Golf and women (2/3) - Why do some women play golf?
We have interviewed fifty female golfers to gather these answers. The women are from different backgrounds and different ages.
We’ve asked these women the same three questions that we asked the millennial interviewees:
- why did you start playing golf?
- why do you play and keep playing golf?
- why did you stop playing? (sadly, more than 3/4 of our respondents have stopped playing)
Once again, the insights are really interesting and most of the time pretty different from millennials.
Ready? Let’s go!
1/ "Why did you start playing golf?"
Do you want to take a guess? For millennials, the answer was family. For women, the major answer is... family. The female players who had been playing for a long time and started at a young age were often influenced by their fathers. Uncles were also often pointed out as common primary teachers.
The women who had been introduced to the game later in life were often influenced by friends. As seen with the millennials, the best time to start playing is when the golfer is a teenager and is recommended by a friend to start playing.
Partners and children are the introducers when female players are adults. Women whose partners play golf start playing to spend more time with them. Women whose children play golf start playing for the same reason.
The last two factors explaining why women start to play golf? It’s a cool activity and there are positive social aspects. Some women start to play because golf is a smooth activity and it’s easy to combine it with social events. Women feel the need to meet new people once children have moved away from home.
Pretty consistent, right?
Listening to all our female respondents, we have realized to what extent golf is truly a family and friends game. Without the family factor, golf would not exist today.
2/ “Why did you keep playing golf?”
Why would women keep playing when they have so many other options? What keeps them interested in the game? For millennials, the primary answer was friends and having fun outside. For women, the first answer is family, again. For women, spending time with their partner and children comes first.
The second reason why they started to play? Same as millennials: friends and having fun outside.
We realized, after interviewing the female players, how different golf is from its bad reputation. The sport is all about socializing outdoors, meeting new people, and having fun with friends. Nothing more. Business purposes or networking were not expressed once.
Other important reasons why women keep playing and staying engaged with the sport:
- The ability to improve and play better. Even if the notion of handicap and scores are perceived as boring by women, they enjoy hitting the ball well and feeling strong and confident on the green.
- Ability to play with different (and more skilled) people. No matter if your friends are better than you or even champions, you can play together and have fun. Golf is amazing for that.
- Golf has often been seen as a stress relief, particularly when the respondents had children. Walking in nature and breathing in fresh air is a great escape. Playing golf is also a fabulous opportunity to reflect and disconnect from the intensity of life.
- Golf allows women to maintain a healthy lifestyle
3/ "Why did you stop playing golf?"
As said at the beginning of this article, more than 3/4 of our respondents had, sadly, stopped playing. It’s huge, but understandable, and the main reasons are quite similar to the ones expressed by millennials in the previous blog series.
The number one reason to say goodbye to golf? What do you think?
Yes, time. Once again. Time is the number one barrier. Women don't have time to play with work and children to take care of. It’s almost impossible for them to balance their free time with the sport.
The second reason to stop playing is also the main argument why women don't play in general: golf is perceived as a "boy's club" and a male-dominated world where they don't feel welcome. At some point, women are getting tired of this discrimination and they prefer investing their time in nicer activities, where they do feel welcome, like yoga, pilates, running...
The etiquette, the elitism of golf, and the necessity to be a member to play were also often coming back as answers. Golf clubs are intimidating for women and they don't feel confident in these environments.
The fact that golf requires a commitment, lessons, and practice were also regularly mentioned. Golf is difficult and you have to play to be good. Women fear they won't be able to progress and they will remain "beginners" in the male players’ eyes.
Cost came as the last argument. Why? Because the first ones were really predominant for all of our female respondents.
Does this make sense to you? If you play golf, do you agree with that? Do you see something else to add?
In the next and final article, we will try to combine both visions and offer possible solutions.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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