GBN Interview – Jamie Carroll, Director, PlayMoreGolf
Story published at 15:35, Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
PlayMoreGolf (www.playmore.golf) is the UK’s first online flexible points-based membership programme. It aims to change the way golf memberships are undertaken in the UK. GolfBusinessNews.com talks to Director, Jamie Carroll, to discuss the company’s growth plans.
How does PlayMoreGolf work?
The key is its simplicity for both the golfer and the club. For the golfer, membership starts at £325 per year and despite this relatively modest initial fee, the scheme still allows a golfer to nominate a ‘home’ club, which offers them the same benefits a full member receives.
The golfer is then given a minimum of 100 points – 80 to be utilised at the pre-agreed ‘home’ club and 20 reserved for rounds at other participating clubs throughout the PlayMoreGolf network.
Clubs simply determine how many points are redeemed for a round and, once a member’s points run out, they can purchase more and continue playing. At the end of each year when a member renews, any unused home points can be carried forward, free of charge.
For the golf club, a bespoke no-risk growth opportunity is created, enabling each venue to structure the relationship in a way that maximises the cost-effectiveness for its business. Then, once established as a participating club, PlayMoreGolf will connect golfers online as members, which has an immediate positive impact on revenues.
We believe PlayMoreGolf partner clubs will see membership revenues increase by up to 50% inside three years, and also see a reduction in the average age of membership by up to 20 years.
How do you work with partner venues?
At the start of the relationship we will work with partner clubs to develop a bespoke and detailed strategic plan to match its requirements. This includes bespoke sales training support, member acquisition marketing campaign support, a fully integrated customer relationship management (CRM) programme and a web-booking engine that directly interfaces with the club’s booking requirements, all of which are designed to add real value.
This complete sales and marketing support package ensures any additional administration tasks for the partner golf club are negated, while also enabling the venue to track each of its members effectively, safeguarding them against membership migration.
What was the inspiration for PlayMoreGolf?
We were part of the team that created the De Vere Club, which attracted more than 18,000 new members to 12 golf clubs in just four years. Back in 2010, we felt the time was right to create this ground-breaking model to help golfers whose needs weren’t being met by the traditional style of golf membership and, as a team, we learned how to create and administer the country’s most successful flexible membership scheme at the time.
The success of the De Vere Club was based on its flexible approach, with golfers buying into the fact that they were able to enjoy the benefits of a single club membership, combined with the flexibility of being able to play throughout the De Vere network.
How does PlayMoreGolf differ?
PlayMoreGolf is a more inclusive programme that all clubs throughout the UK can join, and benefit from increased flexible membership numbers and revenues, while simultaneously improving the experience for golfers.
Market figures suggest the majority of UK golf clubs are facing declining memberships due to increased competition, a perceived lack of value and an ever-increasing number of people engaging with golf in non-traditional formats such as pitch and putt or par-3 short courses.
It is clear ‘standard’ memberships are no longer meeting the requirements of a rising number of, typically younger golfers, who are finding it hard to commit to playing golf regularly enough to justify a full club membership.
PlayMoreGolf aims to change the way golf memberships are undertaken, appealing not only to the transient golfer, but also to avid club members who enjoy the social side of club life as much as playing. By providing more choice and flexibility, we believe PlayMoreGolf will not only encourage people back into the game – and get newcomers started – but also see them retained within the game over a longer period of time.
Does PlayMoreGolf not just replace traditional memberships with flexible ones?
With the De Vere Club for example, while it added more than 18,000 new members, the programme only saw up to 3% of the ‘traditional’ members migrating over to the flexible scheme. We believe that this migration of memberships to the flexible scheme ensured that the ‘traditional’ members were retained by the venue rather than leaving. The detailed strategic plan we have designed for any venues looking to partner with PlayMoreGolf will ensure the transfer from ‘traditional’ memberships is kept to a minimum.
Nothing beats the feeling of belonging to a club and the more people feel they belong, the more they will play and enjoy the game.
Rather than replacing traditional memberships, PlayMoreGolf is designed to sit alongside clubs’ existing packages with the aim of appealing to the broadest number of golfers and to provide a compromise between flexible and traditional memberships in order to maximise the amount of members and revenue for the club.
Which clubs have already become PlayMoreGolf partner venues?
There are a variety of clubs up and down the country already seeing the potential benefits of providing a more flexible approach to membership via PlayMoreGolf. These range from private members’ clubs such as Dore & Totley Golf Club in Sheffield, to the De Vere Venues, with locations such as Staverton Park, Wokefield Park and Wychwood Park.
In addition, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, Selsdon Park Hotel & Golf Club, which is part of the Principal Hayley Group, Herons’ Reach Golf Resort, Ullesthorpe Court Golf Club, Carden Park and Henlle Park Golf Club have all become part of the PlayMoreGolf network.
We are adding partner golf clubs to the PlayMoreGolf network each week, so to see an updated list visit http://playmore.golf/clubs-courses
How do clubs contact you?
Jamie Carroll, thank you very much.