Golf Courses Need Golfers. 30 Year Old Organization Delivering Rounds.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Affinity Group, Inc.
Tuesday August 10, 2004
(Denver, CO.) – Lots of golf courses, all needing golfers. Plenty of open tee times and more golf courses in development. That was the scenario in 1974 and not much has changed since then with one exception. There is an organization filling up those open tee times and filling up lots of them. With an estimated 40 million rounds of golf booked by its members since its start in 1974, Golf Card International has delivered on its founding mission – more rounds of golf for members and courses.
“30 years is quite a run for any business let alone a membership club,” said Bruce Hoster, president of Golf Card International. “This is a big milestone for us.”
As part of Golf Card International’s 30th year in business, a new logo and corporate identity were unveiled. The redesigned look was one that the members had a chance to select through an online survey at the end of 2003. Golf Card International’s new logo sports a contemporary look with a graphic of a golfer.
“Now that we’ve done it, I’ve been asked why now?” said Hoster. “The name and logo update is intended to reflect the broader scope of Golf Card International. Though we remain loyal to our founding mission, we have evolved to a more sophisticated resource for golfers and golf courses and increased the number of courses in our network to over 3,800.”
While we continue to evolve our club and update our benefits, we remain loyal to the tradition that is so much a part of the game of golf,” stated Hoster. “We think our new logo reflects this more contemporary yet traditional look.”
The previous Golf Card logo was the original logo designed in 1974 by Royce Emley of West Palm Beach, Florida. The unique letter positioning and the catchy gold and black colors quickly identified the Golf Card to a national audience. That audience has since grown to international status.
Golf Card International has been saving golfers money at golf courses throughout the U.S. and Canada for 30 years. This track record, and the fact that Golf Card International has the largest network of affiliated golf courses and resorts, has established Golf Card International as the undisputed leader in golf savings.
When Golf Card members plan an outing, they now have a record number of over 3,800 golf courses and resorts to choose from, representing an increase of 300 courses and resorts for the 2004 season. The golf courses and resorts offer a variety of savings to members including free green fees at over 1,000 courses and 2 for 1 at many courses.
More than just a discount card that offers savings on green fees, Golf Card International is a membership club that entitles members to additional benefits including savings on car rentals and hotel rooms, group insurance plans, the annual
directory of courses, exclusive member tournaments, product testing and personalized customer service.
“Over 40 million rounds of golf in the last 30 years seems to be a pretty impressive number,” said Hoster. “What’s more significant is the growing number of golf courses joining the network. It tells us we must be doing something right.”
While enjoying big savings on golf, Golf Card members fill up tee times for affiliated golf courses throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Golf Card International History
In the winter of 1974, Jim Allen was in Utah trying to find a way to return to Florida and fulfill his need to play more golf. Golf was booming and his job was keeping him from playing the sport he loved. He wanted to find a way to get back to playing more golf. Allen convinced four other people to join him to put up some money and start a company that essentially produced golfers for courses. They did that by selling a card to golfers that entitled them to free rounds at a cost of $35 annually and with that Golf Card was born.
Within a few months, the group signed up 30 golf courses in Florida and needed to start marketing to the masses to deliver on its promise of golfers. They scraped some money together and managed to run an ad in an airline in-flight magazine. That ad generated a much-needed prospect in name of Joe Libin, an investor.
With Libin and his son Brad in control, Golf Card took off. The Libins were successful businessmen, profiting from ventures into real estate, reclining chairs, aluminum siding, and imported wigs.
Soon Golf Card ads were running in all major golf magazines as well as Time and other newsweeklies. By 1976, there were 4,500 paying members and 305 affiliate golf courses. The success caught the Libins off-guard. In 1976 they were still keeping track of 7,500 members on 3-by-5 index cards.
In 1978, Golf Card merged with a publicly traded corporation Joe Libin headed and essentially began trading over the counter as GCI Industries. A penny stock when it was originally offered, GCI sold as high as $3. With the additional capital raised by the stock offering, the Golf Card invested heavily in marketing, public relations and advertising.
The growth was staggering. After only 7 years, membership reached 25,000 with more than 1,300 courses in the network.
In 1983, the Stay and Play program was introduced, offering members discounted packages to play golf and stay overnight at participating resorts. Now the Golf Card not only helped courses fill tee times, it helped resorts fill rooms.
Through the ’80s the Golf Card, which was reincorporated in 1985 as Golf Card International, continued its steady climb toward 100,000 members and 2,000
courses. Jim Allen’s little golf enterprise was now a multi-million-dollar business. With the value of the company now well into the millions, the Libins accepted an offer to sell Golf Card International in 1990 to Steve Adams’ TL Enterprises, the parent company of the popular Good Sam Club.
In 1992, TL Enterprises would become a subsidiary of Affinity Group, Inc. (AGI). Under AGI’s direction, Golf Card International has expanded its course network to more than 3,800 affiliates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Membership now entitles golfers to more than free or discounted golf. Other benefits include savings on car rentals and hotel rooms, group insurance plans, the annual directory, exclusive member tournaments, product testing and personalized customer service. And the single membership price is not much higher than the $35 fee charged 30 years ago.
Anyone interested in joining Golf Card should call 1-800-321-8269 or go to www.golfcard.com.
Contact: Bruce Hoster, President, Golf Card International
(303) 728-7328 • BHoster@golfcard.com
Julie Calzone/Calzone & Associates
(337) 235-2924 ext. 3 • firstname.lastname@example.org