2021 is shaping up to be one of the best years in golf’s recent history, with demand for the game shooting up far past our original expectations. But it’s not just rounds of golf that are up. Interest in golf memberships has soared since the COVID-19 Pandemic hit North America, providing semi-private facilities and Country Clubs with their biggest growth opportunity in decades.
COVID-19’s Impact on Golf Membership Demand
In a previous article, I wrote about COVID-19’s Impact of the Demand for Golf. Not only were rounds up huge in 2020, but the supporting metrics are even more impressive. Search engine usage to find golf courses and country clubs are up over 100% in some parts of the country.
People that have never played golf are getting into the sport (good thing), while those that play regularly are now faced with larger crowds, less tee time availability, higher prices, and less convenience than pre-pandemic times (bad thing). The financial gap between playing public golf and becoming a member at a private club is shrinking. This trend will likely continue, as many public golf courses across the US and Canada make plans to increase their rates during the 2021 golf season. As a result, the idea of becoming a member at a private golf club is starting to make more sense for more golfers. Not only is there an obvious benefit to belonging to a private club, but with many clubs dropping their large initiation fees, many golfers are realizing the cost gap is much smaller than it once was.
Why Facebook Ads?
Pre-COVID19, Facebook and Instagram had big brands and advertisers throwing money at their ad network. The ads perform well, they are relatively affordable, and they are highly targeted. What’s not to love? Post-COVID, these large advertisers have reeled in their budgets, spending a fraction of what they typically do. Since these large brands and retailers make up such a significant portion of Facebook and Instagram ad revenue, ad costs have dropped. Like, a lot.
For example, before COVID-19, we were seeing Click Costs around $1.00 - $2.50. Now, we’re seeing Click Costs in the $0.25 - $0.85. Other platforms, like Google Ads, have seen cost decreases as well, but not to the extent we’re seeing on Facebook and Instagram.
The Perfect Storm
With demand for membership on a high, and ad costs taking a plunge, we’re currently experiencing a “Perfect Storm” that every savvy operator should be trying to take advantage of. We are currently seeing record low membership acquisition costs from the campaigns we’re running for clubs across the country. In many cases, member acquisition costs are down over 50% from recent years. That should get you excited!