For the most part, the idea of modernizing a country club isn’t particularly relevant to golfers. Beyond basic expectations of up-to-date facilities and necessary comforts, there’s something quaint about the idea of keeping venues like these as they’ve always been. To some extent, a country club is only as good as its course, and the course is best left free of tech or commercial embellishments.
With that said though, there are some more subtle ways in which the average country club could be modernized to expand interest and market to potential new members.
1. Provide Indoor Simulations
Providing indoor simulations is a great way to make a club more accessible, in that it will suddenly appeal to members even when the weather doesn’t allow for traditional play. However, weather concerns aside, it can also tap into people’s modern tendencies to enjoy digital entertainment and expect variety. A high-end simulation can allow a club member to play to his heart’s content, enjoying different challenges, different holes, and perhaps even digital versions of courses from around the world.
Also of note is the potential for an idea like this to appeal to a beginner, or even someone who doesn’t typically fancy him or herself a golfer. You may have heard of Topgolf, which is an explosively popular chain of indoor, almost amusement park-like golf simulation and driving range venues. With massive simulations surrounded by televisions, lounge areas, food, and drink, it’s been called the best way to enjoy golf while knowing nothing about it. That’s not to say the point is to appeal to people who are entirely new to golf – but the right indoor simulation can at least make a club more modern and more appealing to a greater number of potential members.
2. Provide Arcade Entertainment
The idea of a traditional gaming arcade likely seems borderline blasphemous to a lot of golf fans or members of more traditional clubs. But the numbers don’t lie: Various reports in recent years have shown club memberships on the decline, in part because younger generations want a different experience. To include an arcade as part of the club experience doesn’t require that the golf be disrupted at all, and it can be done with just a room or two set aside for further indoor entertainment potential.
These don’t have to be the loud, disruptive gaming arcades of the ‘90s, but merely modern digital entertainment centers. Where legal, casino games could be included fairly easily. Activity variety and convenient game payment options have made digital casino games more popular from New Zealand to the UK and everywhere in between, setting the stage for some easy, screen-based casino entertainment. Virtual reality, too, is changing the arcade experience, given the slow emergence of “VRcades,” where people can play games they may not have access to at home. Options like these could make for small, classy arcades, and turn some golf clubs into more dynamic entertainment venues.
3. Develop Club-Specific Apps
As a brief, final point, a club can also generate a simple but significant advantage by establishing its own app. This is something that’s expected of modern businesses, and yet something a lot of clubs don’t have at this point. But a strong mobile app could be used for everything from digital marketing (which has been discussed on this site before) to providing virtual sneak peeks at courses. Indeed, when you think of it that way, it’ almost hard to believe more modern clubs don’t already have digital tools like this.