Families in golf will increase junior and female participation
Targeting to female conusmer is targeting the decision maker of the household
Investing in juniors is investing in the future of golf
Why do the majority of golf facilities predominately focus on the development and retention of male members? Why is the female and family market often ignored or neglected when females now represent 50% of the workforce and generally the gatekeepers to a families budget and leisure expenditures?
So how do we put all this theory into practice? Below we have suggested a number of tools and models to engage the female , family and youth markets.
So what can we do with all this research? What examples can I learn from and what can I do to make golf a more fun, attractive and enjoyable experience at my facility?
Why Female & Family?

Why should we focus on attracting families and particularly females to the game?

The Trend
The traditional family picture is up for renewal. In Big European cities, half the population lives in a single household configuration. Single parent household are making up a significant portion of society and the traditional family is not the only model to go by.
But families have not disappeared, it is their dynamics that have changed. It becomes increasingly clear that the focus should be on women, who are the real head of the family, responsible for the vast majority of all family expenditures, ranging from daily groceries to major purchases. Female consumers control the private budget and are the gatekeepers to focus on.


The gatekeepers to the family

Purchasing Power

“The word INFLUENCE may sound soft, but make no mistake, it’s important. It means that when a woman and her spouse make a purchase jointly, as with a new car or home, the woman is the primary influencer.

If she doesn’t approve of something, her husband (or her kids) probably won’t get it. It works the other way around, too—if a woman wants something, she’ll often find a way to persuade her husband or other family members to get it. This combination of purchasing power and influence is the reason women dominate the consumer economy.”

Bridget Brennan | Author, “Why she Buys” (ibid)

Women account for

Grocery purchases

Healthcare purchases

Personal computer purchases

New car purchases

Source: Marketing to women conference (Golf 2.0)
The BIG opportunity & Challenge

“Our world is changing. Women now have more influence than at any other time in our history, and these shifting demographics are having a profound effect on our culture, our society, and the economy. Their increasing power as an emerging market represents an industry-changing opportunity.”


“By their own report, a majority of women feel that those companies speaking to them don’t understand their needs and their desires. Great opportunities exist for golf facilities that are willing to listen to the needs of these consumers, tailor communications to them, and create opportunities specifically for them.”


Managerial Positions

Women now represent half of the workforce and are gaining responsibility in senior leadership positions – Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Graduates

Women now represent the majority of graduates receiving bachelor’s degrees – Source – National Association of Colleges & Employers

Household Income

In dual-earning couples, women contributed an average of 44% of family income. Source – Time Magazine

“Based on consumer feedback, we found that clubs’ ‘stuffiness’ and overbearing rules were barriers to some visiting. Having strict rules on attire meant families and the like were going elsewhere for lunches, drinks and dinner. Our new dress code has allowed a family to come and enjoy the facilities without having to worry about what they wear.”

Troon Golf


Leading industry research highlighting the value of the female consumer

VISION 2020 Questioner

In the VISION 2020 questioner we asked golf course owners and managers what market they see the greatest potential in, the response was an overwhelming 73% in favour of the female market.

The strong responsibility feeling for the family and strong social need of woman need to be used in order to increase female and junior participation. Golf facilities will have to adapt to the female needs and wants and give them a platform where the can build and spend time with their community. Female influence is increasing, females are the decision makers in the household. Females as an emerging market is forming an opportunity for golf.
Why? - youth golfers

Why should we focus on attracting families and particularly females to the game?

Why do young people play sports & what are they looking for? Does golf tick all the boxes? This Infographic below is taken from an excellent recent research by Syngenta on Youth Participation.

How? Family & Female

So how do we take all this theory and put it into practice in attracting more females and families to our golf facilities?

Syngenta - Growing Golf in the UK
While some of the findings may not come as a surprise, a number of key themes emerged that are important and relevant to clubs and courses. Specifically, customers talked about their desire for relaxed, family-friendly facilities. They also wanted greater flexibility both in terms of membership options and less formal dress codes, and the freedom to do things such as use a smartphone in the clubhouse and on the course.

