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November 9, 2020

Chris Rockwell: Take Advantage of New Trends to Seal the Deal on New Members

Chris Rockwell is the PGA Membership & Marketing Director at The Moorings Golf & Country Club in Naples, Florida.

Chris Rockwell on the importance of taking advantage of new trends to seal the deal on new members:

The COVID-19 pandemic created a new atmosphere in Naples – with over 100 summer memberships sold at The Moorings as of mid-July. We’re an executive course – a par-63 consisting of nine par-3s and nine par-4s – with every hole at manageable yardage. Golfers – of all ages and skill levels—love fast play and a shorter routing, where they get more chances for pars and birdies. It was really nice seeing the club being utilized more over the summer. Usually Naples is a seasonal area. Instead, this year people stayed in Florida longer during the summer, despite the many hotspots that popped up statewide. Additionally, many local private clubs were open only to members and suddenly there were limited options for newly extended residents of Naples. We believe two things we subsequently did made a difference, allowing us to capitalize on this opportunity.


Chris Rockwell on the business impact of taking advantage of new trends to seal the deal on new members:

First, we advertised our summer membership program (which runs from May 1st to October 31st) on Facebook and Google, reached out to 2,300 local realtors, and sent an email blast through Golf Life Navigators. This, coupled with referrals and word of mouth, helped the club gain almost three times the number of summer members from the previous year. The summer membership costs just a little over $750 and we hope the value contained within convinces around half of the summer members to become full-time members. We used this tool to give the member experience and exposure to the club. Even before the pandemic, over the last year that I have been at the club, we lowered the average age of the membership by eight years. The club is now trending even younger because of the summer members who are converting to full-time members and the younger families who are moving to Naples full-time from the New York and Chicago area. Second, I was out there personally with members, new members and prospects. I can close about 80 percent of membership sales when I play golf with potential members. As the membership director, playing those rounds with the prospects – versus solely greeting the player(s) and then sending them out – has been very fruitful for us and could be very fruitful for you if a new trend in your area leads to an opportunity to gain new members.


If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email crockwell@pga.com