How relevant is your golf club for women?

By: April 3, 2018

The European Golf Course Owners Association held not so long time ago (22-24 March 2018) its annual conference, the EGCOA Golf Business Conference in Vienna, Austria.

I was really lucky to be there and hear from first hand, some interesting insights about the current status of women’s participation in Europe. It was a great opportunity to learn more about how the program is developing.

I was happy to hear from Alastair Spink (Head Coach, that since our last talk in July 2017:

  • they had 5 pilot projects in Sweden,
  • the program’s retention rate is 80%,
  • they have got 7 female coaches.

Female golf participation 2017 by EGCOA

Some interesting changes in female golf participation

  1. In 2017, there were almost 13,000 less female registered golfers in Europe. At the same time, the percentage of playing female golfer stagnated.
  2. The average share of registered female golfers is 25%.
  3. The share of female PGA Pros in Europe: 5.9%
  4. The Golf Club Managers Association has just created the Women’s Golf Leadership Group to achieve a more inclusive culture in golf. To the best of my knowledge female golf club managers’ share in GCMA is still around 20%.
  5. I don’t want to repeat myself, so this time I highlight an interesting European insight. There are more and more families in Europe where women earn more than 50% of the household’s income. In countries like Slovenia and Ireland, this concerned up to 40 and 30% of families respectively.

We should not think that only in the golf industry women are underrepresented in the decision-making bodies. A European Institute for Gender Equality study found in 2015 that on average, women make up 14 % of decision-making positions in the continental confederations of Olympic sports in Europe.

The very same study found that women are also underrepresented among coaches.

I highlighted all these because we rarely address probably one of the most challenging parts of growing female golf participation in our golf clubs: the need for RELEVANT and inclusive golf club services.

relevant customer experience

We are living in a world where customer experiences are competing for customers/guests. Golf clubs and PGA Pros should provide services keep the pace of fast-changing needs and interests. In short, how to stay relevant and attractive for their members and guests.

From all of this, is only one slice or segment of golf club services. Golf clubs should have more women-committed offers like

  • Amenities and facilities that are not only highly relevant to women, but also meet their expectations.
  • Programs that can help to manage their everyday life and integrate into the local community.
  • CREATE VALUE: We should learn how they spend their daily lives: how they spend their time, money and attention beyond their interactions with our services. 
  • Promote and appoint more women to managerial roles (e.g. managing director/club manager/CEO, CFO, CMO, Membership director etc.). It will show not just to female employees that your golf club is not a “men’s world”, but on female members and guests can have a very positive impact as well.

Don’t forget people are instinctively self-centered! Talk about customer needs and not personal preferences. So instead of telling your colleagues in the weekly/monthly meeting, I like this and that try to find out what “Jane/Member/Guest likes or hates in your services”.

Think about what are your female members’ desires, need, and goals!