I believe the golf industry wants to increase female golf participation because it is the right thing to do. Equal participation rates mean that both women and men benefit from the game. However, even if the motivation to drive more women to the game isn’t benevolent, there are pragmatic reasons why the golf industry should care about female golfers…
1. More Customers
The European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA) undertook a project that examined the future of European Golf – Vision 20/20. The report suggested that the industry has been short-sighted by ignoring women. Women make up 50% of the population who are potential golfers (https://eur.pe/2I9IUuB).
Women now hold more than 50% of managerial positions and account for over 50% of college graduates. Women are financially independent and will spend money playing golf if golf welcomes them.
2. The World is Changing and Golf Should Too
If golf wants to stay relevant, it needs to change with the times. Golf is more appealing to people, including millennials, when it is diverse.
This argument is made in Sweden’s Vision 50/50 project that aims to equalize the number of men and women playing golf (www.golf.se/klubb-och-anlaggning/vision-50-50). By creating a culture that is equitable and open, not exclusive, golf has a brighter future.
Sport is seen as a force for good that benefits society. Consequently, governments have an interest in sports. Funding of sports now focuses as much on diversifying participation as high performance. Therefore, if golf’s governing bodies want to receive government funding, they must increase female participation in the game.
There is no question that golf needs women participants. What is less clear is whether women need golf. This topic will be addressed in the next issue. By understanding why golf needs women, and why women need golf, the industry can start breaking down barriers that have discouraged women from playing the game.