What unique insights is PGA’s “Golf for All” program supporting women’s golf based on?

By: September 28, 2023

Recently, two very serious studies have been conducted on what golf clubs and the golf industry should do so that significantly more women choose golf as a sport.

It’s worth noting that Syngenta conducted a research study with Ipsos, using social listening techniques to obtain honest insights. The findings were quite intriguing.

Here are some of the findings of this research:

  • There’s low visibility of women’s golf on social media and TV and, as a result, women feel left out. While some brand ambassadors and celebrities who endorse golf brands are visible, it’s limited and tends to reach the existing golf community, not a wider public audience.
  • What’s required is greater femininity, recognizing that women golfers and new players want different experiences to men.
  • What is effective is a lifestyle-themed approach, especially on Instagram, with posts and hashtags relating to women’s golf. There’s a community of lifestyle golfing that successfully touches women.

New research from the PGA (in cooperation with Ipsos) complements this research very well.

Girl with malformed arm, friends playing miniature golf

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) has identified a huge opportunity to grow the women’s game in the UK and Ireland.

I found these insights in this research study the most interesting and useful:

  • 4.9M – Adults who are playing either full or short-course golf
  • 16.3M – Adults who are playing any form of the game.
  • 22.4M – 40% of adults either play or consume golf media at least once a year.
  • 12.6M – Adventure Golf: the most popular form of any type of golf
  • 4.8M – Driving Range golfer
  • A typical golfer who plays on a full or short course is more likely to be a younger/middle-aged Male. This group is much more likely to be big golf fans or watch, follow, and keep up to date with the game. This group mostly plays on a full or short course at least once every 2-3 months.
  • The profile is markedly different when looking at those who do not play on a full/short course and excluding those with only media interest. A golfer (excl. full/short golf) is just as likely to be female as male and is somewhat more balanced.
  • Off-course golfers do not feel like they are real golfers.
  • Less frequent players are less likely to play golf to relax and for mental health benefits, showing the eclectic mix of why people love the game.
R&A Golf for All adventure golf
  • 47% – of ‘all those who play golf’ have paid to play some form of golf (inc. lessons) in the last three months.
  • Perception is important to grow the game and encourage more people to see themselves as a golfer.
  • Those who consider themselves golfers are much more likely to spend on playing golf and equipment.
  • Occasional and infrequent golfers are likelier to not change their spending habits on golf-related purchases in the next 12 months.
  • By helping the wider golfing audience realize the many benefits of playing golf, not just to health but as a source of fun and entertainment.

Commenting on the results of the research, PGA Chief Executive Robert Maxfield said:

“We can see that there is huge scope for the game to welcome the huge population of females who are already engaged in golf but don’t perhaps already consider themselves as ‘golfers’.

In turn, the industry will be able to modernise its perception and diversify its user base, providing an opportunity which is truly exciting and should be embraced.”

R&A Golf for All Toptracer powered driving range

My comments

The transformation should start on the golf club level by understanding what can make a golf club and the sport attractive.

What are the obstacles that hinder women from picking up golf and turning golf club life into their everyday life and lifestyle?

Let’s not forget that resistance might happen. You can minimize it by open communication. Communication builds trust if done transparently. Understand that most resistance towards change is the fear of the unknown and a loss of security.

Your golf club’s culture will have a huge impact on the success of the change management. We should adopt it to support change.

Ensure everyone agrees about the case for the change and the particulars for implementing it!