Greathorse is an award winning golf course and country club, rated one of the 100 Top Golf Courses in 2019. The mission for this job was to rescue them from a web presence they were very unhappy with and provide an excellent and highly usable marketing responsive website platform for them to inform current membership and promote their services and club to prospective members.
Their current site was difficult for their in-house marketing team to manage and update. Greathorse had a pretty good handle on their branding so some foundational elements were in place for me which gave me license to get right into problem solving mode. They also had collected some interesting assets such as drone aerial video footage of the beautiful golf course. Functionally this website is essentially an online brochure from the outside, so my overall plan here was a landing-page centric design so outgoing marketing communications could have defined lanes for visitors to explore and learn more. Behind the scenes there are membership sign-up forms for various services and events that were more user-input driven for their existing membership. This was done out of a necessity as the software platform they use for POS and membership fees was difficult for members to use.
After some introductory meetings to get a grasp on the goals, hopes, and dreams I started with wireframes to work with this client and illustrate an understanding of what was important to them. I paired this information about observations about similar country clubs in the world and general marketing experience expertise between myself and the team at the agency.
This process went through about 3 iterations, identifying the major landing pages which would be central to the overall design and goals. The journey map and hierarchy of page elements were also worked out with a general strategy of dazzle with stunning visuals and following with strong lead generation forms.
Conversion of visitors into members, especially getting prospective members to schedule a tour where Greathorse staff could really work their sales magic was a keystone element. This country club is stunningly beautiful and it was important to really emphasize that throughout with a focus on lifestyle imagery and messaging where prospective members could see themselves (and their family) at the club. Lots of planned space for splash visuals, videos and other powerful converting media devices along with easy to understand and shallow-as-possible simple sitemap for ease of use.
After locking down the direction in wireframes, I constructed a series of high fidelity proofs. My approach with proofing is to focus on macro elements, isolate components, demonstrate states across multiple screen dimensions and mock-up on real screens to prototype fitment. I always rely on brand assets as the foundation for palette and vibe to construct UI elements.
This is small sampling here, in total there were over 60 final proof compositions of landing pages and standard pages in Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile so as to leave no question at all on the client's end about how something would look or work.
During these phases we also worked out some colors from the brand palette like the denim blue-ish looking color. The client leaned more heavily on the deep red color they mainly use to identify as their brand color. Red in marketing can be a tricky thing, emotionally and in color theory it does not always represent the calm, resort-like vibe you might expect from a country club however because it is a more deep red and not as crimson, I think it represents almost a velvet-like feel that still works well.
After a successful design reveal, I got to work on development. I had left some of the interactions up to the dev prototype to demonstrate. There are some parallax style features on this site, items on the home page slide in as you scroll down the page and calls to action zoom out in an eye grabbing effect.
The Design System and UI Kit for this site is completely custom scratch built specifically for Greathorse. A living style guide was developed behind hidden pages that were sharable for sharing to media partners when they run public events and appear in various golf related publications.
The site development was split into agile segments, tackling modular components like the headers, footers and various block elements. Then I moved on to taking on one landing page at a time, running QC in process and testing in virtual device labs for responsiveness. I worked closely with a Copywriter on this site for the content fulfillment and copydeck.
As I mentioned previously, there are members only private pages that handle some event sign ups and the team at Greathorse self-manages this website. What I did was give the marketing team at Greathorse a set of tools to use, including form builders and tutorial videos to assemble their own pages for these purposes. I believe a website needs to obviously be usable by the visitors but also highly usable for those managing it, so CMS tools get a lot of love and care as well.
This work included news feeds, social feeds, forms, images, accordions, calls to action, slideshows and more as all custom developed block packages to extend functionality on the CMS and all have their own interface that seamlessly tie into the UI kit of the CMS for a fluid editing experience.
Well, for one thing... I learned a lot about the golf world. I really knew next to nothing about golfing and luxury clubhouses and luxury hospitality. The means by which these types of businesses target potential members through marketing messaging and driving visitors to these landing pages to get conversions. It is almost that the club itself as exclusive as it is, is a sales tool. They weren't looking for someone to just drop in a credit card and get an instant membership. This was a white glove sales process, walking prospects through the property to really sell the experience. The website existing as a tool to really whet the appetite, introduce and generate leads.
The website has been successful for Greathorse. Their marketing staff has been able to self-maintain, update, publish and run impactful campaigns. As a marketing tool, I'd assisted them with various efforts like track advertisements too driving visitors to landing pages they proudly constructed on their own with little help from me or the agency. Even through their own staff turnover, they've been able to on board new employees quickly to take charge of the editing tools and capitalize on the marketing opportunities.
This site was a multiple international design award winner for me and has been featured in Golf publications as a standard for Country Club websites.