I like the proverb of Confucius who said tell people – and they may forget….show them – they may remember…involve them and they will understand. In the last couple of years, I have seen many initiatives that tried to foster women’s participation in golf:
- Golf For Her: This is dedicated to women and girls, but a very simple program. It needs some push.
- Get Golf Ready by the PGA of America: probably the most advanced golf program. 107,485 men and women participated in this program in 2015. But it is not dedicated to women.
I think all of us went through that tiresome learning process (in my case it was very technical) on the driving range before we got our HCP what we call the basics of golf. We could hardly see what will be like playing on a normal golf course, except those few instances when we were taken by our PGA Pro on his golf cart around the golf course or when we looked out from the balcony of the clubhouse.
They want a fun social golf experience. Yes, golf coaches and PGA Pros equally have to understand that they have to provide lessons not just based on the golfer’s knowledge and skills, but they also have to consider the other needs (e.g. to socialize with other people; cheerful conversations instead of preaching) of the female “want-to-be golfer”.
PGA Pros have to make the female golfer the hero of the game to succeed and keep up these women’s engagement with the game. This will not happen on the driving range that is for sure.
To activate 36.9 million latent female golfers and “want-to-be” female golfers, I think the golf industry needs a much more focused approach than the above-mentioned initiatives. Any future initiative should not only be a program of a couple of lessons, but rather a series of lessons that are building on each other. So the female golfer will not stop and get lost after the “intro lessons”.
What comes close to my ideal solution is the love.golf program (supported by Syngenta) in the UK. It is a fun social golf experience designed specifically for women. The lessons are happening in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. This could be implemented also for men. What is more interesting that the participants are learning the game in real life environment, on the golf course and not on the driving range. What a difference!
It is also promising in this program that the female golfer can get follow-on programs.
I cannot agree more with Syngenta Golf Ambassador Carin Koch, who said last year:
“While love.golf has been designed specifically with women in mind, it’s actually a great way for anyone to learn the game and it was nice to see male and female work colleagues getting out on a course and enjoying their first taste of golf…”
It seems like the knowledge and insights of love.golf is valuable for other players in the golf industry. Love.golf is cooperating now with the TGI Golf Partnership and its network of more than 450 PGA Professionals. These PGA Professionals will learn how to sell golf equipment more effectively to women.
Would you believe that women spend almost as much on golf equipment as men!?