How can golf venues engage women in 2019?


Experiences matter.

Research from the USA has revealed that spending on experiences is growing four times faster than spending on goods. (Source: US Bureau of Economic Analysis, McKinsey analysis)

As the golf industry steps up efforts to engage with today’s female market, this shift towards experiences becomes ever more relevant.

But how can golf venues capitalise on this trend and provide a golf experience that is attractive to women?

Delivering golf experiences to women

Marcie Merriman, Cultural Insights & Customer Strategy Leader at leading professional services company, EY, spoke exclusively to Syngenta Growing Golf about today’s experience economy.

“Brands across the board are shifting their focus to experiences,” Marcie says. “And that’s everything from traditional retail to hospitality. With hotels, for example, you don’t just rent a room anymore; they might provide you a room, an experience around the room, and then go on to show you a range of nearby activities to enhance your experience at their hotel. 

“Modern women, especially the younger generations, are looking for activities and experiences that are easy to discover and understand, don’t make them feel out of place or awkward, and provide multi-faceted benefits to their life. This is the direction more and more industries and brands are moving.”

Findings from Syngenta’s global customer research echo the importance of experiences, while also providing some specific insights into what women want when it comes to golf*:

1. Craft an exceptional beginners’ journey 

First experiences are important. Forty-eight percent of women say they would be more likely to try golf if venues were more accommodating to beginners, demonstrating how much there is to be gained for those who take some thought around women’s journey into the game. 

Syngenta’s findings reveal that women are looking for a beginners’ golf experience that is easy to access, affordable, and unintimidating, placing great customer service at the heart of it.

2. Foster an atmosphere in which women will feel relaxed and welcome 

Relaxation and stress relief rank highly on the list of things that attract non-golfing women to the sport, and over half of women say that a more relaxed atmosphere would encourage them to give golf a try.

However, the perception for many women is that golf venues are intimidating and male-dominated, with little thought for what women want or enjoy – an attitude which risks losing both existing and potential female members.

3. Create opportunities for women to spend time with their loved ones 

Spending time with family and friends is also one of the top five factors that attracts non-golfing women to the game, with 42% of women saying that they would be more likely to play golf if more of their friends and family could participate. 

These findings suggest that making it easy to bring along loved ones and create great memories together may be key to creating an attractive experience for women.

(*Source: Syngenta: The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf, 2016) 

With demand for experiences on the rise, the golf industry is in prime position to deliver them. However, research clearly highlights that the experiences provided by golf venues to women are too often not relevant to their needs and desires. If the industry wishes to engage with the $35 billion opportunity that latent female demand represents, then it must take the necessary steps to understand what women want in the 21st century.

Marcie Merriman is Cultural Insights and Consumer Strategy Leader for EY Americas, with over 25 years experience working with boards and CEOs helping to improve customer experiences, innovate brands and drive growth through human-centric strategies and design.

Marcie Merriman EY

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