Laira Martin writes (click here to read full article) in the July/August 2015 Golf, Inc. Magazine:
“The scope of having regional and national cards creates an intangible emotional appeal to the golfer thinking they have a greater opportunity to derive value,” said J.J. Keegan, golf strategist and author of “The Business of Golf.”
Keegan said one of the best loyalty card programs is run by Play Golf Calgary, which promotes inter-course play between its three existing courses and promotes two courses under construction through a program called “Life is Better With Golf.” Golfers are sent 20 summer challenges to complete to earn points toward free golf. “They are masterful marketers,” Keegan said.
Keegan — who has flown 2.6 million miles to play more than 4,000 golf courses around the world — admits that although he participates in these programs, he would not select a course to play based on its management company. He doesn’t think the traveling businessman, a common golf demographic, would either. “Why would he go to play a course managed by a specific company?” Keegan asked. “They’re probably going to go play the best golf courses. So if they’re traveling to the Bay Area, they’re going to put Pebble Beach [Resorts] on their list to play, or Pelican Hills [Golf Club] if they’re going to Los Angeles … I think that’s a far greater influence than loyalty.
“I’m headed to Bandon [Dunes Golf Resort] next week, and I know I’m in for a very good experience because KemperSports manages it,” he said. “I know the service standards would be as high as it would be at a Century Golf or ClubCorp course. So there’s a comfort level in that.”
As much as Keegan enjoys getting that free round of golf, or even a free coffee at Starbucks, at the end of the day, his loyalties lie with the courses where his experiences have been best. This idea aligns with the work of Frederick Reichheld, author of “The Loyalty Effect” and “The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World.” That ultimate question, of course, is: Would you recommend this product to your friends, family and business associates? “That is the essence of loyalty,” Keegan said.
What do you think drives customer loyalty. Comment below.