This is another “real life” example of insights accelerating sales; however, it was somewhat indirect.

This is the third gated golf community for which I worked, but the first for which I did any formal qualitative research.

By having in-depth one-on-one interviews with the members, I was able to really get a feel for their emotional attachment to the club that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get with online surveys or telephone interviews.

This client was the only private golf course in the greater Myrtle Beach-area — a golf Mecca.

The members were concerned over the lack of membership growth, whether or not the clubhouse dining and recreational facilities needed to be expanded and whether or not the golf course needed renovations.

I conducted in-depth one-on-one interviews with 20 club members lasting from 45 to 60 minutes to determine:

  1. Brand perceptions;
  2. Drivers of brand selection;
  3. Trends and attitudes regarding golf and club membership;
  4. Brand differentiators, strategies and positioning; and,
  5. Unsatisfied needs and potential areas for improvement.

These interviews revealed that respondents loved the club and the club pro “as is.”

They wanted the club to remain just a golf club with no additional amenities.

They did not feel the club had any competition even though there were numerous other golf courses in the area.

They felt the design of the golf course was the strongest value proposition of the club and opinions about the future of food and beverage service were mixed.

Since this research was conducted with resident members, I recommended conducting the same research with non-resident members and sharing key findings with all members.

I provided an integrated marketing communications and ultimately recommended “staying the course” until more could be learned.

Ultimately the club was sold to McConnell Golf with the members retaining their membership rights to this club and a consortium of six other private clubs in North and South Carolina.

McConnell Golf is interested in golf-only clubs, and the research indicated that this is what this club wanted to remain.




Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional