What exciting opportunities lie ahead for women’s golf in 2024?

By: March 18, 2024

Meeting Elisa Gaudet, the founder of Women’s Golf Day, at the PGA Show in 2015 was a defining moment for me. Her initiative and drive inspired me, and I joined the Women’s Golf Day team as a country ambassador almost immediately.

Through this interview, I aimed to shed light on the current state of women’s golf around the world, exploring both its remarkable accomplishments and the challenges it faces.

Women's Golf Day golf memories

How does the growing number of sportswomen affect women’s golf participation?

The increased focus on women’s professional sports and participation in sports encourages female participation and highlights the ‘She Economy’ and women’s financial influence

Whether it’s interested in Caitlin Clark, the Iowa Hawkeyes player who recently broke the women’s college basketball all-time scoring record, or Taylor Swift going to NFL games, this spotlight is making a significant difference.

We see the numbers from The R&A and USGA about on-course participation, which is on the increase, but we also know that even more women are picking up a club and engaging in golf in different ways

A recent study by The PGA in the UK revealed that while 75% of on-course golfers are male, the gender split of players off the course is almost 50-50: 47% female and 53% male.

This is important for future generations of girls playing the sport.  Representation and seeing role models is critical.

You have to see it to believe it! We want young women and girls to be exposed to sport in a fun environment, and hopefully, that love for the sport will develop into a lifelong relationship.

Women's Golf Day in Bonanza Golf Course Lusaka Zambia

Which country in the world is leading the way in women’s golf development?

A great example is Japan, whose Federation has worked closely with Women’s Golf Day to increase the number of Women’s Golf Day host venues from 2 to 139 in just 12 months.

They are committed to developing women’s golf and are reaping the rewards of their efforts.

According to the latest information from the European Golf Association, Germany has the highest number of female players in Europe and a much higher percentage of female players (36%) than the European average. 

Austria is the highest at 38%.  Interestingly emerging nations such as Latvia, Azerbaijan and Belarus are the countries enjoying the most percentage growth in adult female golfers.

Sweden comes to mind not just because of their 50/50 project but also as hosts of the Scandinavian mixed event. They have actively promoted gender equality in golf.  

In 2014, the Swedish Golf Association established some gender equality objectives to be achieved by 2020, such as increasing women’s participation in golf and increasing the number of women on boards at all levels of the sport.  

In this process, golf clubs were given the opportunity to create their own development plan to attract more women.

Women's Golf Day in Japan

The process was divided into three rounds. In the first round, the clubs received gender education developed by a professional researcher and status analysis.

In the second round, the clubs set their own goals and actions, and in the final round, they implemented their plan.

Clubs have widely taken this up, and it is positively impacting the sport.

What are the most successful grassroots programs for women in golf?

Our system “brings the horse to water.” It is up to the local facility to “make it drink”. Our role is to help locations celebrate the women and girls who are already playing golf and recruit new golfers to the game. 

We know that our format of splitting a WGD day between new and existing golfers and then joining them for the social activity works. It brings the two groups together and helps build a bond between them

Feeling like you are part of a community is essential and creates reasons for the new women to return.  We leave the teaching of golf to the professionals as each has its unique stay and format.

This enables them to evaluate the appetite of each woman and see if they are interested in social golf or getting into league play.

Women's Golf Day Asagiri Jamboree Golf Club June 4

How has women’s participation in golf club leadership changed in the last decade?

This is probably the most remarkable change that we see globally.  Women are taking the top jobs and doing them very well. 

The ongoing development programs and support they can access through organizations like the National Golf Course Owners Association in America, Canada, and Europe or the UK Golf Course Managers’ Association are awe-inspiring. 

The R&A’s Women in Leadership Program and Women in Golf Charter are playing a significant role in helping young women already working in golf to achieve their true potential and having golf courses and businesses state their intentions and activities they are doing to achieve more inclusion.  

We are proud to note that many of the Women in Golf Charter signatories have Women’s Golf Day listed as an activity they conduct as part of their commitments.

Women's Golf Day Keya Golf Club Japan

In what ways does Women’s Golf Day facilitate gender-inclusive media coverage and marketing?

I want to think that Women’s Golf Day has moved the bar when it comes to how people see golf.  WGD’s impact on social media is huge and shows what golf looks like in the 21st century. 

We also ensure that we support our registered locations with marketing tools and content that enable them to promote golf to women in their communities. A location’s content should reflect the community it serves

We are in 1,300 locations in 84 countries. The photos and locations speak for themselves in that we have events in Uganda, Nigeria, Ireland, the USA, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Poland, UAE, and many more, serving women no matter their race, religion, ethnicity, or financial status.

Our promo videos and marketing materials draw inspiration from everywhere we are active. We are very conscious of trying to include as much diversity as possible.

How can Women’s Golf Day help promote women’s achievements in golf?

We are proud to be able to use our channels to elevate women and their achievements across the world. 

Our social channels are a great place to look for inspirational women, and we even have a dedicated section in our newsletter that shines a light on women making an impact in and outside of golf. 

Women's Golf Day The Fajara Club and Golf Course, Gambia 3

We also have a digital event each year and platform that everyone is welcome to participate in and watch, WGD Palooza, which is on May 28th, 2024.  

This event kicks off the WGD celebration week and encourages engagement and learning, from Iona talking about mental health to information on golf ball technology. https://www.womensgolfday.com/wgdpalooza/

In a few areas, we have male and female engagement with our Travel Trips, WGD Palooza, and most notably, WGD CONNECT.  We recently launched this so that men and women can connect to other golfers around the corner or around the world.  

After all, we are all part of a community, and the stronger we can make that community and our relationship with one another and realize our similarities are much greater than our differences, the more we all win. 

It seems to be something we all need more than ever right now. A sense of community and nurturing relationships.      https://www.womensgolfday.com/wgd-golfers/