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What Golf Clubs Can Do To Attract More Visitors

By: | Wed 27 Dec 2023

Visitors are the lifeblood of many golf clubs around the UK. We all baulk at the prospect of paying ever-increasing annual subscriptions. Many club members are also not too keen on seeing societies on their course but it is a fact of life.

If courses treat visitors well the chances are that those individuals will tell others. Some may even decide that it is a club they want to join.

In our recent membership survey we asked what clubs could do to attract new visitors. It is not rocket science. Make them welcome and give them a good experience.

You have plenty of views on this subject and they break down into a number of categories.

Here is what you had to say:


"Provide information on site about the customer journey from arrival to pro shop, locker room, range, 1st tee, halfway house, and clubhouse facilities after the round. New visitors often feel intimidated when visiting a club for the first time."

This all may seem pretty basic stuff but it is surprising just how many golf clubs fail to deliver basic information to visitors.

"Explain course developments in the future, how they may address challenges of climate change, potentially a lack of water etc - what they are proactively doing, rather than just look at the short term.”

This is a really good point. Increasing numbers of us are becoming aware of the environmental impact golf is having - by letting visitors know that you care and are doing your bit, you can only enhance your reputation.

"Be more open and friendly.”

This seems pretty obvious but lots of visitors complain about being made to feel unwelcome by both clubs and their members. If you are going to take their money, make them feel like they belong at your course.

"Proactive communication with socities and green fees. If done correctly they will return."

"Golf clubs can be more transparent in offering select deals to visitors and current members. Also fully explaining there may be restrictions on visitors times would save any friction within current memberships, all too often clubs get greedy by taking both and then not delivering."


“Generally, members' golf clubs do not want visitors and have very high green fees preventing you to play. This is especially true when visitor rates have increased markedly after COVID."

Golf Club Visitors


"Make sure the course and facilities are in good condition and have good marketing and maybe some membership special offers."

"Make sure that the course is in good condition, the clubhouse is welcoming and offers good food at reasonable prices. Market the club with local and regional societies and offer prices for golf days which represent good value."

"You can make golf free, but if the course doesn't suit it won't make any difference. Nobody ever talks about the bacon rolls or the pro shop, it's the greens, tees, general course condition and value for money that makes or break a golf course.”

I am not sure that it is true that nobody talks about the bacon rolls! Or is it just me?

"Make sure the course is in good condition and that the staff are friendly and helpful. All courses are different and rely on their own setting to attract visitors. The difficulty (slope rating) of the course will affect who wants to play it as will the cost. Word of mouth and reviews will also help.”

Course condition is vital. It’s what makes people come back and it makes them tell their friends to go and play.

"Present the course in an impeccable manner. Tees and paths in good condition, bins, winter mats, ball washers all in good condition. It all adds up."

Customer Service

"Welcome very important. Also ease of booking and changing tee times. Good synopsis of the course."

"Be welcoming! First impressions last. Whether on the phone or in person, spend the time to ensure that visitors' needs are being met. Be flexible with catering and tee times. I have played at some clubs where the members are rude to visitors and the clubhouse staff appear to be reluctant to be nice to people they don't recognise. I didn't go back."

"Be nice to people, answer emails, answer the phone, use technology to allow members to do things outside your office hours. The world still moves outside of office hours, so allow people to book and pay for things when you are not there.”

The very fact that so many of you are saying exactly the same thing indicates that many of you have had poor experiences. This is something that simply must be addressed.

"Better websites. Meet and greet visitors with a smile but also uphold the club standards, members hate to see visitors incorrectly dressed when they are expected to follow the dress code (even if quite relaxed)."

Pace of Play

If you are playing a course for the first time you really don’t want to be out there for upwards of five hours. You have some thoughts on this too.

“If somebody turns up on their own, find them somebody else to play with. And make sure that everybody on the course has their own clubs and is not sharing." 

"All clubs now say that we should play ready golf - most members do not and ignore this. There is no reason a fourball should take more than 3.5hrs to complete 18 holes.”

So how do we convince would-be members to join?


"A vibrant and fun social programme that hosts things like club nights and events like Texas Scrambles and other golf related things that are not too serious but also a decent number of more normal competitions. I also believe a strong youth programme is essential and makes the place more lively."

"Be friendly and inclusive. Run active junior sections and make golf fun while acknowledging the etiquette and required behaviour. The days of an old boys club with antiquated rules and customs should be long gone but unfortunately my club still has too many of these members who consider themselves traditionalists."

"Appeal to youngsters by partly relaxing the dress code. Offer deals on 'quiet' tee times along with a meal deal."

"Modernise and become inclusive. Clubs that are successful have busy clubhouses with family and friends. Guests should pay for golf, but clubhouses should be open to friends and family."

"Encourage the young, have a relaxed approach, modernise your ideas, 70 year olds should not be telling 50 year old committee members what 20+ year old prospective new members want or need!"

"Concentrate on making younger members comfortable and include them as much as possible. Also stop having such different tee times for women unless their section actually wants that."

"Target the young. Provide them with support and entertaining forms of the game. Encourage them to play with other members. Don't differentiate between male and female."

"Be friendly, inclusive and dont make it too expensive. Plus, dont be so fussy about attire! My last club insisted on men tucking in shirts (not women which is sexist) only white socks with shorts and a collared shirt. I believe a simple 'casual but respectful' code, i.e. no vests or football/rugby shirts should suffice."

Websites & Social Media

This is one of my personal bugbears. In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for an old-fashioned, unattractive website. And you agree.

"Better websites, more transparent web booking of tee times, hiring of demo clubs if a friend needs to play."

"Website has to feature info about the course, including good quality images."

"Improve websites and give better informaion about fees, tee times and course condition and maintenance."

"Keep your website up to date, be welcoming to would be members. Attract academy and junior members, they are our future."

"Have a decent website and advertise on social media. Don't sell tee times immediately after monthly medal groups - pace of play will stop them coming back."

"Make it easy to book over the internet, people don't want the hassle of having to phone to check availability."

"Make use of all social media platforms to promote the club, keep the membership informed and included, building a great and friendly reputation. Offer different memberships to suit different lifestyles along with different payment plans."

"Make sure website is up to date especially at this time of year when heavy rain or fog could close course, pro shop should also be kept in loop."

"Websites need to show more course photos and highlight any social events to attract new members. I always look at websites before visiting somewhere new but don't always find enough photos so look on other sites for that. I use Golfshake reviews to see what people think as well.”

We are only too happy to be of service!

Related Content

One Third of Golf Clubs Must Improve Their Communication Skills

The Issues That Non-Members Want Golf Clubs to Address

Survey Reveals Attitudes And Barriers to Joining a Golf Club

What Makes Golfers Love a Golf Course

What Stops Golfers Wanting to Play a Golf Course Again

When Should Golf Green Fees Stop Rising

What Stops Many Golfers From Joining Golf Clubs

Strong Websites Are Now Essential For Golf Clubs

Some Golf Clubs Act Like They Don't Need Visitors


What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: Survey industry insider GOLFERS Golf daily picks

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