Women in golf

May 6, 2014
Jim Lee, (British Columbia Golf)

The National Golf Foundation recently released information on women's participation in golf, comparing the US to other countries.  Over the past 20 years the number of women in the game in the US has remained the same, despite significant efforts to increase their participation.  Currently, about 20% of US golfers are women, compared with 30% in Canada, 38% in Korea and 39% in Germany.  The NGF cites the following factors in the differences between the US and other countries. 

All of these factors give us food for thought in developing new golfers, not just women.

  • "The majority of countries that do well with women golfers have an overriding agency or federation that's responsible for the sport and its national growth. What these agencies or national federations have in common is that golfers contribute to them financially when they register to play golf or become members of a golf club. In many of these countries, even public golfers are required to register with the federation through the club or course at which they play."
  • "The second thing that strikes you when you look at the differences between golf in America and golf in the countries that do well with women is the fact that it's considered much more of asportthere than a social pastime. Women golfers in Germany, France and Sweden certainly enjoy the camaraderie of playing golf with their friends and family, but the golf course is viewed more as an athletic arena than a social scene."
  • The countries that do well with women are not afraid to break with tradition. They've held on to important golf customs such as rules, sportsmanship and honor, but they've also joined the 21stcentury by getting rid of things like dress codes and mandatory 18-hole rounds. Another way these countries buck tradition is by using Stableford-or points-scoring rather than stroke or match play (in many places, it's the basis of their handicap system, so it's the recognized method), and there are a few benefits to this. First of all, it speeds up play; once you've reached a net double bogey on a hole, you pick up and move to the next tee.  The Stableford system also removes the need for Equitable Stroke Control and makes posting scores for handicaps a lot simpler for golfers of all abilities."

    Here is a link to the full article.