So, what’s the solution? Is a connection between golf and women possible in the future? How can golf become a sport where women and girls are willing to play?
The previous two articles show the reasons why so many women and girls don’t play or gave up after a certain amount of time. A non-friendly and male-dominated environment, school, work, children, a negative image/reputation are all good reasons not to play.
Today, women and girls are attracted to other activities/sports that are more open, nicer, less time-consuming, where they feel skilled and welcomed. Their schedules are full of obligations and they simply don’t have the time, the energy, and/or the desire to play.
However, when we asked our group of women and girls if they would play if golf was more welcoming to them, they all said yes. Family, friends, and being outdoors are their first motivators.
So, what changes could we make at a structural and non-structural level to transform golf? What could golf clubs do better to be more appealing to women and girls? What could we do, as a brand to encourage more women and girls to play golf?
Here are some clues, broken down into two parts. Almost every idea expressed below was extracted from the interviews we made with our group of girls and women. The rest is from us :-)
Structural changes that should be made by the golf clubs:
- Golf clubs must be more welcoming, social, and accessible to women and girls. Initiatives like creating a cool atmosphere, promoting friendship and inclusivity/flexibility, being cool with the dress code, and introducing flexible rules in the clubhouse (phones and computers allowed) should be implemented
- The improvement of the gender balance on golf courses must be considered as a priority by golf clubs
- Female and family imagery must be more visible/obvious in internal and external golf club marketing and communication
- Special memberships for women and girls should be introduced (pricing/discounts on memberships, flexible memberships like a summer-only membership for instance)
- Special programs should be developed to make women and girls like golf (shorter formats of play with no pressure put on performance, adapted courses, beginner time slots, girls-only groups lessons, introductory golf lessons, women open days, family coaching sessions, or adult/child sessions)
- Affordable equipment rentals should be proposed
- Referral programs should be implemented (bring-a-friend discount for example)
- Having women working on staff at club’s and on boards/management teams
- Female lessons should be taught by female coaches
- Organizing social events for women and family (like father-daughter or friend’s tournament for example)
- Building infrastructure aside from golf like mini-golf, pitch and putt, short courses and driving ranges, play areas for kids, tennis and squash courses, yoga and pilates, well maintained changing rooms...
- Building after-golf facilities in the clubs like spa, gym, daycare, and areas for children
- Building leisure areas like a bar or a restaurant for social matters
- Building alliances and partnerships with brands like us :-)
- Introducing golf at schools. Young people need to be introduced to the game early. Implementing after-school lessons could be great for the sport
Non-structural changes that should be made by brands like us:
- Changing the perception of golf to make it accessible and inclusive by positioning it as a great sport for girls and women
- Fighting against wrong and persistent clichés: golf is a private world, expensive, elitist... We have seen that all this negativity is damaging to the sport in the previous articles
- The perception of golf that girls should have: playing golf means having fun with friends in a cool and relaxed environment. Golf is a slow pace activity that keeps you fit and healthy. No physical skills are needed and you can wear whatever you like
- The perception of golf that women should have: playing golf means meeting new people and enjoying a great social life on and off the course. Golf is for everyone and is not elitist. You can have a great time outside getting fit, staying healthy, and relieving stress. Golf is a great new challenge, but experience or special skills are not needed. More than anything, golf is a family game filled with fun
- Positioning golf as both an individual and a team sport is a must
- Finding ambassadors, influencers, and the best female golf players to tell their golf stories and inspire women and girls to join in
- Collaborate with other sports (cross-promotion) like walking, running, yoga, pilates, and fitness for example
We’ve had a lot of other feedback aside from what you’ve read above. This list is not exhaustive at all. Attracting more women in golf is a huge necessity to save the game. If people don’t get this, golf will simply disappear.
Considering all the ideas above, it should not be that complicated. Changes take time, we all know that. But with persistence, everything is possible.
All the interviews were amazing for us and if there is only one thing that you remember from these six articles, it’s that if you want to get young people interested in the game, you have to start with women.
This story has been written from my perspective, my name is Arthur, and I am the founder of Untraced. If you have any questions or comments, I invite you to get in touch with me directly: email@example.com