At a recent National Golf Foundation (NGF) meeting, I learned that women continue to be a disproportionate number of golfers leaving and those that are new or returning to the game.
It was noted that this problem continues to threaten golf, and that no strategies seem to be effectively addressing this problem or opportunity. And the NGF has tried as noted by this excellent manual for growing women golfers. The Executive Women's Golf Association (EWGA) also has been successful in organizing and motivating women golfers.
There is also great hope that the new Get Golf Ready player development initiative will bring and hopefully keep women golfers.
Meanwhile, what about these simple strategies that can help attract and keep women playing golf:
1. Plus up golf – add other complementary activities to a women's (and men's) golf round like golf and wine tasting, business networking, parenting tips, fashion shows, concerts, music appreciation, etc.
2. Women friendly service, service, service — make women feel like they are shopping for shoes at Nordstrom's. Make them feel special, important and relevant to your club. If they're are young moms, provide daycare. box lunches, valet parking, etc.
3. Offer golf mentors to women, whether it's a fellow accomplished women golfer and or even a considerate, "female friendly" male golfer. These mentors can welcome, encourage and support new and returning golfers and keep them in the fold. This is the basis for a just announced today EWGA program called SWING = Skillful Women Inspiring New Golfers.
4. Connect women with "female friendly" and women-experienced golf pros, and engage them in clinics and demo days specifically designed for them. Think the women learn football clinics offered by NFL teams and sponsors.
5. Be sure to team women with men and not just with women, so they can be ready to play with accomplished men or women when they become familiarized with the game.
6. Make it fun, fun, fun. Create about special short "bunny" courses (think skiing) and teach them golf games and maybe even new formats like Power Play Golf.
7. Support the LPGA, which can be the lead promotional tool for attracting women golfers, and go to tournaments and watch the broadcasts on Golf Channel, etc.
Skiing, which has inviting courses, welcomers, greeters, and special lessons and teachers, is a great model for us.
So, let's keep pushing, encouraging and engaging women (and men and juniors) so we can continue to build this great game!
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