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Best way to build membership in a trap club

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by copper, Apr 18, 2010.

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  1. copper

    copper Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    I think someone mentoring new members would be a big plus. There are always a few people with exsperience that like teaching the sport. If given real exspectation at start would not drop out so fast, a lot of people join and see people they don,t realize who have done it for years and get discouraged by there scores. Clubs need new shooters coming up to keep going.
  2. GW22

    GW22 Active Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    Your thoughts are right-on, Copper. Making the early part of the experience for young people friendly and positive, like Sporting Clays has done, is crucial. Here are a few other thoughts:

    Thoughtfully formulate the club rules, including etiquette, and post them prominently in the clubhouse and out on the range where everybody can see them. Then politely but firmly enforce them. Rules regarding alcohol are particularly important.

    Discount the rates for juniors.

    Try to start a juniors league or school program.

    Have a couple decent rental guns in case people don't own a shotgun or theirs isn't appropriate for trap. When I see a kid trying to start trap with a 20" barrel .410, I know he's going to have a rough start.

    Give 1st-Time 25, 50, 75, & 100 straight patches for FREE. Maybe an automatic trophy or shooting shirt for 100 straight. And do some "shoot your hat" type stuff. Kids love having something tangible to show-off their achievements.

    And, if you've read many of my posts you know that I think THE MOST IMPORTANT THING a club can do to increase membership is to keep the angry old Club Geezers under control or force them out. It's tough because nothing is more valuable to a club than the old guys who teach, mentor and encourage, yet nothing is more of a cancer than the ones who turn nasty and treat new shooters badly. The problem is that some of these angry crybabies are still decent shooters, they've known management for years (or are part of it), they still spend quite a bit of money, and they are often boisterous loudmouth types -- all of which makes club managers a little reluctant to speak up and control them. But that's exactly why they are such a dangerous cancer to the sport and have destroyed so many good clubs. You absolutely must keep these hateful trouble-maker types out of your club in order to be successful over the long haul.

    For a club to be successful and grow, the atmosphere must be welcoming and FRIENDLY, FRIENDLY, FRIENDLY.

  3. Spanky

    Spanky Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    You and also work on keep target prices as low as possible so shooters will return. I realize a gun club is a business to some degree but have seen what some of you guys have as target prices per (round) and it seems a bit out of line. There has to be a big buying power advantage to buying alot of targets at ordering time.
  4. midalake

    midalake Banned User Banned

    Jan 29, 1998
    Service, service, service.............stick to your open times, and run it like a business.

  5. primed

    primed Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    My first trap experience was at a small club where everyone had a key and could just go in and shoot when they wanted. My "friend" took me there and we shot a couple of rounds with magnum loads, or at lesast I did at his direction. Didn't try it again for 15 years.

    My next experience was with a class offered through the community education department at the local school district. A great class and I joined the club and started league shooting that summer.

    After three years of league shooting, I wanted to try registered but had a hell of a time getting information about it. Most of the league shooters at the club did not shoot registered and did not know much about it. I knew only one thing; I was paying $22.00 per 100 league targets and registered birds were $15.00 to 16.00 per hundred. I simply wanted to shoot alot and save where I could. That was my initial motivation. I've come to enjoy the sport for many reasons over the years, mostly for the characters I've met along the way.

    Personally, I feel that more emphasis should be placed on attracting league shooters to registered shooting. They have a demonstrated interest, some equipment and are usually in a financial position to shoot for fun. To attract them, I think every club should post a list of volunteer mentors to guide the beginners in the process of becoming registered shooters. I think such an approach would pay much larger dividends than all of the money we spend on youth programs. I have urged my state association to split the recruiting funds 50/50 between youth and league shooters. It falls on deaf ears for the most part. They did have a program to pay half of ATA first year membership for a while but I don't even know if that still exists.

    Another factor is a marketing plan that includes advertising, hosting events targeted a certain groups like the NRA Women on Target program or youth days or business events with training for new shooters, and keeping prices reasonable. Some clubs lose members and raise the price to make up the difference, then lose some more members and have to raise the price again just to keep the doors open. Others keep the prices low to attract the shooters from the clubs that charge too much. The clubs that market well out perform the clubs that don't market every time but I see many clubs with no marketing plan whatsoever. Develope a friendly relationship with your local newspaper and they will provide free positive press for your club. A good, warm, and welcoming website is also a big plus. It will help shooters find you that never knew you existed if you use keywords that Google favors. And websites and website design are pretty cheap these days. I've been to a few clubs where everyone just stares at you when you walk in. Makes you just want to walk out.

    Sorry for rambling on.

  6. Dr.Longshot

    Dr.Longshot Banned Banned

    Jan 29, 1998
    A gun club is a very good place to sell Trap Guns & Sporting Clays Guns, and most of all components at a reasonable price, Powder, Wads, Primers is a very good start. You have the location, customers, why not make the best of both worlds? And a FRIENDLY atmosphere, after registered shooting shoot some games, like a miss and out 2 misses and you are out. I think components for trophies are welcome by new shooters, so they can shoot more, and more often.

    Joyful greetings to all shooters,and do say something to the grouches and those that say bad things such as their in-abilities. These are acquired and need encouragement when they do good.

    But when shooting miss and outs stay close to the trap field, suggest 1st shot from POST 3 16 yds move over a post and go back 3 yards, then move over a post and go back another 3 yards, then go to post 1 and shoot 25 yardsthen move back to the 27 and shot another shot. Then move about 5 yards to left of post 1
    and at 27 yard distance, then move to 5 yards to the right of post 5 at 27 yard distance, Charge $5.00 to enter, w/buy back as an option, and split the money to the last 2 standing shooters.

