Creating Strong Engagements with Participants

chris-kenneyChris Kenney, the 2000 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Assistant Professional of the Year, a 2008 and 2009 U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Kids Teacher, 2014 AGM Platinum Award winner and 2014 Metropolitan PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is the PGA head professional at the Patterson Club in Fairfield, Connecticut.

When I arrived here 10 years ago, I wanted to do something to take our Member-Guest to the next level and create a connection with the members and guests that would leave them feeling welcomed and appreciated. The engagement process begins two weeks before the tournament. We send out emails to the guests, providing them with tournament information and a contact if they have any questions for the professional staff. During the event, the professional staff makes an effort to speak to every member and guest and find out how things are going for them, to ensure they are enjoying themselves. Throughout the event, we use Golf Genius Software to post pictures and tournament results, along with live scoring. This has helped us to not only keep players up to date, but spouses and friends are able to follow the tournament away from the course. One player’s wife even informed him that he had won a contest before we even announced it.

Chris Kenney on the business impact of creating strong engagements with participants:
With positive player-staff engagements, we have benefitted in many facets at our facility. For the Member-Guest Invitational, we are able to retain 85-90 percent of the guests each year. They not only come back, but they deliver positive responses to us on their experience. We are able to maintain 60-70 teams for this event annually, with an entry fee of $1,200 per team. With the relationships we build with the players, they want to support the golf shop and we do approximately 80 percent more merchandise sales during the week of the event as compared to a normal week of play. Additionally, we offer an Invitational prep lesson package six weeks before the event for $249 which includes four sessions. Typically, we usually have about six people take advantage of the package each year, while a few take private lessons for their preparation. Lastly, we have added three members that were originally exposed to the club through the Member-Guest Invitational. With all the benefits that we have generated in the past 10 years, we will certainly continue to maintain the use of engagement with the participants.

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Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America.