The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012 - (Page 2)

ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP Golf associations seeking new ways to stem membership decline E-clubs, 1-day events, increased communication providing added value for progressive organizations By Jim Dunlap ggregate numbers are difficult to compile, but there is clines. Memberships and professional development are the first little doubt that membership in golf ’s local, state and na- to go,” he said, noting that the GCSAA calculates that 97% of tional associations has typically declined in recent years. their members’ dues are paid by their employer. The causes, like golf ’s global concerns with rounds, revenue and While most state and regional associations are feeling some participation, are likely varied, ranging from the economy to a pinch, there are some exceptions. Texas Golf Association Exsociographic shift away from any type of club membership, but ecutive Director Rob Addington said that TGA membership is one thing is certain: associations are having to work harder to actually up just over 7 percent, although he said there has been come up with value propositions that will attract new members considerable movement among members from private clubs and retain their current membership. into other types of clubs – either private clubs to public facilities “It [association membership decline] is definitely a national or to less expensive private clubs. (While Addington said the trend,” said Southern California Golf Association Executive Di- TGA has worked diligently to enhance member benefits, he adrector Kevin Heaney. “In some parts mits that in some Texas golf markets, of the country more than others, like the skyrocketing petroleum prices “Compared to associations Detroit, which was certainly down but have probably had a positive impact in general, our professional on some golfers’ personal economies). has gotten some back as their economy has improved, but basically it’s a In Chicago, meanwhile, Chicago membership retention rate problem for everyone.” Heaney, who is District Golf Association Execuis well above average.” well thought of among his peers as a tive Director Robert Markionni said progressive thinker, knows whereof he that while individual membership is jEff bollig speaks in his home state; his SCGA down, club membership has never mEdia rElations dirEctor, gcsaa is at approximately 163,000 membeen higher, in part because of the asbers currently from a peak of roughly sociation’s more aggressive outreach 200,000, while the Northern Califormarketing and value enhancement to nia Golf Association has been hit even harder, with a current so-called Type 2 clubs, or clubs without real estate attached. membership around 152,000 from the same 200,000 peak. The state and large regional organizations reflect the plight Associations taking proactive approaches of the industry’s major organizations, although to a greater deLike many course owners and operators who are all for growgree in many cases. The PGA of America claims to have held ing the game down the road with new or returning players, but relatively stable at around 27,000 member professionals, with have to pay their bills and their banker today, some associations the USGA reportedly doing likewise with their 9,000 member are targeting new or heretofore largely untapped markets of exclubs and 700,000-plus members. The Golf Course Superinten- isting players to mitigate member losses. Virginia State Golf dents Association of America has shown approximately a two Association Executive Director Jamie Conkling, who credits per cent decline in their professional membership (superinten- former boss Heaney for shaping much of his outside-the-box dents and assistant supers) over the past few years, but the casu- thinking during his time with SCGA, is a prime example. Conkling, who has been known to voice radical opinions such alties have been more substantial in GCSAA affiliate members who primarily work for companies involved to some degree in as “I don’t think most golfers care about handicap indexes but I do think they care about value and access,” and “Why are we givthe golf turf maintenance side of the industry. “Compared to associations in general, our professional ing [access and instruction] away to juniors for free?,” has spearmembership retention rate is well above average,” said GCSAA headed a campaign targeting “e-clubs” and other recreational Media Relations Director Jeff Bollig, “but our success is directly golfers’ clubs that has helped to make up for an overall membertied to the facility. When play declines and facilities shut down, ship decline and provided a significant VSGA revenue boost. The VSGA’s e-club (which stands for electronic, or Interour members’ budgets decline and our membership revenue de- A 2 The Pellucid PersPecTive APril 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012

The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012
Golf associations seeking new ways to stem membership decline
Are you the master of your domain?
Military base redevelopment puts golf in limbo
iPad + cloud = simpler, cheaper golf operating system?
March weather impact: Nature’s baffling benevolence continues!
Fore, right! Who’s to blame?
Detroit market holding its own
Course purchase opportunities abounding on Florida’s ‘First Coast’
An uncluttered mind yields Masterful performance

The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012