Golf and country clubs offered full club membership and some type of junior plan enabling those under 40 to join for less or pay later. Some clubs threw in a senior membership for those over 65. That was it.
But simple was not better. What we have learned is that membership offerings have to be tailored to a prospective member’s ability to pay and stage of life.
Today, a good membership plan begins with what is known as a young professional membership. For those in their 20’s just starting out and laden with student debt, dues are greatly reduced. Otherwise, they can’t afford to join a club and the incremental revenue is lost.
As young professionals age into their 30s and make more money, dues increase but still remain less than regular dues. And then somewhere in their 40s, as they reach their peak earning years, they move into paying regular club dues and stay there for decades.
That is going up the bell curve.
A successful membership plan also has attractive plans as members age and their ability to pay decreases. Instead of just having one plan after 65, we have implemented offerings with dues decreases at ages 65, 70, 75, and 80 as their physical ability to enjoy golf and the amenities decreases (and they are living on a fixed income), but not their desire to enjoy the club.
In fact, we think it wise that once a member reaches 80, their dues should be free. Members can’t play golf like they used to or if at all, but they still have their social life at the club and will support it through dining and participating in social activities. Everyone wins.
That is going down of the bell curve.
In reality, each club and market is different, but we hope you get the point. A bell curved type membership plan will result in more members, more fun, and more revenue.