Next to the club president, the membership chair might be the most stressful position at a private golf or country club: Keeping the roster at a healthy number is critical to success. The trick is how to do that given the numerous obstacles—a flat number of golfers, increasingly attractive membership plans from competing clubs, and the fact that the membership chair and committee are volunteers with limited time to devote.
An increasingly popular method is to engage a membership marketing company to assist. There are a number of such companies across the United States, each employing various strategies aimed at attracting new members. They come armed with promises of a "secret sauce" and stories of great success, so it's important to conduct due diligence because they almost always come with a significant cost.
As such, track record is important, and few have as impressive a résumé as Creative Golf Marketing, based in Manhattan, Kan. Founded in 1990, the firm has more than 25 years' experience and a client list of more than 1,300 clubs—including many that have brought in more than 100 new members. CGM requires a retainer fee and then an agreed-upon fee for each membership secured under the program, the fee decided by class of membership.
What do you get for your money? For starters, no guarantees. However, the firm provides market and membership analysis, membership marketing development, a site visit and a presentation to your membership. The company also offers social and digital marketing plans, collateral materials and more. The membership committee still needs to execute the plan, but that group of volunteers will be more professionally equipped to do so. Plus, CGM will hold your hand throughout. Just make sure you have enough lockers.
Creative Golf Marketing, price varies