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Research and Insights

R&A Women, Girls & Family Participation

There is concern about participation levels in some parts of the world and golf faces increasing competition from other sports and demands on people’s leisure time. Crucially, women and girls continue to be an under-represented group in golf and there is much that needs to be done to attract more to take it up and go on to become members of clubs.

More and more women are seeking an active lifestyle which includes fun and friendship, both for themselves and their families, and have been identified as the key decision-makers in how families spend their leisure time. That must mean there is a tremendous opportunity for growth if golf can find the right way of appealing to women and more generally to families.

The R&A has commissioned this report to bring together the findings of existing academic and industry research with individual expert views from experienced members of the golf industry to help us identify and analyse the factors which affect whole family participation including women and girls.

The report details several useful practical recommendations for our affiliates to introduce in their own national development programmes and to provide to their associated golf clubs to help them encourage more women and girls to participate in golf more regularly. It also highlights the positive impact that having women involved in the decision-making process can have for developing and offering opportunities which appeal to women, girls and families. It provides actions and guidance that can lead to tangible, positive outcomes for golf and bring more women and girls into the sport.

> Download the Report

Newcomers to the Game

It is important to recognise that newcomers to the game generally don’t want to spend lots of money, they don’t want to get bogged down by lots of rules, they don’t want to feel intimated as they try and hit the ball and they don’t want to be overwhelmed with lots of golfing jargon.

A significant amount of research has taken place in recent years to help clubs better understand what those new to the game DO want from their first golfing experience and it is important to consider these needs when putting your own programme together.

The following recommendations should assist with your Club’s planning for Get into Golf activities and attracting more female participants:

  1. Let beginners try before they buy with free or low-cost taster sessions
  2. Provide equipment so that they don’t have to buy their own in the early stages
  3. Offer beginner only group sessions so that everyone feels like they are at the same level
  4. Arrange your sessions at times to suit people’s lifestyles (e.g. mornings for OAP groups; evenings for working mums)
  5. Highlight the relaxed atmosphere, where the only rules are feeling relaxed and having fun
  6. Don’t force people into membership straight away – offer options and a pathway to membership
  7. Encourage your groups to use the clubhouse facilities after each session – this could be as a simple as a coffee or a free drink built into the cost of the package
  8. Organise social events and encourage beginners to bring a friend or a family member
  9. Make sure your practice facilities are as good as they can be – clean, safe, tidy
  10. Offer exclusive use of the course or practice facilities for your sessions – playing in front of other members can be off putting. You could close off a few holes for on course coaching/beginner play.
  11. Inform your members that Get into Golf sessions are taking place and ask them to be patient!
  12. If you are doing any filming or photography at your sessions, ensure participants give their consent to them being used 
  13. Include an ‘off course’ education session into your programme and take time to talk participants through aspects such as rules, etiquette and jargon. Use this as an opportunity to ‘debunk’ some of the common golfing myths and misconceptions.
  14. Take them on a tour of the clubhouse so they know where everything is and introduce them to your members of staff.
  15. Make it friendly and fun!