Ladies 9 Tour triggers participation boost
Shorter formats mean less time on the course and, at an amateur level certainly, more participants.
Just ask the Argentina Golf Association, who have seen a 12% increase in female golfers despite the stresses and strains of Covid.
When they decided to start up a 9-hole women’s tour in 2019 in conjunction with The R&A, the AAG (Asociación Argentina de Golf) dreamt big of what could one day be a competition to stretch across nearly half of the calendar year.
Ten competitions were scheduled and in 2019 on average 70 women golfers played their part – now in 2021, for all the challenges of Covid, 14 events were made possible and the movement continues to gather pace.
“Golf post Covid19 has somehow benefited, membership to clubs has increased with new players to the game and many players that have come back,” AAG Executive Director & CEO Mike Leeson told Syngenta Golf.
“Rounds played have increased approximately 25%, registered handicaps around 10% while women golfers have edged up 12%.
“We think for various reasons: golf is identified and proven to have a safe environment as well as being an outdoor sport.
“In younger people the principal competition of other sports like football, rugby, hockey and basketball, they’ve been out of action for most of the pandemic.
“Finally the home office has resulted in less commuting time. So the Ladies 9 Tour has been a great fit for these new times we live in and includes key issues we have as an organisation: promoting women’s golf and promoting nine-hole rounds.”
Syngenta research backs up the need for flexible, shorter formats. 27%* of lapsed female golfers cited the time it takes to play as their reason for leaving the game. Similarly, 26% of female golfers who tried the game two or three times but gave up shortly after, cited the same reason for leaving.
Leeson and the AAG have a way to go to double the number of events from 10 – a goal they pinpointed in 2019 – but they’ve been successful in creating an on and off-course buzz during a particularly difficult time for many.
*The Global Economic Value of Increased Participation, 2016