Would you rather own an Audi, BMW, Lexus or Mercedes? Sight unseen, you have a clear preference though the cars retail for comparable prices.
If one were to hear the words Augusta National, Cobbs Creek, Cypress Point, Papago, Pine Valley or Tenison Park an image comes to mind as to the golf experience that will be received.
Whether that expectation is fulfilled is then dependent upon many factors including the clubhouse, course conditioning, the layout, the pro shop, the restaurant and the customer service.
How do you compete against a well-known brand? The process involves two steps.
The process of marketing differentiation begins with the course’s name. And, out of the gate, this is where most courses begin their path to failure. The vast majority of courses are identified by either color, land feature, type of tree, direction, or location. It is hard to believe, but just 28 words are used as part of the name in 7,173 of the 15,204 golf courses in the United States, as shown in the next figure.
Names that convey emotion or images are much more effective at creating interest in a facility. The Bandit, Cape Kidnappers, Coffin, Galloping Hill, Man of War, Powderhorn, Rainmaker, Sanctuary, Wildhorse, and Wizard—all of these are names of golf courses that would like to entice golfers
Realizing the importance of proper brand, Golf Business News reported
“Montrose Golf Links has announced unprecedented plans to rename one of the oldest golf courses in the world. The bid to relaunch the renowned Medal Course at Montrose as the 1562 Course is part of an enterprising plan to recognize the significant role played by the ancient east coast course in the world of golf.”
Jason Boyd, PGA Professional and Operations Manager at Montrose Golf Links, described the launch of the 1562 Course as an exciting and positive move. “Bringing 1562 to the fore will make a huge difference. It’s the most important aspect we have, and it is our biggest marketing strength – we need to make as much of it as we can.”
The second step is to develop a compelling tag line for the course. If you can’t answer in five words or less why a golfer should play to your course, your brand is drifting in a sea subject to the perils of high winds.
In the July 2017 edition, of Avid Golfer Magazine, golf courses advertising described themselves as follows:
- $1 Million and Change
- One of America’s Best Courses…Everyone Can Play
- A Grand Celebration of the American West
- Two Outstanding Courses
- Take Your Game to New Heights
- Isn’t’ It Amazing How 7,770 Feet Can Take You the World Away
- Natural Beauty at Play
- Your Community, Your Club
- Where the Experience Exceeds the Elevation
- Get High With Us This Summer
- Take Your Game to New Heights
- Nature Has Chosen Its Course – Follow Her Lead
- Superb Amenities – Magnificient Golf
- American’s Best Mountain Golf Destination
- Your Community – Your Club
Do you find any compelling? Only “One of America’s Best Courses…” entices me slightly. It was for Riverdale Dunes; a Pete Dye designed golf course.
Sally Hogshead, author of the fabulous book, “How the World Sees You?” states every brand can be summarized in just 1 or 2 words. She offers an example that car brands. For instance:
Porsche = fast
Volvo = safe
Subaru = practical
Simon Sinek is his Ted Talk, “Why, How, What” believes inbound marketing strategies begin with answering the question “Why?.”
If we apply the teaching of these learned professionals to golf courses, developing a tag line that differentiates yourself from your competitor is vital to competing against a well-known brand.
The City of Spokane during our Webinar series rebranded their courses with our guidance. “GAME ON” was selected as the tag line branding their four courses as follows:
- A grand challenge. Carved into untamed natural beauty and panoramic views.
- Where the obsession starts. Walkable, for all skill levels. Warm up your swing here.
- Scenic vistas of downtown. Rise above stress and rise to the challenge of this historic course.
- A 100-year favorite. Just down the river, just far enough away.
Personally, I like “GAME ON” and the tag line “Where the Obsession Starts.”
That is what I think. What about you? Comment below.