How Does it Work?
Simply stated, the MGA Members Now! Program enables golfers to obtain an MGA/USGA GHIN number online with participating MGA Member Clubs.
This online program is integrated 100% with the GHIN system, so that a new member’s information will be automatically added to GHIN. No manual input at the club level is required.
Why Should MGA Member Clubs Sign Up?
It’s an easy way to acquire new members or help your existing members renew for the upcoming season. Many interested golfers contact our office and ask about membership opportunities. We refer them to your facilities, but there is no way of tracking their next steps. Did they follow up with you or did they get distracted and never connect with you and the sport? The MGA Members Now! Program will allow these new golfers to engage immediately and for you to obtain a new member without any additional work or cost.
The program will also take away hours of work at the club level. Instead of having to inactivate your entire membership in the spring and then process all new and renewals for the upcoming season, the MGA Members Now! program will automate the system. When a member signs up, their information and GHIN # status will be automatically added to the GHIN system. It will reduce the labor hours of your staff dramatically. It will also allow members to sign up even when the pro shop is closed (off hours, etc.)
What is the Cost?
There is no additional cost for the program. Each participating MGA Member Club will be able to set one fee for both new and renewal members. That policy will be in place for all participating clubs.
No credit card fees, purchasing fees or upcharges will be added to that total. Whatever fee you decide will be the amount billed to the golfer and will be credited on your next billing statement.
In addition, each club will have the opportunity to provide a summary of club benefits. That information will be displayed on screen as the individual is signing up for a new membership or renewing for the upcoming season. Within that club benefits section, you could most certainly offer some type of incentive or discount (to be provided to the member when they arrive at your facility) for any new or renewal memberships. For instance, you could offer a $5 pro shop coupon for any new member or perhaps one complimentary cart fee for a renewal.
How Do I Know I Have New Member?
The new member account will be added to the GHIN system. They will show up in your membership list as “active”. The list of new members and the amount credited to your account will be included in your next billing statement.
The designated contact at your club will also receive an email notification of any new or renewing member.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
Once a club decides to join the Members Now! Program, they need to complete the Members Now! online form and provide the MGA with the following information:
Upon completion of this form, the MGA will do the following to prepare for the activation of the program:
What is the Duration of an Individual Membership?
The GHIN membership will be valid through the end of the existing calendar year. For instance, if a golfer signs up for a GHIN number through your club on April 9, 2015, the GHIN number will remain active until December 31, 2015. This inactive date will be set in the “Automatic Inactivation Dates” section.
In order to encourage golfers to renew for the upcoming season and to provide playing opportunities for golfers looking to get involved during the fall months, the MGA will offer golfers – through the MGA Members Now! Program – a bonus sign-up time. Any golfer who signs up for a GHIN number through the MGA Members Now! Program after October 1st will not be inactivated until the following year. For example, if a golfer signs up for GHIN number online on September 15th, 2015, the GHIN number will not be inactivated until December 31, 2016.
The goal of the “bonus sign-up time” will be to reduce the number of golfers who become frustrated when they learn that they must pay full price for a GHIN # with only a few months left in the calendar year. Keeping players in the sport is our goal!
How Can I Manage Their Accounts?
The new member will be added to your system the same way you would add a new member at your facility without the manual input. You can manage all of their contact information, score posting activity, etc.
Member Clubs will also have the ability to change the fee for new members and renewals at anytime during the year. Each MGA Member Club has the ability to set their fees; the MGA is simply providing the framework and serving as a conduit for the transaction. Member Clubs simply need to contact the MGA and alert them to any fee changes for their facility.
What Will the Golfer Receive?
Upon completion of the process, the MGA will send each new member a special MGA Welcome package via email as a thank you for establishing a relationship with one of our MGA Member Clubs. This digital package is part of the MGA’s service package and our way of making them immediately feel like they are part of the Bay State golf community.
We will also include any information about your club and the contact information of your choice so that they are aware of the many additional benefits that you can offer these new golfers.
Can Existing Members Renew for the Season?
MGA Member Clubs can also allow existing members to renew their MGA/USGA GHIN number for the season via the MGA Members Now! Program. The fee for both new and renewing members will be the same and is set by the MGA Member Club.
Renewals have proven to be a helpful option, especially for members looking to renew during the off and shoulder seasons. It will also bring in revenue during those slow months and ensure that your members return once the season begins in the Northeast.
The process for renewals is simple. When a golfer logs into their My MGA Home portal via mgalinks.org, they will see a “Renew Now” option next to their club membership. They can click on the “renew now” button and process payment for the upcoming season. Once the renewal process has been completed, the member will become active in your system for the membership duration. The renewal fee will be credited to your account in the next billing cycle.
Can I still take new members and renew members at the club level?
Of course! The Members Now! program will supplement and enhance what you are already doing at the club level. You can still process new members and renewals as you have done in the past. The MGA is simply offering new and existing members yet another way to secure their membership and relationship with your club.
Are There Reasons Not to Do This?
No. Other state and regional golf associations have implemented similar programs and have reported great success in getting new golfers into the sport and reducing the number of inactive golfers in their system. It is truly a “grow the game” initiative that is proving to be effective at the grass-roots level.
The MGA is committed to assisting its Member Clubs and growing the game. This is a program aimed at accomplishing those core missions. If clubs do not choose to be a part of the program, their club will not appear in the list of “available clubs” when new golfers search for a club in their area.
It would be a missed opportunity to secure new business, increase revenues and build new membership relationships.
How Will the MGA Promote This Program?
The MGA will be utilizing all of its communication vehicles (MassGolfer magazine, e-revision blasts, web site, social media, etc.) to promote this service and to engage new golfers and those who may be thinking about not renewing for the upcoming season.
This program will be especially important in the MGA’s ongoing efforts to reach out and engage individuals who have remained inactive in the GHIN system for one to two years. That is an important group that we want to connect with and keep in the sport.
An icon and link to new and/or renewal memberships will also be placed as part of a participating MGA Member Club’s home page in the MGA Member Club Database, which is one of the most viewed sections of the MGA web site.
We feel that it’s important to get the word out and make it easier for a golfer to become engaged and a fan for life.