American golf clubs using fitness to attract women
A report in the Wall Street Journal has found that there has been a large trend in which golf clubs are expanding their fitness offerings in order to attract women to their venues.
Women make up a small percentage of the number of golfers in the USA, thought to be about 23 percent, although much higher than in the UK and Ireland, where the figure is about 15 percent. On both sides of the Atlantic research has shown that there is huge latent demand for women to take up the game.
Therefore, American clubs have in recent years been investing in their gyms, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
It says that women with no interest in golf are joining clubs that provide ‘souped-up gym facilities’ that also offer yoga, and many then start playing golf.
It says that consulting firm Global Golf Advisors found that 145 top private US clubs ranked programming for women as the third biggest trend in the industry, just behind product development. As a result, these clubs have expanded their spa and fitness facilities by 22 percent to combat a lag in membership numbers.
For example, Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club in Florida now has a £4.8 million, 24,000 square foot fitness facility that offers personal training and fitness classes determined by mostly female focus groups.
Business development manager Pamela Rudd told the WSJ that approximately 40 percent of the club’s 1,200 members don’t golf at all, but many do.
For example, Debra Berney, a member at The Club at Ibis also in Florida, was originally attracted to the gated community because of the alternative programming the club offered to her husband Jeff’s passion for golf. Now, she plays too, thanks to a programme designed to attract beginners which has them learn together.
A number of golf clubs in the UK have also invested in gyms lately. For instance, Birchwood Park Golf Centre in Dartford has changed its name to Birchwood Park Golf and Country Club and invested £5 million on a complete transformation of its health and fitness area.
The new development includes a brand new 25 metre indoor pool and expansive spa facilities, plus a larger fitness suite with over 60 pieces of equipment, three aerobics studios including a spin studio, new changing facilities and an extended café bar.