This is the first in our two part series “Attracting New Members to Your Trap Club”.
I have to admit something. Having shot registered targets for 20 years now (21 years of shooting in total), I have never actually been a member at any of the clubs I’ve shot at. Growing up, we had 12-15 clubs within a 45 minute drive of our home. And all but a few of those were within 30 minutes. There was plenty of opportunity to join a club, but it never happened. Nobody required membership as a precondition to practice, join a league, or compete in a registered shoot. In fact, I can only think of one club that actually charged higher prices to non-members.
I always asked myself the question, “why would anyone bother to join those clubs?” I’m allowed to shoot there, I don’t pay any penalties (or membership dues), and nobody will nag me to volunteer, work, or get involved in club politics.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m finding myself pondering the same question. We don’t have many places to shoot in the Washington D.C. Metro area – two public ranges and two private clubs. All 4 of the facilities have trap and skeet, while the two public ranges have sporting clays also.
The private clubs have two obvious advantages – lower target fees and a safer environment. Depending how much you shoot during the year, the membership cost may or may not offset the lower target fees.
Beyond those two I mentioned, I’m sure there are the social and professional benefits, but it hasn’t been sold to me that way. In fact, nobody has been able to make a compelling case for me to join a club. But I’m going to do it anyway. We’ll see if it is worth it, but this brings up a larger issue.
With a sport that many say is “dying”, why aren’t clubs being more creative in their efforts to attract new members? If doing things the same way as they’ve been done for 30 years is the motto, and membership/revenues/participation are declining, why not think differently? Heck, I fit the profile of the “new blood” that the old guard says our sport needs: a young professional, interested in the outdoors, and willing/able to work. There are millions of us out there and we’re waiting for somebody to sell their product to us!
In Part 2 of this series, I’ll discuss how clubs can think more like businesses to attract a variety of demographics.
Trapshooting Online.com was created in 2010 by Dean Spiridon, Jr., a web-entrepreneur and life-long trapshooter. A trapshooter since he was 10 years old – 4 time ATA All-American, 5 time PA State Team, and 3 time VA State Team – Dean recognizes the impact that trapshooting has had on his life. After years of reaping the benefits of the game, he decided it was time to give something back to the sport.