    At the Missouri Fall Handicap Bob Shultz would have a miss and out after the Saturday singles. After the dinner furnished by the club. Shooters could bring a covered dish, club would furnish paper plates and plastic spoons and forks.
    A soda machine would be a nice addition, shooters could buy a soft drink.

    Celebrate shooters birthdays w/ a cake.

    I remember when you had your hat shot after it being tossed in the air for a win.

    We had good times in the 70s, why can't we have them now?

    Just a few ideas of my own.

    Gary Bryant
  7. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Nashville Tn
    Getting rid of the "good old boys" that run a club into the ground to suit their own selfish agenda (with club members' money) has been a scourge in my area. This has caused me, after 52 years, to virtually stop shooting clay targets near my home.

    I have seen membership at such a nearby club plummet from perhaps 600 to under 200.
  8. gunner x

    gunner x TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    How to increase membership at a Trap,Skeet or Sporting Clays club?

    This is simple if you follow a couple guide lines. I'll offer these to get you
    started, it easy, but for some of you its much to contrary to accept and because
    of you attitudes your little club will soon vanish and you will blame it on the
    economy. For those open minded Club managers, Volunteers,and club Bull Dogs,
    listen now and heed this advice.

    1. When a shooter enters the front door,----------Say "Hello" Why? Because it
    is proper and cordial and a facet of good business, train your pack of
    volunteers to do like wise. Hello, Good Morning, Howdy, gee, greet the

    2. Encourage customers to take a tour of the grounds, I know its just a two
    trap club, doesn't matter, walk him/her/them on a tour, show em the traps
    explain the saftey factors that must be complied with at your club.

    3. Have plamphets printed with club information, dates, hours, times, prices,
    phone numbers, instruction classes all pertinent information.

    4. You must learn how to set targets correctly, its not just speed and
    distance and height. Propery set, both Singles and Doubles, consistent from
    trap to trap, day to day, according to the ATA rule book will produce more
    dividends, with repeat happy customers. (PROFIT$$$$SUCCESS--get it!)

    5. These are my Five steps to operating a successful Gun Club. So simple. I
    could detail a hundred additional membership attractors. Oh yes, this is
    number five and a word to the wise, The person, entering the front door,
    is not a OBJECT, these human beings, alive and flowing, yes you may not
    like how they look, and someday you may have to remove them from your club
    but for now, they are customers and may become your best friend in time
    if you are a friend to them.

    I bid you peace,

  9. phirel

    phirel TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Throw good targets, have a few registered shoots, be friendly and make sure the people helping new shooters do not need more help than the new shooters.

    Pat Ireland
  10. ysr_racer

    ysr_racer Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    >> This is simple if you follow a couple guide lines...

    Yep, what he said.

    We've got to be nicer to new/first time shooters.

    And and when I say "we", I don't just mean the people that work at the range, I MEAN YOU AND I.
  11. copper

    copper Member

    Oct 19, 2007
    The last club I joined had the rude old guy I met off the bat after his normal greating to new comers when I saw him I would turn my back and talk to other members, And we had the guy that would act like range was his personal property. And then one year we had a small bunch 4 guys that spent more money in two years than the first 15 years for there own good. All these guys took a toll guys left because of them. Some people will not tough it out they take a day to shoot if they have a bad exsperience they are done. That is why if someone started new comers told them they had as much right as anyone and someone they could ask questions of instead of feeling like and outside they would give it more of a chance.
  12. washandwear

    washandwear Member

    Jan 29, 1998

    A club I belong to holds new member orientation reviewing the rules, safety, and facilities. A nice touch is a list of mentors who have volunteered to give a member help when called for each venue - pistol, rifle, archery, skeet, 5 stand and trap.


  13. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    Prairie State
    Our club has an "open" membership policy, but no longer is our goal to build a body count... its to attract a quality membership who support the club with their volunuteersim as well as their dollars.

    As a public range, folks who shoot, who don't want to work, can shoot as a non-member and pay the higher fees. Want a shooting discount and all the other benefits that come with membership - pitch in...

    Everyone who visits more than a couple times, is encouraged to considered membership... there are responsibilities to being a member - are the benefits you offer, enough to attract the type of members you want?!


  14. dhip

    dhip Active Member

    Nov 14, 2009
    I'm a new shooter,forgive me if my perspective is different or offends anyone.The best way to increase membership anywhere is to be active,and let people know about it.Just like a pastor said one day at church,the church is the people,not the building.Ig you aren't asking,or telling new folks about it,they won't come.Just like myself,the fella that asked me to try shooting had asked me once.I didn't respond to it. However several months later he asked me again.To be cordual and since I felt he and I were becoming somewhat friends,I acceppted.Took my old stevens pump with me,explaining I never could hit artificial targets but was heck on rabbits and Pheasants 25 yrs ago.He patiently worked with me on the pracice trap,and I hit a few.Then another fellow as we were talking asked me if I'd like to mount his gun.Being similiar in stature to me,I accepted.Big mistake, a week later I bought s similiar gun,then a reloader. My point is,as they have on the wall in the club house where I shoot..... Be a friend to gain a friend,, So be friends with someone first,invite them,work with them,,,It works,,,,It got me....

    Doug H.
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