The Links Shell Cove leads the way
The Links Shell Cove, at Shellharbour NSW, are not sitting on their hands when it comes to marketing their golf club. In fact they are taking a fresh new approach presenting their club in a way that is the envy of other clubs and a lesson to many in the industry.
The Links Shell Cove golf course is located in a residential real estate area called Shell Cove that the local council has been selling for the better part of ten years. The original club was relocated to the existing site and brought with it some, but not all, of the older members. However, the face of the area has changed. There are new suburbs popping up seemingly overnight, lots of new houses and lots of young families.
General Manager Robby Stephenson saw a need to keep up with the change in his area. With a younger profile of people building houses and moving into the area he had to do something to keep up. Being a new course and new area he didn't have generations of members to rely on. In a way he was starting from scratch.
"I'm not just marketing my club to existing golfers. I'm marketing golf itself to a new generation. With young people my competition isn't other golf clubs. I'm competing against other more heavily promoted sports, the mall and shopping centres." said Robby.
He wants to market The Links Shell Cove to make golf look fun and friendly, open and inviting. To make all people to feel welcome. Young or old, serious golfer or beginner, male or female, member or social player. People who want to use just the course or just want to use club house facilities. It's almost the complete opposite of the traditional golf club sterotype of yesteryear.
Links Shell Cove should be applauded for taking such a bold approach and attracting new people to the sport. It's not for every club and especially exclusive clubs with closed books or long waiting lists. But for those who understand that they have to market the sport to a new generation then Robby is spot on.
"If I can get a new person to golf, to come to a lesson or have a social game, and our staff make them welcome and they have a blast they might come back regularly. If that leads them to one day becoming a member that's great. Likewise, if someone comes into my bar or bistro and enjoy themselves, then one day decides to have that lesson or social game, I know I've done my job" Robby said.
Some of the initiatives that Robby took were:
- Doing away with the old unprofessional logo and replacing it with a new contemporary one that better fitted the area and one people could identify with.
OLD LOGO NEW LOGO
- Market the course using the line "YOUR RULES, YOUR COURSE....PLAYED YOUR WAY! which is not so much of a slogan but more a brand promise.
- Developed a new website with a modern new welcoming design.
- Incorporating a range of functionality into the website like member login, being able to book social games online, having a range of innovative memberships that can be paid monthly and instantly joined online, use of social media, an estore with regular specials, clear information for social play with many options provided, lots of course information and galleries along with up to date information on the club house bars, meal and music offerings.
To date Robby says the new innovations have been a great success. "We've had lots of great comments regarding the new website and brand image. It has caught the attention and praise from Golf NSW and have people joining our memberships categories online."