Even people totally opposed to the onward march of new technology will have to admit that the world has been forever changed by the development and introduction of social media and other communication technologies. Email, text, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social blogging platforms now permeate our world and are hard to avoid. Yet there is still one bastion of resistance where you will be hard pressed to identify, let alone make use of, some of these wonderful technological advances. And that is the local golf club.
In spite of the private and public sectors now making enthusiastic use of the wide range of communication technologies available, the high majority of golf clubs have been very reluctant to take new initiatives in this area. True, you are these days able to find many examples of golf club websites and, to their credit, some have made a gallant attempt in trying to communicate information and to create a two-way communication pathway via email. Sadly however, the vast majority of these sites fall woefully short of modern day requirements with site content usually being outdated and often irrelevant. The email strategy is very much on an ad-hoc basis to the point where members simply do not subscribe to the idea and therefore it fails or, at best, remains as an unwanted briansclub administration overhead. And although some of the more enlightened clubs are making early and good attempts in the use of Text, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the vast majority of clubs are not even at the embryonic stage.
For reasons why modern communication strategies have failed to be adopted within golf clubs, and why social media and social marketing has still to even find a way through most club doorways, you simply have to look at the way in which most golf clubs are run. Senior members making the decisions, reluctance to change and misguided ideas on the need to protect the ‘traditions’ of the club are the obvious examples of why it is difficult to promote new ideas. And yet what many clubs and club administrators are failing to identify is that if they don’t introduce modern communication strategies, to include social media and social marketing, the long-term existence of their beloved traditional golf clubs will be seriously under threat. The new and next generation of golfer and club member will demand that social media and other communication platforms are part and parcel of the fabric of the club. They live with them currently 24/7 and any golf club without these facilities in place in the near future will seriously struggle to continue to attract and retain members.
So, what’s the answer?
Quite simply golf clubs need to start reviewing their communication strategies today and start accepting the fact that this new technology is here to stay and will continue to develop at a fast pace. They should immediately embrace social media/social marketing, appoint a technology aware younger member to the management team or golf committee (as a ‘communications and technology champion’) and work with them to start promoting the club more actively and creatively to the members and the wider world. Consider all new ideas put forward and be open to the benefits that social media/marketing can bring.