing gone bad

We use the term “marketing” very loosely nowadays and the real definition of “marketing” tends to get lost at times. It’s such a broad term which can mean so many things. So what is marketing?

Simply, its everything we do!

It’s how we answer the phone, how staff engage with members, the ads we place, branding, the quality of your courses, the rates we charge etc.

We spend a lot of money in the “marketing” of our facilities but many times we forget about the overall experience for the consumer once they actually arrive at our facility to engage in what we have promoted. We’ve set an expectation for them in many ways but are not always living up to it come show time.

With the consumer becoming much more demanding with their expectations we can’t afford to miss a beat in any part of the experience.

It such a shame and I cringe every time I hear about the following things happening, and all at fairly “good serviced” facilities. In most cases it goes unreported and the manager or committee doesnt even know it happened!

A few real examples of good golf marketing going bad!


I was checking in to play a round of golf with a friend of mine, an invite from a member to play his club- great looking forward to it. As Im waiting in the proshop to pay my comp fee, I overhear the young staff member on the phone answering a call. “Sorry, you need to be a member to play here”, and then hung up the phone.

The club is actually looking for social play and members from other clubs to play there, and a member from any club is actually welcomed to play there pretty much any time. The staff was untrained in not relaying that information to the person on the phone, so the caller went elsewhere. Who knows where and I doubt they will ever call back to try again. This club actually spends a lot of money each month in their print marketing.


I was having a chat with an old friend of mine about how their business was going. The reply – “its going fine and we are flat out. Though, I was in my shop and answered the phone recently and the person said “Great I’m so glad to finally catch someone that could help me. Every other time I called no one there was able to help me.”

So how many other calls were handled the same way and the customer went elsewhere! The shop staff need to be problem solvers and on minimum should have taken a name and number and had someone follow up to help.


A friend of my wife was recently looking for a place to send her 7yr old son to try golf. He was showing interest so she thought it would be good to give him a go. The first place she called was close to her home, and the answer she got when asking about junior lessons was: Sorry he needs to be 9yrs old or have played the game before.

Such an odd answer for finding lessons, but it sounds like they thought he wanted to play a game at their facility? Either way this person’s first impression with golf was negative and they are now trying some other sports. 


From a few recent course reviews –

“Let me tell you about two unforgettable rounds here. Not being a member, I booked ahead and was greeted by an almost empty course. Half way down the 1st, one of the pro shop staff rides out on a cart to tell me there’s been a complaint from one of the members about my socks; they’re too short. OK, so back we go and I buy two pairs of long socks, one I wear and one I put away. So a few weeks later I booked another round, wearing the nice new long, navy blue socks I bought last time I was here. Yes, you guessed it, half way down the first fairway, another pro shop staff member with another complaint about my socks, but this time, they’re the wrong colour. WTF??? I bought them HERE. Nope, no good, can’t wear them.”

The rest of this post had to be deleted, so I doubt they will look to play there ever again!!


Nice course but fairway grass was a little thick which made pushing buggie a little bit hard. Overall nice experience, except for the old guy in the pro shop who was very arrogant. Green fee are normally $50 but because we were using golf passports, they put the price to $60. I overheard him say, ’we’re making it cheaper, not giving it away’. Go play at Medway, more friendly and welcoming.

A great referral for their competitor! Well done.


“Played Saturday 31st March. Tee off morning. We were placed behind a group of approximately 20 lads on a bucks day. Very few were dressed for golf and most were not golfers. Poor start to the day, but fortunately they only played 9 holes. On the 10 th fairway the drinks buggy appeared. We asked for a sandwich, there were none the young girl replied. Oh the pro said there would be, can you bring some next time round. No I’m finishing now. We were very disappointed wish we had stuck to our original course We had a booking for a large social group later in the year which I will now cancel.

OUCH- How much did that little slip up cost the club- do they even know it happened?


So the moral of the story- don’t waste your money on golf marketing, unless your confident your staff can handle the business it brings and provide the service that the player is now expecting. Why do all the hard work in getting people to your club if these type of things are going to happen.

Do you have an actual plan on what your trying to achieve and the KPI’s in place to properly track? Do you have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place and hold staff accountable in providing? Do you conduct routine checks with customers and members to see how they are enjoying the facility.

You can not afford not to!