Digital Marketing 101: An Introduction for Golf Courses

Not so long ago, a good website or a targeted email campaign was enough to attract new customers and share information with your existing customer base. Digital marketing has since become much broader than these two very successful strategies.

In fact, today’s diverse digital world presents many innovative opportunities to get your message out to the masses, which is great news for your course. You can reach customers through your website, email sends, social media, push notifications, text messages, and video content creation.

Golf facility operators absolutely must use digital marketing methods to reach their target market. In this article, we explain the most popular and effective digital marketing methods you can use for your golf course.

Jump to a section:

Get the ultimate guide to marketing your course

Learn the ins and outs of optimizing your website and social media channels to reach more people than ever.


Discover the benefits of social media

You’d be hard pressed to find a golf club in North America that doesn’t have a social media presence. After all, it is profitable, can be done anytime and anywhere, and often by anyone.

Consider McGolf Driving Range in Dedham, Massachusetts. PGA Professional Eric McInerney has plenty to promote – a driving range, short game area, mini-golf, instruction, club fitting, club repair, technology, cafe and bar ice cream – and his websitedoes a great job of letting people know what they offer.

McGolf’s Instagram page, however, goes one step further by showcasing the smiling faces of their customers, young children and teenagers, families and happy golfers. Over time, McInerney has built a group of committed followers who eagerly await his next post, which could be anything from a photo of a sunny golf day, a snowy driving range, or a golfer who couldn’t be happier to be at McGolf Driving Varier.

Experts say that you don’t have to be on all social media platforms. A marketing strategy that integrates all platforms would require more time than most golf professionals have in their day. Facilities with marketing professionals to handle these vital tasks have a greater opportunity to leverage all that social media has to offer.

Facebook, while sometimes considered antiquated compared to Instagram and TikTok, remains a viable option for golf facilities to engage customers. Just outside of Boston, PGA professional Erik Sorensen opened Newbury Golf Center during the pandemic summer of 2020. With a stellar siteand an engagingPageInstagram, Sorensen started a private women’s golf Facebook group and has over 150 members in the group with access to information on relevant golf topics. He helped develop its women’s programsdemonstrating the value of social media to existing customers, as well as potential new customers.


Share information via push notifications

Considered at once easy and efficient, push notifications engage members and customers right on their mobile device. When golf courses create their own custom appspeople who have both downloaded the app and agreed to allow notifications can receive information and updates instantly.

Push notifications work best with private club members and tournament attendees who need to be aware of on-site information. Bad weather, delayed departure time, postponed events – push notifications most reflect the opportunity available to disseminate information to a group of people. Information is essential in a private club, and today’s discerning golfer will appreciate all that an app has to offer.

Push notifications sent to private club members drive tournament attendance, golf shop sales, food and beverage revenue, and increased attendance at club special events. Private golf facilities have a captive audience of individuals who have not only joined the club but also downloaded the app. They are all there waiting for your notification.

To illustrate the power of push notifications, when PGA Professional Matt Taken of Tuckaway Country Club in Wisconsin received Milwaukee Bucks hats and shirts at his golf shop last year, he notified his members via their application. He says it wasn’t long before five members walked through the doors to get ready for the game they were attending that night.


SMS/text message marketing is quick and easy

SMS, or short message service, marketing is a personal and efficientway to reach your customers. Using text messages instead of emails is another method, like push notifications, to communicate with members wherever they are.

There’s a drink special tonight and the course is full of golfers? Text them. New merchandise arrived in the Golf Shop today? Text them. A member is looking for a game? Send this text and see the answers come. Like email, SMS can be tailored to a specific group of people, allowing you to tailor your messages to resonate with the right crowds.

The main advantage of texting is that they deliver your messages immediately. There are also no hurdles – you don’t need to open a social media app or a specific email account. What is most impressive in this form of communication is the open rate of 98 percent. In comparison, studies show that email open rates currently persist at just over 20%.

Links sent via SMS also have a higher click-through rate than emails. These numbers don’t lie, nor does the increased revenue in your establishment from the various marketing strategies you’ve implemented online.

However, to send SMS marketing messages, you will need software that automates the process. Tools like Lightspeed’s ChronoPitch can help you reach out to those who have opted-in to receive marketing communications from you.


Video creation allows you to show

When it comes to creating engaging videosfor YouTube or other social media platforms, golf instructors are leading the way. The publication of pedagogical advice favors the teaching activity of this person, as well as the establishment itself.

Typically recorded on the pristine golf course or a massive driving range, golf facilities use video to show off their most prized equipment. As is the case with other digital marketing methods, posting videos is very cost effective and easy to share through any of the other mediums already discussed.


Websites remain a reliable marketing tool

An effective website is one that is user friendly, informative, easy to navigate, attractive and interactive. By implementing proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) methods and tools, you can attract people to your websiteby highlighting the most sought-after information. You may be the first option offered by Google when someone searches for a golf course in your area.

If you need help creating or optimizing your website, Lightspeed offers a white glove website builder serviceand marketing management specifically for golf courses.


Stay up to date and generate revenue with the right tools

Even through the Renaissancethe game is experiencing, marketing remains a vital aspect of your golf business. With so many facets to a golf course, there is a lot to promote. Whether you are a private club with older members or a fun and dynamic driving range with technology and music and youngsters hanging out, there is a marketing strategy that can help you attract more business.

Lightspeed’s one-stop golf course management platform saves you time on sales, marketing and more. Talk to one of our expertsto learn more about how Lightspeed Golf can transform your course marketing and operations.

Michael C. Ford