Tournaments as a Marketing Tool

keith-nilesKeith Niles, the 1990 Vermont PGA Chapter Assistant Golf Professional of the Year and four-time member of the President’s Council on Growing the Game, is the PGA director of golf at Louisquisset Golf Club in North Providence, Rhode Island.

Tournaments and outings are an opportunity for our facility to put our best foot forward. When we have these events, we want the players to feel like they are playing in a major championship and that they are the most important individual on the property with nothing to worry about but golf. Like many clubs, we have many different types of tournaments and outings throughout the year that members can participate in, but we also have different types of memberships. Besides a full membership, we have limited memberships and social memberships. These memberships still allow golfers to play, but the times they can play are limited and reduced compared to a member with full access to the golf course, especially when it comes to tournaments. We offer five select tournaments that are open to all types of members and guests of members. We use these tournaments as marketing tools and allow limited and social members as well as guests to play in them to spark their passion to be involved in a fun and competitive atmosphere. These tournaments encourage members to upgrade their membership to either a limited membership or full membership so that they can play more and participate in all club events.

Our nine-hole facility hosts more than 40 tournaments per year, each consisting of 56-112 participants. Guests, limited members, and social members make up 15 percent of the fields when eligible to play. Since October of 2013, we have obtained four new full-time members due to their participation in the tournaments, which has resulted thousands of dollars in additional revenue for the club. In total, roughly 10 percent of all social and limited members that play in the tournaments purchase a membership upgrade following the events. Now, as full members, they are able to play in all of the tournaments as well as receive all membership benefits. These tournaments are paid out using golf shop credit and gift certificates, which helps to move inventory as well as increase our merchandise revenue. Golf shop sales during the tournaments total 33 percent of the year’s total golf shop income. With increased participation in tournaments, foot traffic is increased in the golf shop, which has encouraged more sales.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email

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.