Carin Koch: Dress codes put women off golf

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 6, 2015 15:57

European Solheim Cup captain Carin Koch has said that several golf clubs are missing out on thousands of female customers by having restrictive dress codes.

Speaking at The Golf Show, Harrogate, she said: “It is important to consider golf in the context of a customer experience. For example, relax rules about what you wear. I don’t think twice about wearing jeans when I pass by my golf club in Sweden, but in the UK it is a major concern for women who’d like to try golf.

“Jeans and trainers are the first thing you would wear when you haven’t got all the kit, yet they are not allowed, so there is an instant barrier – just one of many, in fact, and so women don’t often even consider golf as an option for their precious leisure time.

“However, we know people will spend money on their leisure when the product is right. It sounds obvious, but unless you read the research and understand what is actually in the minds of women, you won’t realise just how important this is and why golf will lose potential golfers if it doesn’t think about putting the customer first.”

Koch also commented on the Solheim Cup, and in particular the controversial issue in which Suzann Pettersen refused to grant her opponent Alison Lee the tiny putt the American thought she heard as a concession.

“Of course much was said of the incident in the final fourball match, but this shouldn’t be what the 2015 Solheim Cup is remembered for,” she said.

“Suzann Pettersen apologised personally to American captain Juli Inkster and made a heartfelt statement on Instagram, expressing her sadness for the part she played. I feel this was the correct course of action by Suzann and I gave her my full support in doing so.

“The American team played magnificently in the final singles session, but for much of the afternoon it could have been Europe’s day as well. Ultimately, after three days of golf, one point separated the teams and despite some outstanding play from my team, the Americans outplayed us in the singles.

“Overall, it was a wonderful showcase for women’s golf. I believe the Solheim Cup will inspire women and girls to think about golf and take it up as a sport and social activity, and make it a game for life.”

Koch added that she was at The Golf Show in order to help PGA professionals in their endeavours to encourage more women to participate in golf.

“Over the past year I have been working closely with Syngenta on its market research and helping golf clubs and courses better understand what interests women about golf and how they can make the game more female and family friendly – to bring in new customers to golf,” she said. “Ultimately, if more people are playing, there will be a good long-term future for both the game and the business of golf.

“We are showcasing a new coaching franchise called which has been inspired and developed by Alastair Spink. It exemplifies the key insights from the Syngenta market research and is focused on creating enjoyable social experiences on the course, not teaching technical skills by hitting balls on a practice range. Although that is the way new golfers are typically taught, it is not necessarily a way that women, and many potential new customers, want to learn; in fact, they are likely to lose interest quickly and leave the game. It is really interesting to hear Alastair speak about his approach to coaching women, which is part of an academic study; clearly it is working because he’s introduced more than 300 women to golf at one course.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 6, 2015 15:57
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  1. Hockey Dynast November 6, 06:52

    Such an amazing article! Thanks

    Reply to this comment
  2. Brian May 14, 04:19

    Interesting read. However, the many of the women in my life (sisters, friends, wife) would get into golf just so they could have an excuse to buy and wear golf clothes!

    Reply to this comment
  3. fdaf April 11, 02:42

    However, we know people will spend money on their leisure when the product is right. It sounds obvious, but unless you read the research and understand what is actually in the minds of women, you won’t realise just how important this is and why golf will lose potential golfers if it doesn’t think about putting the customer first

    Reply to this comment
  4. Denny Putsh April 11, 02:41

    It’s 2020 and we’re still worried about dress codes. Golf is such a wonderful game. Let’s not turn off the young generation by leaving them out. This is about the future of golfing.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Thomas sphere December 11, 08:18

    The LPGA passed a new dress code this past summer and it’s led to a lot of backlash from their golfers, who feel restricted. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  6. baldgolf July 13, 11:27

    I can agree with the theme that dress code not only put women off on golf but on various other sports as well. It is really a great loss for both sides and it should be noted with the highest priority.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Chad June 29, 15:55

    Dress codes are for everyone male and female however there should be a much detailed discussion before go with particular terms and golf is more of a recreational sport and as long as the dress are appropriate I don’t think the management should care about the dress or their gadgets and equipment.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Bud June 16, 21:13

    I think dress codes can definitely put people off, but I’m not sure it’s just women.

    With regard to the Solheim Cup, it was sad to see that incident. Even as a European support, it left a bad taste.

    Reply to this comment
  9. quinnoneupserve November 18, 08:33

    Women are increasingly participating in Golf and tournaments like Solheim Cup definitely increase the appeal among women. Golf is one such game where the women can even compete with men as it requires less physical strength as compared to other games except for certain shots. Right set of golf club equipment is all one need to take care to drive maximum impact in shots My brief piece on this would definitely help

    Reply to this comment
  10. Bob Braban October 10, 19:03

    Dress codes do certainly stop people from joining golf clubs, but it appears that is what the majority of members want. Most businesses operate to please the customer with a bias to the new customer, but with an eye on retaining the loyalty of those that are already customers. The problem of tradition is a big one for those watching sales fall. Managing Committees know what needs to be done, but would seemingly prefer to end up bankrupt than to accept that change is essential. It’s worth repeating that the first managers to rationalise club policy in line with modern requirements will ride in limousines to the funeral of their neighbours. It will cause ‘settlement’ problems at first, but these things quickly settle down.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Sam October 8, 22:23

    Great article! I am a new woman looking to get into the game of golf however I am having trouble with a beginner golf club set for me. Does anyone have any experience with any of the club sets on this list? I would like some opinions before I buy. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
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