Understanding Why People Leave


Members leave golf clubs. This is a fact. However, it is also a fact that many clubs do not invest time in understanding why this is the case. Simple tracking of reasons for leaving will help your golf club spot trends and put a plan in place to help reduce turnover.

Golf clubs spend their marketing budgets trying to acquire members but those who leave can provide key insights in areas a club needs to address to prevent others from leaving in the future.

Some departures from golf clubs are inevitable and there is nothing the club can do as they are a result of a change in personal circumstances. People move home, they get made redundant, they change jobs, they start families; just some of the reasons for member turnover.

However, others will leave because they can’t get a game, the course is always busy, it’s too expensive, unable to book a tee time, etc, etc. The key point is:

If you don’t know, then there is nothing you can do about it.

“Knowledge is Power” – this quote dates back to 1597 and given that it is still widely used today, it’s fair to say that it’s true.

Even once you know why people leave, you may find that there is little or nothing that you can do to prevent it. However, why take that chance when a simple question when someone leaves or doesn’t renew their membership could provide such valuable insight?

Insight will give you patterns and trends and these can provide the opportunity to address issues so others don’t leave for the same reasons. And it’s not just about the knowledge. It’s about how you use that to maximise benefit for the golf club

For example – If a person now has less disposable wouldn’t it be better to have a process / offer in place to move them to a different membership type which better suits their needs? Why lose a member when you can retain them a different way? Better to have a member move to a different membership type than to leave completely. Not only do you retain a fee paying member, you also retain any other expenditure they may have had at the club, such as bar spend, competition fees or pro shop spend.

A simple process in place to track reasons for leaving can provide valuable insight. Make sure there isn’t an underlying issue you are not aware of by monitoring this information and acting on your findings. This can be in the form of a short survey or even a quick conversation. The more information you are able to gather the easier it should be to put activity in place to prevent others leaving for the same reason.