David Bartlett has taken a really creative approach to attracting and retaining women golfers at Bulbury Woods Golf Club. The club has created a short course where every hole is just 150 yards and it has launched a three-month membership with full playing rights for just £120.
Q. How did your journey to become a PGA Pro start?
A. I qualified as a PGA Professional about 16 years ago. Growing up I was an average golfer to be honest, so I knew pretty early on that I wasn’t going to even try and make it on Tour. I knew that I wanted a career in golf though so made that my aim.
Q. Why Women – Was there a specific reason?
A. I’ve developed a really good reputation for coaching women and have always had a high volume of women coming to me for lessons. I even coach women who aren’t members here. The Club Manager and I sat down and devised a programme that would help draw more beginners in and give them a cost effective pathway to learn, become more involved in the Golf Club and eventually take up a full membership.
Q. What efforts has the Club made to support this objective?
A. There are a few things that will make a huge difference. Our golf course is quite difficult, so any beginner is going to have a tough time out there. We don’t want to lose our beginners, so we have created a short course where every hole is just 150 yards. We’re also offering our beginners a 3-month membership with full playing rights for just £120. This is brand new for us and we hope that this will be long enough for them to be integrated into the Golf Club and want to stay on.
Q. How are you recruiting women to the sessions?
A. In my past job we used current members, of which there were 1200, to attract female friends and family. This role is completely different so I’m looking beyond the Golf Club. We’re going to be investing a lot in Facebook advertising and we also have put deals in place with local businesses that we hope will draw more people in.
Q. What sort of arrangements do you have with local businesses?
A. We have just agreed a corporate deal with our local David Lloyd. The have 3,000 members and we will be targeting our taster days to them. So far we’ve agreed to hold 2, but I want to do many more than that. With such a huge volume of people there will be lapsed golfers and people who’ve wanted to try the game but have never been directly offered the chance to.
Q. What structure does the programme / sessions take?
A. When I hold a taster session we meet in the clubhouse, have a coffee and a Tour. Once the group has settled down and relaxed we head out and have a normal first coaching session hitting a 7 iron. At the end of the session I present them with a cost effective group bounceback offer. More often than not they all take it up. It’s an investment in terms of my time, but I see it more as a long-term investment in my business.
Q. When is your next beginners’ session? Can we add it to Facebook?
A. We are holding a Ladies Open Day on September 13th which is open to any women across the area who play golf. They can come and play the course for free, we have entertainment, stalls, refreshments and we’ll also be running taster sessions for women who have never hit a golf ball. We’re excited to see who it attracts.
Q. What’s the best advice you would offer to anyone looking to increase their female business?
A. I use the Sales Funnel technique. Understand your customer and where there will be natural dropouts. If you go for high volume marketing then you will always create enough leads and sales to justify the investment.