England Golf is helping clubs to attract more women to play the sport and to become club members - by producing a range of factsheets, supported by the findings from focus group research, golf clubs and other relevant insight.
Women account for only 15 per cent of golf club members in England and, on average, there are 50 vacancies for women per club. In major European countries women account for around 30 per cent of golf club members.
Lauren Spray, the Women and Girls’ Participation Manager for England Golf, commented: “Women offer the largest growth area in golf, with 63% of clubs targeting them for membership. We’ve produced these factsheets to offer suggestions and recommendations based on the latest research and learnings from clubs which are having success. Clubs which want to grow their women’s membership can pick and mix from a wide range of ideas.”
The factsheets cover key areas including recruitment, retention, playing opportunities, membership, websites and social media, club environment and volunteers. Guidance on marketing and communication will be available shortly.
The key messages are underlined by focus group research carried out for England Golf by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. This showed that:
• Women prefer to learn golf in a group where everyone is new to the game. They feel uncomfortable making their first attempts in the presence of people who are already competent.
• The social side of golf is very important to women. Introductory sessions should include time for a chat over coffee or a glass of wine.
• Taster sessions should highlight the fun side of the game.
• Equipment should be available so women can try the game and without spending much money.
• It’s vital to challenge the view that golf clubs are not welcoming. Many women and young people are staying away from golf because of the misconception that clubs are elitist
• Flexibility is all-important, whether it’s flexible membership packages or flexible ways of playing the game which take advantage of shorter formats.
The factsheets are just one of England Golf’s initiatives to attract more women and girls into golf and a pilot scheme is to be launched shortly to target women in selected counties. In addition, a Women and Girls’ Advisory Group has been set up to create a forum for discussion and to provide feedback.
Increasing the number of regular players and club members are two of the seven key themes of the England Golf Strategic Plan 2014-17, Raising Our Game. The strategy calls on all who care about the sport to work together to create a brighter future for golf.
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