Players 1st Client Conference: How to make golf accessible to non-golfers

Within Sweden, the nationally recognised Green Card Scheme is the standard route into golf for adults. For golf clubs, however, it’s often unclear what support they need to effectively integrate new golfers into their membership. An improved Green Card process is hoping to resolve this as the Swedish Golf Federation (SGF), in cooperation with interest groups,  have developed a digital platform to be launched in January 2020 that supports the club’s work and simplifies the beginner’s pathway into golf. 

Every new golfer is now required to complete a ‘Green Card Course’, which is run by the golf clubs themselves, and the new system means that every new golfer must complete a theory test and a practical test - similar to a driving test. With the support of the golf club, the Green Card experience aims to educate the player on different types of golf available, safety, the rules of the game, and understanding the course as well as equipment to make the learning more enjoyable and eventually more effective as the player develops. 

Initially, for new golfers looking to locate a golf club, the SGF website provides a ‘Golf Guide’ search function. Here, clubs can be filtered by Region and Club Name and all the clubs in the system contain consistent information for the user including ratings, pricing and directions etc. But, perhaps most importantly, a new golfer can make direct contact with a club and arrange to make an appointment, making it a very simple process to initiate contact. 

The SGF also introduced ‘Min golf’ (translated to ‘My Golf’) which is the federations digital platform hub for golf clubs and golfers.  My Golf retrieves its information from the Golf IT System (GIT), which is an operating system for those of the country's golf clubs that are connected to the SGF. Here it is possible for golfers to manage and access handicaps, tee time booking, competition registration and edit their personal information.

The centralised system might not be a possible solution across all markets, but there were certainly effective learnings for golf clubs and the federations in the room. Ultimately, by supporting clubs with recruitment of new members, the club can focus their time on building relationships with the new members and personalising their offerings to make the integration experience the best it can be.

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Similarly, Norway’s #trygolf campaign contains a search function for new golfers to find their local club by location and course type as well as being able to make contact with the club directly. Again, this type of resource makes it extremely easy for new golfers to take the first step towards beginner courses.

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In 2018, England Golf launched their ‘Get into Golf’ initiative with the aim of breaking down common misconceptions about the sport and potential barriers to entry. England Golf provide resources and support to clubs to help run successful recruitment campaigns to ‘inspire more people to give it a go and enjoy golf’.

Additionally, for non-golfers wanting to locate their local club, the ‘Find and Play’ section on the website makes it very easy for a non-golfer to search golf clubs by postcode, and also apply filters relating to facilities, the number of holes of the course and specific types of accreditation.  

For more key takeaways from the Players 1st Client Conference, see this link.

Morten Bisgaard