Only 25% of men want to play golf with women

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 24, 2015 11:54

A new survey has found that men play a huge role in tapping into the massive potential of female golfers – but they need to change their attitudes first.

Previous research has revealed that there is enormous demand from women in the UK to play golf, and if that was somehow converted into club membership, every golf club in the country would have long waiting lists.

Currently most golf clubs in the UK have vacancies for members and Britain has one of the worst ratios in the world for the proportion of women who play golf compared to men.

It had been thought that the most effective way to reach the market would be via other women, but data from SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS reveals that male golfers could be a key stimulus in increasing female participation.

The poll reveals that the top reason for female golfers initially taking up the game is because of a husband or partner who played.

However, the survey finds only a quarter of male golfers, including those who already do so, ‘are interested or very interested in playing casual golf with female golfers in the future’. The same research also finds that the vast majority of men (78 percent) who play golf have female partners who do not play the game. More than one in two male golfers who have sons say their sons play golf, but just 12 percent of male golfers who have daughters say their daughters play golf.

Just under one in two women who play golf said they took up the game due to a male partner and more than one in four said they are treated poorly by male golfers.

“Less than half of these same men have tried to introduce their female partners to the game and only a quarter, including those who already do so, are interested in playing casual golf with women in the future,” said Alison Root, editor of Women & Golf.

“There could be a number of reasons why women don’t play golf including work or family commitments, or perhaps they’re genuinely not interested, but I suspect that most have never been given an opportunity to play or encouraged to do so.

“With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that over half of men who have sons say that their son(s) play golf, whereas just 12 percent of men who have daughters, say that their daughter(s) play. If these men don’t encourage their female partner to play, they’re hardly going to encourage a daughter.

“Without wanting to sound condescending, men need to be educated and understand that women and girls’ golf really does exist and actually if they change their mindset, they might even enjoy mixed golf!

“Male attitudes in continental Europe are totally different and that’s because male prejudices across have never been there in the first place, whereas the UK has struggled to shake off the steeped traditions aligned to a male-dominated game. In most other European countries golfers join as a family and more often than not, they play golf as a family, hence why countries like Germany and Sweden have a high percentage of female players.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 24, 2015 11:54
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1 Comment

  1. Bob Braban April 11, 22:28

    I suspect that if you break the survey down into age groups you will find a markedly different response from older golfers than the younger players. The working/golfing population play perhaps just once each week and a lot of the time are either involved in club competitions or want to play with their regular groups. In some cases there may be prejudice but in the main it is simply a choice of how they feel they are able to make best use of precious time. In many clubs the ladies develop close ties with the seniors and have regular joint competitions. Prejudice does exist, but it is often not for reasons associated with golf.

    The answer to the sons and daughters dilemma is perhaps less psychologically taxing than is suggested. Sons are much more likely to want to take up golf and are thus more likely to press to be included. More female role models would be helpful, but until female tournaments are once again seen on main stream TV and not restricted to SKY that is not going to happen.

    Given the importance of this topic to the future of members’ clubs, I am surprised that the article has not attracted comments and ideas.

    Bob Braban

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