Member-Based Outings

Jim Smith Jr. is the PGA director of golf at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Flourtown, Pa., and Honorary President of the Philadelphia PGA Section.

With the outing business being down a bit, we were trying to come up with some additional ways to generate revenue on Mondays and, simultaneously, benefit our membership. We came up with an event called Member Monday. We allow each member to bring a minimum of 11 guests or a maximum of 27 guests. We charge $125 a player, and that gets them lunch, golf and dinner. We place restrictions on the number of guests per member so we don’t cannibalize our stag days or other guest opportunities. As it turned out, there is definitely a market for members wanting to host their own small outings. Members have utilized Member Monday for corporate outings, church outings or even as a very small fundraiser. We’ve hosted two already and we’re hosting another one very soon. The first one saw 10 groups make up a total of 232 players, and we hosted a separate event for each group. We then had 196 players the next go-round. So, we tell each group to play whatever format they want and we’ll handle the scoring if they choose, we’ll also take care of prizes in the golf shop if they want; if not, we’re flexible. We even had 10 different score sheets on the board for each of the groups.

While the margins aren’t as strong as they would be if we just charged our regular guest fee or for a regular outing, our first two Member Mondays added up to almost 450 rounds of golf at $125 a round, which is almost $60,000 on two Mondays that would have been otherwise dead. We split our budget 50/50 between food and beverage and guest fees. There’s also been a great response from the members. We’ve had several members who ordinarily wouldn’t even participate in outings because of the cost, but with this format they went out and gathered 11 buddies at $125 a piece, entertained their friends and made it their own type of outing.