There are 28 key marketing strategies you can take to rapidly improve your business each comes with pros and cons.
Tagline: Cheapest Game In Town!
Excludes – Most people of means, professionals, most serious players and any golf club with a high-cost basis.
Targets – Retirees, blue-collar workers, students, occasional players
Examples – San Juan Hills, Ca, The Wergs Golf Club, UK
Tactics: No frills course, limited f & b, small staff, average course conditions will do. Use Facebook ads, Groupon, coupons, local ads and 3rd party vendors to build a large email list of discount golfers! Sell multi-round books and annual passes to lock them in. Price food and beverage at very low margins to give them an extra reason to show up.
Commentary: Being the low-priced leader is a great position if you can pull it off. That means having the cost structure where you can service debt, the budget for capital improvements and still make a profit with the lowest rates in town. You will also have to keep the course in “playable” condition. Your service, F and B, carts and perhaps even your course conditions can be average or even slightly below because YOU are the cheapest game in town and no one expects the Ritz! As one of our Golf Marketing Boot Camp attendees once said in a slogan contest;
“We Ain’t Augusta National…
But You Ain’t Jack Nicklaus Neither!”
Opportunity: It worked for Walmart. It worked for Southwest Airlines and it can work for you, but you need to have a very low-cost basis and deep pockets just in case the competition panic and go even lower. Just like they did in Orlando, Florida market.
You almost certainly can’t pull this off if you have any debt or have to go into debt to sustain the strategy. This is for courses where the debt was paid off long ago and the and the infrastructure will last a few more years without major capital investment. It will also depend on the competition and what their cost of doing business is if they have debt, a new clubhouse or a much higher end operation. Which is better for you as they will not be able to match your prices. Careful analysis of how the competition will respond should be considered.
Hard Decisions Must Be Made to Cut Costs to The Bone to Make This Strategy Succeed
You might decide to dramatically reduce your costs by selling the clubhouse or leasing it out to someone else. That way the property tax, insurance, and maintenance of it are someone else’s headache. Conversely, you might turn the clubhouse into another business like a Gym.
Next, you might eliminate or sell off the range. Let the rough grow for the first 150 yards in front of the tee and gradually eliminate some bunkers reducing maintenance costs. You could run the course from a hut on the first tee like many golf clubs in Scotland, now you really are a core golf course with the lowest possible cost structure with the lowest green fees to match.
These hard decisions and actions are the type you need make to make a strategy work! A good strategy must be all in, nothing can be done in half measures or you quickly find you are back to the status quo in the middle where you are not one thing or another. The truth is few people have the guts to do it.
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