Social media golf content is too male dominated, researchers conclude

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 21, 2023 14:18

More women’s golf on TV and lifestyle content on Instagram and TikTok could attract more female customers to clubs and courses, researchers have stated.

The Ipsos study Golf & Social Media: Engaging Women, commissioned by Syngenta, is part of a project analysing 16.1 million social media posts, shares, comments and blogs over a three-year period to help golf businesses understand what is being said about the game online.

Despite recent increases in both the number and proportion of women golfers, social media continues to reflect some of golf’s long-term challenges in attracting women, the study found, including a lack of visibility and feminine content, as well as blatant misogyny. Challenges are particularly acute when attracting female golfers from minority communities, the study finds.

Claire Martin, Ipsos social intelligence researcher, said: “Online, golf has the image of a white, male dominated sport. There’s low visibility of women’s golf, on social media and TV and, as a result, women feel left out.

“You don’t see women professional players and tournaments on TV to the same degree as other women’s sports. While some brand ambassadors and celebrities who endorse golf brands are visible, it’s limited and tends to reach the existing golf community, not a wider public audience.

“There’s also some misogyny online, and offline at the course, making women feel unwelcome and excluded from the golf community.”

In addition to greater visibility, solutions include greater femininity in content, recognising women golfers and new players want different experiences to men, as well as better promotion of opportunities to start golf.

The study found that a lifestyle-themed approach using Instagram and TikTok, with posts and hashtags relating to women’s golf, was among the most effective solutions.

Mark Birchmore, Syngenta’s global head of marketing, turf and landscape, who commissioned the report, said: “The findings chime with earlier market research into the $35 billion a year economic opportunity to increase female participation. Our 2014 study found that 10 percent of non-golfers became interested in new sports by seeing them on TV.

“Since then, the perception and popularity of women’s football and cricket have developed rapidly thanks to a potent combination of TV and social media amplification.

“Channels such as Instagram and TikTok are used as key points in the customer journey to determine whether a golfing experience is suitable for them or not, and so if that content does not exist, golf will lose prospective customers to other more attractive sports and experiences.

“Events such as the Solheim Cup represent a significant opportunity for female golf, as does the finding that relevant lifestyle and experience-focused content on Instagram and TikTok can reach much larger female audiences than are currently being achieved.

“There is a real and present opportunity for golf to attract new female golfers to the game with the right content on the right channels.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 21, 2023 14:18
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  1. Miklós September 28, 09:23

    It’s not surprising that the percentage of female golfers in the US is about 25%, while in the UK it’s only 20%. However, if female golfers, golf events, and other golf-related activities could get more online and offline media coverage, it would encourage more women to take up golf. As Peter mentioned above, golf clubs should make their facilities and services more appealing to everyone. This should be the first step. The golf experience doesn’t begin at the entrance of the golf club. Golf clubs should make it clear that they are capable of meeting the expectations of every golfer. But do we know exactly what female golfers expect from a golf club?

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  2. Wanda September 22, 11:18

    Yes, true, golf should be more attractive for women, but please don’t associate women always with the color pink!! We wear every color we like.
    Men are not associate with blue, it’s an old-fashioned idea.

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  3. Peter September 21, 14:24

    For all our talk, all our awareness, all our measured efforts for attracting women to the game, most still fall short ! While we can’t do much about television programming, we can on the club level, be more female friendly. Most Clubs, even those who claim to be female friendly, aren’t !

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