Client Case Studies

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Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club | Southern Pines, NC

Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club and Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club hired Golf Business Advisors in early 2010 to develop and implement a membership program and membership sales and marketing campaign.

Pine Needles and Mid Pines are two of the preeminent golf courses in the Pinehurst area of North Carolina. These two golf resorts boast two wonderful Donald Ross masterpieces dating back to the early 1920s and have received many prestigious awards and hosted many great championships to include the U.S. Womens Open in 1996, 2001 and 2006. Neither has offered membership since their early days.

The Pine Needles Club was launched on Memorial Day Weekend in 2010. The Pine Needles Club membership opportunities include Sandhills, Corporate, Junior Executive and Social memberships for locals. In addition, the Club is also offering a variety of Non-Resident memberships to include North Carolina, National/North American, and Overseas memberships.

GBA developed a comprehensive sales and marketing plan to attract Members in this difficult economic climate. Initially, GBA conducted a thorough competitive analysis to understand pricing and benefits of the many other memberships offered in the area. GBA also conducted focus group meetings with patrons of the Pine Needles and Mid Pines course to understand their expectations of a potential membership. These two critical activities allowed GBA to recommend a Membership program that filled a niche in the market with regard to pricing and benefits. Other key strategies employed by GBA included:

  • Hiring, training and coaching of Membership Coordinator
  • Developing membership collateral and membership documents that explained the club concept, its benefits and the quality of the club experience
  • Developing a membership offering with key benefits not available at other area clubs (including 28-day-in-advance tee times and a newly renovated fitness center)
  • Distributing email blasts to the resort’s database to introduce The Pine Needles Club and advise how to learn more
  • Sending an invitation to local friends and patrons for a premier VIP reception to officially launch the club
  • Implementing partially refundable initiation fees during the first three years of membership at the club with an option for Members to pay the initiation fees over two years
  • Addressing operational issues in order to provide outstanding service and facilities to the new members while also maintaining service standards for resort guests

GBA also initiated pricing strategies to ensure early success of the club. The Club initially offered Founding Bell Memberships to the first 25 Sandhills memberships. The early adapters received significantly reduced initiation fees and an extensive amenity package of premier Founding Bell logo merchandise.

Following these initial sales, the Club featured Bell Memberships in all membership categories for those who joined the Club by July 31. Bell Memberships are named after family matriarch and LPGA and teaching legend Peggy Kirk Bell. Bell Members enjoy lower initiation fees and other joining gifts.

The Pine Needles Club received overwhelming response to their membership offerings and in August 2010, they instituted a waiting list for membership. The Pine Needles Club resumed membership sales again in December 2010. At the end of the year, over 200 Members had joined in 2010 resulting in over $1,000,000 in Initiation Fees and first year dues!