Where is golf headed in 2023?

Despite predictions of golf’s post-covid demise, by all accounts the recent years have posted solid results. Players 1st, the world’s leading supplier of Customer Experience solutions for golf clubs, gives its predictions for 2023.

The recent years have been brilliant for the golf industry worldwide. And Germany is no exception. The report Golf Market Germany 2022 reveals that the number of registered golfers increased almost 4% in 2021. And it was the highest increase of golfers recorded from year to year since 2009.

In 2022, the number increased again by 1.3%. So, despite of some odd years resulting in a global economic instability, several Germans have used their hard-earned money on golf memberships.

Looking forward to 2023, the outlook is less clear. The aftermath of the pandemic and rising inflation can result in a major recession. And that will also affect golf clubs. So given this uncertain outlook, what can you do to mitigate these threats and position your golf club for another successful year?

Two fundamental strategies to get through these uncertain times
In late January, the German government stated that the country will narrowly avoid a recession this year. But just narrowly. So, some of your members will potentially be affected by the rise in prices anyways. And during a recession, consumers generally tend to cut back on spending - especially on things that they do not find necessary. But is golf necessary in this context then?

Luckily, people continue spending money on experiences that bring them joy or provide a sense of normalcy, such as outdoor activities like golf. And this is your chance. By applying a strategy that has a customer-centric approach, you can ensure that each experience will keep your golfers engaged and coming back for more. In short, make the experience worth the money by putting your players and their needs first. And it includes all of them. Because that is the key element in the first strategy.

You need to balance the needs of new members and your existing members perfectly. Because both need your attention. The NGCOA Golf Business Pulse 2022 states that 87% of owners agree that golf needs to do a better job of managing the customer journey of golfers once they complete their initial introduction to the game. And more than 220 million data points on golfers collected by Players 1st shows that also existing members demand to be heard if you want to satisfy and retain them.

The second strategy is to focus on your staff. Data from Players 1st shows that members usually value their interaction with staff. And it is as a crucial part of their overall experience at golf clubs. By using surveys regularly to ask your staff about their experience with working at your club, you have a valuable source of employee feedback that can ensure staff engagement and retention. And this will surely improve the player experience as well. A satisfied staff equals satisfied members.

Tracking member experience can turn out to be even more essential in 2023
In the end, your strategy for 2023 should be based on a strong connection with your members and staff. During difficult times, the relationship can actually determine whether they will stay or not. So, listen to your members. Listen to your staff. And act on their needs.

By using customer experience management (CxM) technology, you can collect and analyze on feedback. More than 2000 clubs globally are using the CxM platform by Players 1st, as it is designed specifically for golf clubs. They use it for survey templates, real-time notifications, advanced analytics and benchmarking. And that data can be a game changer during these uncertain times. Because we believe that it is more important than ever to listen to players and staff if you want success in 2023.

Read more at players1st.sport.

Stefan Kirstein: kirstein (at) mainzer-golfclub.de
Gerd Rothfuchs: rothfuchs (at) gc-rheine.de
Lucas Balleby: lucas.balleby (at) players1stgroup.com

Golf Management Verband Deutschland e.V.
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