I guess it doesn’t have the same ring that the Sinatra song had but it’s accurate. Golf is the game of business. More deals are closed in a golf course club house or through the relationships cultivated while playing golf than with any other endeavor.
There are a couple of reasons for this. One, even though in America the game of golf has spilled over to the “common man”, having lowered the costs through municipal golf courses, daily fee courses and other like facilities the is not as common in other countries, especially Europe. Golf is still considered the game of kings and royalty. It is still considered a prestigious game. Outside the US golf is expensive.
Two, the game of golf is difficult to play well, takes four and a half hours to play and has a built it social factor by including lunch after nine holes in a fancy clubhouse and then drink afterwards. In America you include the golf cart which allows you to schmooze your prospective client all the way around the golf course for the entire four and a half hours. As if that’s not enough, golf is also the only game I know that you can play with a drink in your hand! In fact golf courses jockey up to get the best looking beer cart ladies in hopes of attracting more golfers.
Now that we know that golf is the game of business how does one improve their bottom line through this advantageous endeavor? Let me offer some tips for those that play golf and those who don’t. Yes even those who don’t play golf and take advantage of the golf market. I’ll also offer some tips on how to market to golfers directly.
First for those who play golf, if you are going to take your clients out to play golf make sure you are at least proficient enough to score 90 – 95. If you’re shooting over a hundred you’ll be doing more harm than good. The old adage of letting your client always win is not true. He/she will loose respect for you. In fact having a good golf game and beating the pants off your client will gain not only their respect but their admiration. Good golf equals “talent” in your client’s mind.
Most importantly if you have a bad day DON’T SHOW IT! Don’t let your golf game influence the mood! Just apologize for having a bad day, pick up your ball if you’ve hit it too many times to not slow up the pace and laugh it off.
If you are shooting consistently over 90 – 95 then you need to look at taking some professional instruction and work on your game a little before attempting to do business “with your golf game” on clients.
For those who aren’t playing well enough or do not play at all and want to take advantage of impressing a golf client may I suggest you do the following, explain to your client you love golf but are not proficient enough as yet but you’re working on it and would love to play with them once you do. Find the better golf course in your area and offer them as a gift two (2) cart & green fees to that golf course. Yes make sure you get two or he/she might never use the gift. Just hope they don’t take your competitor, (that’s why you should learn how to play). Another very good choice is to inquire about a nine hole playing lesson at a golf course. Getting your client a playing lesson with a PGA pro may not cost anymore than the two cart & green fees and be more impressive. Of course you need to do your home work here and make sure the pro you choose has an excellent reputation.
Another very good choice is to purchase your client some golf balls. If you have the chance to ask your client what ball they prefer get them that very golf ball. If you don’t have the chance may I suggest getting the Titleist V1star. They might be a little pricey but you’ll come off like a champ.
If you have a product you would like to market to golfers, you’ll find that golfers are easy to get to. Any good direct mail house that rents lists can rent you very specific lists by income, number of rounds played etc. There are internet companies that do the same for email blasts. These are double opt-in emails so you’re not sending spam.
You’ll also find tons of web sites that offer advertising space on a pay per click basis as well as Google ads with keywords that relate to golf.
Almost every town has a small golf related magazine or newspaper that is circulated around golf courses. Visit a few golf courses in your area and look around the club house. Usually the stated materials are in the pro shop or dining area or the front door as you exit for golfers to pick up.
Golfers are generally a higher income demographic. Only about 12 – 15% of the population in America plays golf but they’re worth going after and easy to find through their common interest – GOLF!