Columnist News 9th Mar, 2018 by ukclubgolfer.co.uk
The R&A says a growth opportunity exists for women and girls – but things need to change…
Women are the No.1 consumers in the UK and, from my experience, they also tend to be in charge of the recreational budget in the household when it comes to their families. As a result, this demographic is highly influential in growing the game of golf – so how do we get more women picking up a golf club?
We always hear the same arguments like golf is masculine, it takes too much time and isn’t cool. But first thing’s first, we need to ask: what do women want? Here are my five steps to get more women playing.
Dispelling stigmas – Golf isn’t just for men. It’s a sport that doesn’t require extreme amounts of strength but more precision and finesse. In a sense, it’s more suited to the female body – but that’s something that is rarely spoken about. Then, there are dress codes, which has been an issue right from when I first started playing. If you’re trying to appeal to mums and young women, the formal look doesn’t work. They need to be relaxed. Golf is a sport, so why shouldn’t we be encouraged to look athletic? Clubs need to have a friendlier environment. If more women can be encouraged just to visit clubs, even if it’s just from a social aspect to begin with, they’re far more likely from there to take up the sport.
Beginner tee times – We need clubs to start providing shorter course green fees – eg. for six holes – and provide tee times for families and beginners. I take my friends to the range and they love it – but when I ask if they want to go to the course and they say, ‘No, no, no’. They feel pressure and think they’re hacking it about and holding people up. Having a couple of tee times blocked off behind to ensure there’s no time pressure is huge and needs to be implemented more.
BETTER Social media strategies – Golf clubs’ use of social media drives me bonkers. They may offer ladies lessons and junior coaching but I don’t know a club that promotes itself well. Most mums are on Facebook. Most young females are on Instagram. If you’re trying to target those markets, you need to promote on those platforms. Simply sticking it on the club website, it just doesn’t work.
Promoting health benefits – A lot of women don’t realise the health benefits of golf. They don’t realise how many calories it burns; there was a study that has proven that golf reduces the chances of dementia and certain types of cancer. Golf is ageless. You can play it for the rest of your life and that’s something I feel people don’t talk about enough.
Making it fun! – The main reason people play sport is the enjoyment they get from it. Creating a social atmosphere with a non-competitive environment is key. It is about the quality of time spent playing golf, not the quality of golf itself. Golf is too rigid with its rules. If you want to kick it out of the rough, do it. If you want to place it on the fairway, do it. You’re not playing competitively. You’re not on tour. Getting rid of these little rules is something that, for beginners, can make it so much more fun.