I get it. Boy do I get it. How in the world do you make yourself unique in a sea of other golf courses? My golf course is located in central Iowa surrounded by a mere 30 other courses. Yikes. That’s tough.
Let me tell you a little secret. I don’t view any of them as competition because I mind my own business.
What makes my golf course unique?
When I first took over my family’s golf business in 2004. I struggled with many things. Not the least of which was the silly name my family had selected for my family’s course. I was young and ambitious.
The first thing we did was change our logo. We made it look more “golf like.” There. Better. I thought. Then, we added cherry wood to our Golf Shop. We remodeled to make our clubhouse look like a private club. After all, isn’t it written somewhere that golf course clubhouses be surrounded in dark wood with men in smoking jackets and pool tables in the locker rooms? That’s what a real golf course looks like, right?
As part of my marketing strategy, I hired a firm who called all of my current customers as well as golfers who didn’t play at my golf course.
Guess what I found out?
They didn’t care what color wood was on our walls. People played my golf course because we are fun. We aren’t your “normal” golf course and golfers liked that about us.
From that day on, my entire outlook on my competition changed. I’ll never be Augusta and that’s completely ok. Just like it’s ok for YOU to be whatever YOU are.
Why wouldn’t they want their golf course to behave the same way?
- If your personality is reserved, then set that atmosphere.
- If you’re a little nutty, then let your freak flag wave.
- Have a great sense of humor? Don’t stifle it, let it shine.
The best way to stand out in the crowd is to pretend there isn’t a crowd.
Be happy being you!
As a quick exercise, I’ve provided a worksheet for you to complete to figure out how you can stand out from your “so called” competition. What’s your USP? That’s your Unique Selling Point.
My USP was that my golf course was FUN! As soon as I figured out my USP, I stopped having competition. No one can compete with my USP.
What makes your golf course unique?
- Is it a certain hole
- An incredible view
- Charming staff
- Spacious Clubhouse
Think About It
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at other businesses and examine their USP.
What’s the difference between Whole Foods a normal grocery store? Not much. That is, until you consider their USP. Whole Foods took normal grocery shopping and turned it into a safe shopping experience. People who care about their overall health will shop at Whole Foods. Their USP is healthy living.
What about Gold’s Gym vs. Anytime Fitness. The perceived difference is that you can get more muscular at Gold’s Gym. They probably have the much of the same equipment (I gotta admit. I don’t go to the gym, so this is just heresy) but Gold’s Gym has a USP that makes people believe they will have a body builder body when they leave.
How to Find Your USP
Don’t all golf courses have tees, greens, fairways, grass and trees? So what makes your golf course different? What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Maybe your course is the mecca for craft beer. Your greens are incredibly fast. The pace of play is fast or you have a casual environment that golfers crave.
Do you offer deep discounts? A better overall experience? Kids are welcome at your course. You have high quality rental sets. The owner mows the greens. You have great leagues. A great number of events. You’re the golf outing capital of your area.
There are so many ways that you can differentiate yourself. You just have to remember that you can’t be everything to all golfers.
Once you have determined your USP. Remember, mine was FUN! You have to OWN IT.
Use your Unique Selling Point as the cornerstone for all of your ideas. This is where I had a major turning point and it helped me have laser focus on my marketing.
I might have 100’s of ideas, but if they didn’t equate to my USP (read it didn’t seem like FUN!) then I simply chucked the idea, however good it was, because it didn’t go with my overall brand. I cannot begin to tell you how liberating this new philosophy was to my business.
Perform for Your Unique Selling Point
You have to grab onto your Unique Selling Point and then flood your golf course with it. Make your staff sing its praises. It should be so obvious what your USP is that golfers will be able to tell you without prompting.
Put on a show! Make the experience memorable and obvious to your golfer and you’ll have them eating out of your hands.
I love it when a golfer will stop me and tell me, “Man. I just love how you guys know how to have fun!” I feel like giving myself a high five. My USP is so strong that it’s obvious to everyone who enters my doors.
In my marketing efforts, I make sure to always remember to envision my perfect golfer. What does he want? What does she find funny? What are his skill sets? Does she have kids?
Ok. It’s your turn. Let’s get you to stand out in the crowd of golf courses. Stop competing only on price! You’re better than that!
Discover your USP and I promise you, it’ll change everything! Let’s get started.