Create a Mission Statement
Often overlooked, a mission statement for junior golf development can be very empowering as it gives your club the direction needed to begin the journey. When the mission statement is established and approved, your members will have a clear direction of the commitment towards growing the game.
Use Text instead of Emails
Emails are considered old school in the marketing world, most are deleted or looked at too late for consideration. Texts on the other hand are very effective in communicating to your current students and parents. Remind continuously of lessons, events, clinics, registration deadlines, and special offers you might have. Watch your business grow with this simple but effective best practice.
We created a separate girls program for all ages. This turned out to be a big hit as girls tend to enjoy the social aspect of golf more than the boys.
Create a Short Course
Starting new students from the regulation tee box is overwhelming as it takes too many shots to get the ball in the hole and is not fun. Instead, create your own tees starting at only 50 meters in front of the green. Give them a goal of 6 which is double the par, most juniors will love the challenge and be ready to play a longer course eventually going back to the regulation tees.
We like to plan our junior activities in advance for the entire year. We then get this schedule to our members well in advance so they can plan as well. This also enables our staff to administer each activity on time keeping everything well organised.
Appoint a Junior Coordinator
Our junior program became an important part of our overall objective so we appoint a junior golf coordinator. This person is accountable to our Board of Directors and communicates with our coaching staff, parents, and administration assuring we have a junior program that is accountable and meets the clubs objectives.
Each month or term, host a junior golf orientation for new students. Make this a special event where parents bring their children to meet their new golf instructors and register for the program. Offer coffee and tea and snacks, greet each new students and parent with excitement and enthusiasm. Give them a run down of your program, equipment needs, dress, rules, tour of the facility, and answer any questions or concerns. Most importantly, share your love for the game and build an excitement for what’s to come. This is a management best practice because you won’t need to make the same presentation to each parent individually, saving you time and energy. In addition, it makes it easier for your golf shop staff who might not know every answer to every question and it gives you the opportunity to make a great first impression.
Giving some prizes away at each lesson to add some fun and motivating. The prize does not need to be large or expensive and could be something as insignificant as a new golf ball. You can award the winner based on many things such as contest winner, best behaviour, or etiquette. You can also use a perpetual trophy, something they get to take home for the week but must return to the next lessons for a new winner to be awarded.
Front Line Training
I realised that the staff members who were answering the golf shop phone were hurting my business due to wrong information or lack of enthusiasm. As the Director, I decided to take it on myself to train these front line employees and make sure they knew how important it was to me and the club. I then tested the staff by having a friend become a secret shopper. I did this on a regular basis and asked them how they felt about the call. The results were amazing in that almost every phone inquire resulted in a new customer. I then made it a habit to train every new employee and test them as a best practice.
Respecting the games
I set the expectations early with my students and tolerate very little. What is interesting is that it’s become a contest to see who comes to the lessons best dressed with shirt tucked in wearing a belt and dressing as a golfer. I really praise them up if they are well dressed and acting like a confident golfer with their body language. I find that the juniors actually like it when you set boundaries and respect the traditions of the game; they see more value in the sport and want to be considered a golfer. We do have fun, but while at the golf course they are in an adult environment so they must behave as adults, it’s my experience that most juniors actually like this idea as it empowers them to be their very best. They quickly understand that this is not a footy game but a gentleman’s sport, old fashioned I know, but it works!
MYGolf Centre - Gatton Jubilee Golf Club, Laurie Didsman
Link to a PGA Tour Event
The PGA Tour comes to many of our towns so simply organise your school or course junior program to go to the event together. This can create a great deal of excitement and can inspire and motivate your students. You can even also arrange for a question and answer session with a real PGA Professional and arrange discount or free entry for your students.
MYGolf Centre - Crows Nest State School, Clinton Watts
As your junior golf program grows, consider providing online registration for parents. This can easily be set up on your junior golf or clubs website at minimal cost. Our world population is heading toward the smart phone for making reservations, ordering products and services, and registering for classes. Providing this for them tells your clients that you are progressive, organised and serious about running a professional junior program.