Reading through our study, The Right Invitation, it is clear that the golf industry must address numerous issues in order to successfully attract women to the sport and keep them involved. They are so numerous that it is very easy to become bogged down in the details and have a difficult time figuring out where the industry needs to start.
However, taking a step back and considering the entirety of the task, the concept that should jump out is that women want choices, both for themselves and for their families. This concept applies everywhere at a golf facility whether it is in the pro shop, on the course or in the clubhouse.
So let’s talk about the three most important choices women voiced in our study:
From a basic, overall perspective, women want the industry to provide choices that help them deal with time, costs and playing partners.
These three “choice” roadblocks can be overcome quite easily:
1. Time: The Choice here is to play! (It’s either that, or not playing golf at all.)
- Provide childcare at reasonable cost! This gets around a major lack of time issue. And why not? Ski areas have been offering childcare for years!
2. Costs: The Choice here is paying reduced rates! (or paying top rates)
- Offer the choice of reduced rates in the after school time frame when the course is typically not very crowded.
- At Province Lake Golf Club, for example, after 4pm, as a package deal per foursome, parents paid $1.00 per hole and their children and/or friends played for free. These foursomes could play as many holes as they wanted, although we encouraged them to play at least 6 holes.
3. Playing Partners: The choice here is finding compatible women with whom to play! (or trying to fit in with established players who may or may not be receptive)
- This too can be solved over time. Owners can attract more female players in a non-threatening, fun way by starting a women only, purely social, mini league at noon or early afternoon. (As previously noted, the social aspect is particularly important and appealing to women). Market it with phrases like “Give yourself the afternoon off! Let us take care of your children, while you learn something new, meet other adventurous women and exercise outdoors in beautiful surroundings.”
- We did not try this at Province Lake, but wish we had. Other courses have used similar approaches with great success.