Sunday, February 14, 2010

Since Druid's Glen came up with the ingenious - not to mention generous - idea of offering free tee times (normal green fee = €90) for a month, they have been oversubscribed by a landslide. From what I've heard, they had 20,000 applications before they realised they had to shut off the offer.

In terms of numbers, let's assume 30 days of 'free golf', with 20 free fourballs a day => 2,400 golfers will stomp one of Ireland's finest.

At the start everyone was whoop-de-doo about the offer, but then up popped the naysayers:
  • Why are they doing this?
  • What will they gain?
  • People won't spend in the pro shop, it's too dear
  • The catering company will reap the rewards, not the club
  • The course can't take that kind of footfall, it'll be a mess by the end
  • Hackers will ruin the place
  • Do they think people will come back and pay €90 after they've played it for free?
  • Are they expecting people to join the club in these tough times?
Moan, moan, moan! Here's a club offering free golf, on a course that is not being used much at the moment. What's wrong with that! Presumably green staff have to be employed to look after the course whether or not there are golfers on it, so why not put the course, and green staff, to good use?

By the time the offer is over, in early March, golfers who have never played it before will have experienced its greatness. They may choose to go back and pay, they may not; they may join, they may not. And Druid's Glen has all the emails for future activity. In tough times, that's an important marketing advantage. The most powerful marketing weapon any company has ever had, is word of mouth and, combined with the emails, who knows what the course has planned. Personally, I'd recommend doing a similar thing at the end of the year or the same time next year, only this time charging €10 or €20 and running a competition.

And if the course does take a battering, then they have a few weeks before the busy season starts - plenty of time for the course to recover. And plenty of time for people who have played it to encourage their friends to go and visit.


  1. Druids seems to have become unfashionable a number of years ago, for whatever reason (maybe not pretentious enough for the people of this fine isle?). This will remind people of the quality of what is in my opinion still the best parkland course in Ireland. Druids deserves to return to the top of the pile.

  2. I hadn't thought of it as being 'unfashionable' but it's a good point. All they'd have to do is hold some decent sized tournament and their reputation would rise to the top again.