The health and wellness industry is seeing massive gains come out of the pandemic. And as with golf, there is a unique opportunity for clubs to position themselves as the best solution for how and where to pursue these activities.
As 2021 comes to an end, we can look back and see the tremendous growth that the game of golf has enjoyed. As clubs across the globe have seen participation numbers and memberships boom, the focus in 2022 will be to retain and even build off of that energy.
Along with golf, the health and wellness industry has also seen massive gains come out of the pandemic. And in both areas, there is a unique opportunity for clubs to position themselves as the best solution for how and where to pursue all of these activities.
Over the past year, we’ve provided information in this space that has been aimed at helping clubs build health programs that can revolutionize what’s offered to their members. At the end of the day, your club should be striving to create a second-to-none experience for your members and their guests.
In the January issue, we brought to your attention to what a golf performance center is and how to maximize the use of the space. Not only is it a great place for high-level golf learning, it can be a place where members also receive high-level instruction and collaboration from fitness instructors. If you are going to make this kind of a financial investment at your club, consider how multiple departments can utilize the space and technology to maximize the experience. Allow members to feel like they have a team of people who are committed to their success.
In February, we explored the right type of gym equipment upgrades that can really help your members achieve their goals. Many clubs have lost members because they haven’t upgraded their equipment in 10 or even 20 years. There are many pieces of equipment that can be used that will directly improve how they swing the golf club, as well as make them much stronger or flexible. Having equipment that your golf instructors can also use during a lesson adds to the overall experience.
In March, we explored the types of programs a club can offer to create a unique, value-added culture. Many clubs will talk about culture and how to create it, but they often overlook how to integrate their different departments to create a holistic and inclusive environment. Any club that has provided stretch therapists or massage therapists during larger club tournaments knows the impact it can have on the membership. The goal is to find ways to create and incorporate that kind of synergy throughout the club on a daily basis.
In April and May, we started to get into the weeds a little, exploring what physical assessments of members can look like and how to understand what all these numbers mean. The “Cliff Notes” version is to take the time to build out a system that will then create efficiency in the way you work with members and track their results over time. You want to be able to quickly digest the numbers and make decisions based on the trends you are seeing.
In June, we took another deep dive, to try to provide some education around how our bodies move and how we can use that information to help train clients to hit the golf ball farther. Since the summer, a few new technologies have already come to market that provide great insight into biomechanics, such as Uplift AI and Sportsbox AI. This technology makes it very simple to see how the body is moving. or not moving, in the golf swing. Once those areas are identified, working with a fitness professional to improve those areas will change how the player’s body moves and feels. The end result may not always be greater distance, but at the very least you will be helping members play healthier and longer.
In July and September, we took a moment to reflect on the current challenges coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic—specifically, how facilities are now being forced to operate to keep members feeling safe and confident, and the major hurdle most clubs still face in hiring employees. The key takeaway from these articles is that it is time for clubs to start thinking outside of the box on what type of culture they want and how it can be created, and then using that as a guide for hiring new employees and creating new programs.
In October and November, we focused on how to engage and provide programming for both older and younger members. To sustain success in the coming years, it will be critical for each club to appeal to all segments of its membership. And this doesn’t have to require separate approaches. Clubs are doing small tournaments that pair older members with youth members, and are really making them fun outings.
What a great way to continue growing the game, while also providing a chance for older members to take some of the children under their wings to teach and mentor them. You can also do the same in fitness—allow some of the more mature members to teach some of the younger members different movements or proper eating, or what recovery techniques they have found helpful. I consider this all part of building a community.
The opportunities that are in front of clubs today remind me of the changes that have been seen in professional sports. In the 1990s, pro teams had little to help their players get strong and stay healthy. You might only find an athletic trainer, and then maybe a strength-and-conditioning coach.
Today, however, you find that teams’ staffs are full of practitioners to help take care of their players, including physical therapy, strength and conditioning, movement specialists, mental-health professionals, sleep professionals and full-on kitchen staff. It feels like we are on that same path in the club business for how we can now provide service to our members. In a few years’ time, I can see clubs offering a variety of professionals to teach and work with members in all aspects of health and wellness.
Let 2022 be the year that your club starts to make the changes to be part of this new wave of creating a unique culture and providing a world-class experience.
Keke Lyles is recognized as a leader in human performance, with experience with professional athletes and Navy Special Warfare operators.