Being an anonymous overseas member of a Scottish golf club at the very least is a badge of honour, used at your discretion during Country Club clubhouse conversations across North America but a membership means more to a Scottish golf club than you might think.
A recent guest post I wrote for Bunkers Paradise allowed me to consider what an overseas membership at a Scottish golf club could mean to both the recipient and the golf clubs themselves. Some clubs in Scotland, collectively amassing several hundred years of golfing heritage find themselves struggling financially at no fault of their own.
Do we as fans of the game have an obligation to help such a cause? After all these are often sites of huge historical reference, where golf has been a fabric of the local culture and economy for generations. I believe Scottish golf clubs need to connect more with their Overseas Members and if they do it could turn into a much needed and lucrative revenue stream. Here’s how..
While becoming an overseas member of a Scottish club is a novel idea how many golfing fanatics would even be aware of such an initiative? At the very least make your overseas visitors know about such a possibility. If you receive glowing feedback from a visitor reply with an overseas membership form attached. Likewise if you were a visiting golfer and played a course that you loved and can envisage returning ask the question. As a golf club offer raffle prizes for charity fundraisers overseas, engage on social media, story tell your club’s history and case for attracting overseas membership. Luckily being Scottish, golfers tend to listen.
If we told you tonight that an overseas membership of the *oldest golf club in the world is just £145 (no joining fee) would you join?
— Scottish GolfPodcast (@ScotGolfPodcast) December 9, 2014
Make it Tangible
In the post arrives your invoice. Membership fees to be paid by..
Does that contact from your golf club excite you and make you want to engage with it now, never mind for years to come? The opportunity to engage with an overseas member both with the golf club’s news and Scottish golf more generally is a powerful one. Send newsletters, personalised updates and gifts to make the relationship between member and club prominent throughout the year. Instead of forgetting about their overseas membership suddenly the golfer becomes a walking advocate for the club and country, inviting friends to visit Scotland with them. An overseas membership soon becomes a logical decision for the sense of relevance within the membership community.
Who’s your Overseas Club Champion?
After feeling part of the membership and club community, amerced in the golf club’s activities an overseas member will now endeavour to travel to play your course. Each overseas member should be profiled, telling their story and why out of all 597 golf clubs in Scotland they chose this one. Overseas members should foster micro membership communities just as the senior members do, or the ladies who meet on a Thursday morning for coffee. Visits should be encouraged, acknowledged and archived by the club. Your overseas Club Champion should change multiple times a year with the format simple and the path to success more so. The visitor that manages to make a trip back to the golf club instantly becomes Overseas Club Champion and remains so until the next overseas member arrives for a game. What golfer in the world wouldn’t want to tell their golfing buddies about that?
Many visiting golfers to Scotland leave with a desire to foster a lasting relationship with the game here at The Home of Golf. Yes of course becoming a member of a Scottish club can be a badge of honour but it should and can be a lot more than that. Over to you golf club managers and golfers.
You can find a list of some Scottish golf clubs currently offering Overseas Memberships here.