Helpful findings of Syngenta on women’s participation

By: November 30, 2016

A couple of years ago (actually in 2013!), I have already written that the golf industry and golf clubs particularly, need to increase women’s participation to survive and to find a new source of revenue. In the very same year, came out the European Golf Course Owners Association’s Vision 20/20 and The PGA of America’s Connecting with Her Initiative.

This seems to be confirmed by the latest Syngenta report, ‘The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf‘.

14000 people participated in the Syngenta survey from 8 countries: USA, Canada, UK & Ireland (combined), Sweden, France, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Where is Germany from the list?? Syngenta was also interested in the latent demand for golf.

Here are the key findings of the Syngenta survey:

  • 24% of the golfers are women (the European average is 25%; kudos to Sweden, where women’s participation is the highest in Europe: 29%; in France: 28%). I can also see an annual 3.7% growth in the US since 2013 (19.3% –>23%).
  • 36.9 million latent female golfers!!! (non-golfer females aged 18-64 were asked) – This much more than the total number of US golfers (24.7 million was in 2014)! 29% of non-golfers and lapsed players we questioned said they would be very interested or interested in taking up golf in the next two years. The biggest latent demand was found in South Korea: 45% (France: 40%, US: 31%)
  • Women spend almost as much on golf equipment as men (men spend annually $256)
  • Women spend nearly 25% more on golf lessons.
  • Women spend  in the first year around $949.
  • The global economic value of increased female participation is $35 billion! Just in the US, the economic value is $16.49 billion. South Korea ($5.37 billion) and UK&Ireland ($3.60 billion) are also promising.
  • 7 key customer touchpoints are the locker room, golf course website/app, golf course conditions, F&B facilities, valet parking, time/flexible play options, signage (parking, clubhouse, golf course). I would suggest focusing on customer journeys instead of touchpoints. It will help you to better understand your customers and prospects.
  • TOP3 reasons why women leave golf: 1. overall costs of the game; 2. family responsibilities; 3. time it takes to play.
  • TOP3 reasons why golf clubs are not able to retain them: 1. overall cost of the game; 2. the game was not fun; 3. time it takes to play.
  • TV (62%) is still the top source of information about golf.  Friends who play golf (43%) are just the 2nd most important information touchpoint.
  • 75% would share a positive golf experience with their friends (word-of-mouth).


How to entice women to golf?

  1. Focus on women’s interest. E.g. children, health, shopping, business.
  2. Women with different background and age need different marketing strategies.
  3. Avoid preaching. Instead, try to facilitate conversations and create relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
  4. Create ‘how-to-video’ to explain better the game, the golf club, and the course.
  5. Reach her where she is already (e.g. social media).
  6. Make your clubhouse and pro-shop (e.g. put women’s equipment in visible place; the range of products should be as good as for men) more welcoming to women.

It is good to read that more and more golf organizations and marketers like Syngenta recognize and understand the importance of women’s participation. However, I feel like we are milling around in one place. Do these initiatives get sufficient support on the golf club level? Or am I missing something?