The key to attracting and retaining new members? Focus on the experience and pricing structure.

Written by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE

(Image: Adobe Stock)

There are two simple reasons why individuals do not join, participate or volunteer: lack of time and cost. And these two reasons hold true for every industry.

Consider the game of golf. Every macro indicator that is measured by the industry (e.g., rounds played, number of players, equipment purchased) has experienced a decline in recent years. According to, fewer than 10 percent of players are under the age of 30. Attempts to speed up the game or change the perception of golf as an accessible, affordable game have failed to attract new players to the sport.

So how do you attract young players, and even non-players, to the game? You change the experience and the pricing structure. An 18-hole game can take four hours or more and cost up to a few hundred dollars. Topgolf, on the other hand, combines competition with entertainment. It takes less than 30 minutes to play a round at Topgolf, and it is considerably less expensive than playing at a country club or municipal course.

At Topgolf, every player needs to be a member, yet the pricing structure is flexible, affordable and includes free club rentals. The membership card keeps track of your score history, enhancing the “gaming” experience. Each time you hit the ball, a personalized microchip measures the distance and keeps score. When you are not playing, the music, food and beverages offered at each facility create a fun and entertaining experience. And experienced golfers can put their golf skills to the test with chipping and driving opportunities. The company describes its core values as follows:

  • Fun: Every guest should leave wowed by the atmosphere.
  • Innovative: We continually grow, innovate and develop our revolutionary game.
  • Quality: Topgolf is a high-quality experience. We are committed to delivering a best-in class experience.
  • Sociable: It’s where you meet friends, compete and play.

As traditional golf courses struggle to attract and retain members and players, Topgolf is making the sport more approachable, affordable and enjoyable.

Is your organization accessible, affordable and fun?

Posted on November 14, 2014