Robin Shelton, the 2016 PGA Southern California Section Golf Professional of the Year, is a PGA Master Professional and the PGA General Manager at the SeaCliff Country Club, in Huntington Beach, California, and a Regional Manager at American Golf Corporation.
Provide Innovative Playing Opportunities for Your Members
Robin Shelton on the importance of providing innovative playing opportunities for your members:
At SeaCliff Country Club, we are fortunate to enjoy a prime Southern California location that provides members a plethora of choices for their entertainment dollar, as well as their leisure time, and strive to be foremost on their minds as they consider those options. We have over 1,250 golf, social and tennis members, many of whom have forged wonderful relationships that go beyond our club, but are stemmed in their mutual love and pride for Seacliff. To help keep our members happy, and to ensure they return year after year, we have implemented some innovative playing opportunities, highlighted by an array of weekly series events that provide different playing experiences, flexibility in participation and the chance to bond with old friends and make some new ones. They range from three weeks to eight weeks and are offered at different times of the year. One example is called the GM Cup and takes place on seven consecutive Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. Teams are drafted via an old-fashioned schoolyard pick; 12 players make up a team, with eight playing weekly. This allows for schedule conflicts when it comes to work and family. The matches are two on two with a net best ball format. The team with the most points at the end of the seven weeks is the winner, though competition is secondary to the camaraderie everyone enjoys. Another event, called The Skins, is six weeks and occurs on Fridays at 3:30 p.m. This weekly event consists of 20 two-man teams playing Skins in a scramble format. The catch is they all play the same hole at the same time! Nine holes and two and a half hours later, the golf is over and the socializing begins. Whether it’s our GM Cup, Skins, the Cheers, or the Pigeon events, these camaraderie type events benefit member retention, new member sales and daily operations.
Robin Shelton on the business impact of providing innovative playing opportunities for your members:
The scheduled times of these events are during slow periods at our club. Creating these weekly leagues puts players on the course and increases golf car revenue as each player pays $10. With over 100 players in the GM cup paying $100 each and 40 in The Skins paying $40 each, the high levels of participation prove that we are doing something right. These entry fees go towards food each week, greatly benefitting our food & beverage service. With drinks being extra, you can imagine how lucrative our creativity has become. These events are win-win situations for everyone involved. Our new member sales rate has improved 66 percent over the prior year, and our membership retention rate has improved by seven percent. Also, as a result, all other aspects of the club benefit as well. Lesson revenues have increased, with players playing more and intent on improving. Golf shop sales see higher revenue with increased foot traffic during otherwise slow times. And as important as the numbers is the fact that our members are happy. They are connected with each other like never before and there is an energy and a buzz surrounding these events that makes the members want to be at SeaCliff, spending their entertainment dollar and their leisure time.