While other businesses and forms of recreation have been restricted or forced to close, golf courses have seen a surge in popularity during the pandemic. Public golf courses across the United States have seen the number of rounds played by golfers increase by 60 percent compared to the prior year, while private golf memberships have risen by 25 to 30 percent.

As an outdoor activity that offers built-in social distancing, golf can be enjoyed with only limited adjustments made to account for COVID-19 safety guidelines. With spring around the corner and the pandemic still affecting how we live our daily lives, local golf courses can use creative advertising and marketing strategies to carry this momentum forward, grow their customer base, and strengthen local interest in the sport.

From safe social outings to nearby destinations for restless travelers, here are four ways golf courses can advertise their business and grow their customer base as the weather warms up.

1. Embrace Positive Positioning of Your Product

One of the greatest attractions of golfing has been its ability to proceed more or less unchanged by the pandemic. While clubhouses, cart rentals and other aspects of the golf experience may feature greater safety protocols than before, the experience of golfing a round on the links remains more or less unchanged.

This semblance of normalcy is something every golf course should emphasize in its messaging. From social media posts to TV and digital video ads, highlight the fun, comfort and safety of golfing on your course. Show photos and live video of customers golfing safely during the pandemic, and use this content to ease safety concerns some customers may have—and to increase their desire to enjoy an activity that has been spared of the pandemic’s worst restrictions.

2. Re-evaluate Your Target Audience

Golf’s surge in popularity is expanding its core audience—and your advertising and marketing should be targeted to these emerging groups. If you’ve currently focused your advertising on established golfers in the past, you may want to broaden your horizons to engage a local audience that historically hasn’t golfed with regularity—and maybe hasn’t golfed ever before.

In some cases, golf courses may also want to consider the rules and features of their course experience. Certain dress codes, for example, may steer away interested patrons who feel intimidated by the rules your course has set. With average consumers more inclined to give golf a try, your business should craft messaging that is accessible—and target ad campaigns more broadly, moving beyond your typical ad filters to test different audience segments and see which groups signal strong interest.

This type of opportunity to gain an audience with new customers is rare, and it could be a valuable long-term investment if those new golfers stick with the sport even once the pandemic is over.

3. Feature Attractions Beyond the Links

Your business may want to consider new services or experiences that cater to inexperienced golfers, such as expanded, socially distanced coaching to teach new golfers basic tips and tricks. Similarly, customers who aren’t serious about golf may be attracted to other venues on your course, such as the putting green or an open-air restaurant and bar. 

If you’re making these changes, be sure to highlight new features and opportunities across your advertising channels. Consider not only paid promotion that reaches new audiences directly, but also owned media channels such as email newsletters, where new opportunities at your course may be a tool for established golfers to convince friends and family to come give the sport a try for themselves—or, at least, to come spend the afternoon enjoying all of the fringe attractions the course has to offer.

4. Think Outside Your Local Community

With tourism and vacations largely curtailed by the pandemic, potential patrons of your golf course may be willing to travel—especially when the destination itself is built around a socially distanced activity. As warm spring weather arrives, your customers may be eager to travel to a golf course within driving distance to cure their travel bug.

This willingness to travel could expand the typical geographic area where your customers are coming from—especially if you’re a local course that typically doesn’t draw audiences from far away. With tee times in high demand and customers content to drive, your course might benefit from testing ad campaigns outside of your local market. You can target these to local communities within a short drive of your property, or use other geographic filters offered through a wide range of digital ad channels, including digital video, mobile ads, and social media.

No matter what advertising strategy you choose, don’t overlook the importance of emphasizing the safety of your local golfing experience. With golf’s popularity being driven largely by its relative safety offered by socially distancing with friends outdoors, you can expect your clientele to prioritize safety as they plan their next golfing excursion.

Set up your ad strategy for success this spring—contact us today to see how our team of experts can help.

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