Creating a Partner Relationship with Local Golf Courses
. . . it's all about who you know!
A partnership is when two or more parties come together in order to benefit each other in some manner. Your chapter and the local golf courses should develop a partner relationship. Golf courses want your chapter's golf business and you want the golf course to favor your chapter presence. When this relationship works to each other's benefit, you're no longer strangers to each other.
How do you make this happen? Think of it as a two-way street. Certainly, anyone can call-up a golf course and say "Hey, I want to book a golf outing for 36 people." And naturally they'll take your business. But why leave it there? Why not use this opportunity to create a real relationship.
Idea One: Invite the golf course head pro or assistant (head) pro to your monthly membership meeting. And recognize him/her when they're there. You might allow them to be on the agenda for that evening or even say a few words to your group informally. Now, the pro knows your group is for real and as a result, you might gain certain benefits such as not having to pay for no-shows, not having to put a deposit down before your group shows-up, free range balls, free scoring, etc. You're going to the extra effort inviting them to your meeting so give them an opportunity to provide some extras for you!
Idea Two: The "Tiger" phenomenon is over. Years ago, golf courses grew at the rate of one per day in the United States. These days, you might see 65 new courses added each year and many others are closing due to the highest and best use concept in real estate. In other words, they can put houses on the golf course and be better off than selling green fees. So assume that golf courses need business. Don't assume they'll give away the farm. But the better you know the people at the golf course, the better your negotiating power with them.
Idea Three: Golf pros like to earn money by teaching golf as well. Your members are likely to need this service. Low price golf lessons can be obtained by seven people paying $10.00 for a 90-minute group lesson. That's good income for a golf pro and a good deal for your members. Small-group golf lessons become social events as well. Have lunch/dinner at the clubhouse while you're there. This sends a signal to the golf course that you're interested in sending business their way. This betters yoru partnership relationship as well.
Idea Four: Send out a letter to all of your local golf courses that re-establishes your relationship with the golf courses. Don't do it by e-mail. Send a real letter (click here for an example used by new chapters just starting up). Be specific. Ask for specific things and you might be surprised what you get in return. If you want to raffle-off a free greens fee at every meeting, ask if they'd provide it. (It might be for a greens fee only but keep in mind most people don't play golf by themselves. Chances are, it'll bring them additional business!)
Idea to Leave With: Build a real relationship with your golf course managers. When changing-over to a new administration for your chapter each year, discuss the relationships you have established with your incoming Golf Committee Chairpersons.
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