Is Golf Canada guilty of false advertising when they offer golfers across the country their new “free” Bronze-level membership?
We’re being facetious, of course, but there is a hidden cost as Peter Kirkpatrick, Golf Canada’s Managing Director of Brand and Marketing Services, points out.
While no money changes hands, joining the new membership initiative comes with a price. That “price,” he says, is the time it takes you to sign up and make use of the array of utilities and benefits. “Just because there may not be a payment involved in becoming a Bronze member, we realize that time and attention are valuable commodities for everyone these days. We have tried to ensure that there is enough value there for golfers to make that investment,” Kirkpatrick says. Much of that value stemmed from the input of focus groups and surveys across the country over the past three years.
“Our research gave us insight into what golfers want,” says Karen Hewson, Managing Director of Membership and Heritage Services. “They want to track scores, they want meaningful experiences and more information about the game. They told us they would like to be part of the larger golf community so we created a no-cost membership to remove any barriers to that objective.”
At present, the free membership level offers golfers online game and score tracking (not to be confused with an official Golf Canada Handicap Factor® which is a benefit at the paid level), the opportunity to win rewards for playing and posting scores, online Rules of Golf education access, free subscriptions to online golf publications, and exclusive offers on event tickets and merchandise. Bronze members are also entered into some impressive contests when they sign up and each time they post a score. Currently, The Great Canadian East-West Contest offers a golf vacation for two to either Cabot Links/Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia or Banff Springs in Alberta.
The objective of Golf Canada’s Bronze membership category is to engage the millions of Canadian golfers who are not members today, to build that community for all golfers, and to encourage them to support the game. To welcome those golfers, the Bronze membership comes at no charge and offers a lot of value. Call it the “starter” membership for those who want to test the golf community experience.
For those who want all the trappings of a full-fledged Golf Canada membership, there is the Gold level. For $49.95, Gold-level members receive an official Golf Canada Handicap Factor, multiple rewards opportunities, the Golf Canada Equipment Replacement Guarantee, golf club identification labels and access to the Golf Canada Equipment Identification and Retrieval System, discounts on event tickets and merchandise, online Rules of Golf education access, as well as lifetime scoring history and even more digital utilities.
Member dues support myriad national and provincial programs such as Long-Term Player Development, multiple junior initiatives such as Golf in Schools, Team Canada, Rules of Golf, national amateur championships, handicapping and course rating, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, the Canadian Golf Foundation, and more.
No matter which level you choose, a Golf Canada membership definitely is one of golf’s best “value propositions” and will pay immediate dividends not just for you, but for the game itself.
And that’s truth in advertising.
(To become a member of Golf Canada and the Canadian golf community, visit www.golfcanada.ca and click on “Join Now.”)