The research also highlighted the huge opportunities around female and youth participation and the importance of access to affordable coaching for new players.

The social side of golf is a HUGE factor for women
67% of female golfers plays only with friends and family
48% of non-golfers said they would be encouraged to play if with friends and family
47% of female non-golfers would be encouraged to try golf if more friends or family played
29% of lapsed golfers cited family responsibilities as the main reason for leaving golf

''By attracting families to the facilities a lot of new players will be entering the game. Three generations of players can be attracted by the social structure of the family. Junior, female and senior participation will increase. Customer research clearly shows the opportunities to retain current customers and attract (potential) customers to the facility ”

Syngenta 2013
Golf 2.0

The current golf facility business model does clearly not fulfil the woman desires. This creates barriers for woman to engage in the game of golf which is a huge missed change for the industry. By finding these barriers and ad women’s value, the golf facility can become a place to be for women.

Women are busy with work, family, household, etc. This gives them almost no time to take care of themselves and find a moment to relax. When they find this ‘me’ time they want to take the most out of it. This means they want to have quality time with friends and family.

Women are social animals, they have a strong focus on the personal connection while communicating. They see building relationships as a strong point of success. (text and image on the right sourced from Golf 2.0)

Lets understand the core values of women

(text and image sourced from Golf 2.0)

It is easy to recognise that consumers purchase what they value, as some say, we speak  with our wallets. Selling a product or service rests on the ability to understand the customer’s needs and values, while presenting them with the product or service that BEST ALIGNS WITH THESE VALUE.

The current landscape of the golf industry has created barriers for women who want to participate in the game. These barriers are created by misaligning the facility experience and program with what women actually value. While these barriers exist, making the right adjustments can turn those barriers into opportunities.

By aligning your facility with what women value, you will have the opportunity to leverage these opportunities for success. These changes will not negatively impact your male customers and in most cases will provide benefits for them as well.

Syngenta - Growing Golf in the UK

Potential Female Golfers – What would encourage you to give golf a try?

The results clearly highlights women’s preference to play with friends and family, an important factor for clubs to understand. Among existing golfers, 67% said they prefer to play with family and friends. Among the non-golfing females, 47% said they would be encouraged to give golf a try if more of their friends and family participated. Feedback from the research, as well as anecdotal evidence, suggests the social aspect to golf is important to women.

Read more

Enjoying a coffee with friends, participating in group coaching with other women and being taught by a female professional were all cited as preferable. The importance of access to affordable coaching for new players is also evident in the responses. However, it’s important for clubs to think about the whole customer experience.

Up to 59% of existing female golfers said they sometimes feel intimidated by other club members and staff. Inviting new female customers to a sample session may be counterproductive if they are not made welcome in the club house. Interestingly, nearly half of all women golfers (48%) said their children play golf (compared to 37% of men), indicating a potentially important role for females in the nurturing of young players.

Easy access to affordable golf lessons
Beginner only mornings
Get golf ready in 5 lessons
Introduction to golf lessons – group lessons
How? Young Golfers

So how do we take all this theory and put it into practice in attracting more young golfers to our golf facilities?


In order to successfully market golf as a fun and enjoyable game to the younger generations we need to first understand their current perception of the game. Below an excellent info graphic from Syngenta.

Source: Syngenta – The Opportunity to  Grow Golf: Youth  Participation (2014)

So what can golf do to attract new young players into the sport? Specifically, what can clubs and courses do to develop a future pipeline of players while maintaining their existing core customers?

Source: Syngenta – The Opportunity to  Grow Golf: Youth  Participation (2014)

''Ability Tees – If we remove the ‘Gender’ out of the teeing system not only will golfers have more fun they will move around the course quicker and have more time to spend in the bar. The sexual orientation of tee markers is not only antiquated it is preventing courses from increasing revenues. If a senior male or beginning child or woman wishes to play from the forward tee box then let them, but at present the senior gent or beginning gent will not because the machismo effect kicks in and they refuse to play off the ‘Ladies tees’.

Matt Foley Sales Director PowerTee


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