Lauren Spray, England Golf’s Women and Girls’ Participation Manager, shares her advice on increasing female participation.
Review your website This is the first place many potential newcomers will visit. It needs to have relatable and easily accessible content. Ask someone who isn’t a member to review how easy it was to find the answers to these questions: How much will it cost? What do I need to wear? What’s the postcode? Where and who do I meet on arrival? Include pictures and testimonials to support the promotion of your activities to help women feel relatable. Embed the Get Into Golf widget into your website to allow women to book online.Include images of people having fun on your course rather than just landscape pictures.
Review your current pathway into membership – how could it appeal to a wider female market? Run coaching, playing and social opportunities for women to engage with and alongside each other. Have you considered implementing forward tees or short course options?
Send your participants an introductory questionnaire when registering and ask them to be returned prior to the first session Ask questions such as: What has drawn you to golf? What benefits of golf interest you? What time would be most convenient for the sessions to be delivered? If fitness is a reason for participating, ask women to record the number of steps achieved when out on the course and/or during your session to help reach their daily 10,000 steps target.
Exit Surveys Do you know why some women did not continue their journey at your club? A few simple changes and they could have been retained.
Create a welcoming environment From the very first session, bring women into the clubhouse, show them the ladies’ locker room and other key club areas so they become familiarised with your club. We can learn a lot from the coffee shop culture with relaxing sofas and armchairs with access to wifi. Traditionally, there are three most frequently visited places. This used to be work, home and the pub. Nowadays it is work, home and coffee shop. Let’s make it the golf club!
Communicate Send regular and purposeful content to the new women you are targeting. Equally important is keeping the membership informed from the outset the vision you have for the club and the rationale. Ask for feedback via surveys from participants, the workforce and volunteers. This will help inform future improvements or emphasise the elements of the programme they found engaging and positive. Advice from Lauren Spray, England Golf’s Women and Girls’ Participation Manager.
This article was first published in The Golf Club Manager – the official journal of the GCMA. If you would like to receive the journal, either join the GCMA today, or subscribe to the magazine.