Women driving golf growth in US
More than 800,000 American women took up golf during the Covid-19 pandemic and the industry is responding.
Research by the National Golf Foundation (NGF) reports a 15 per cent increase in the number of women taking up golf in the United States, from 2020 to 2022, bringing the total to 6.4 million.
During the same period, men’s participation rose by just two per cent.
“It’s kind of a perfect storm for female participation right now,” Joe Beditz, Executive Chairman of the National Golf Foundation, told The Washington Post.
Leading golf brands have observed the trend and moved to service this fast-growth market segment.
Callaway reengineered its iconic Big Bertha driver for women as part of its Reva product line while TaylorMade introduced the Kalea product family across all club categories.
Nike, Adidas and Lululemon have all launched new golf clothing collections for women, while Californian lifestyle brand Malbon has signed Charley Hull as a brand ambassador and launched its first women’s clothing capsules.
“We’re super excited about where the industry is going and how it’s thinking about women more,” Erica Malbon, CEO and Co-Founder of Malbon Golf, told The Washington Post.
Beditz says several factors contributed to more women taking up golf.
The rise in hybrid and remote working has given women more time and freedom for leisure, especially in midweek.
NGF research also revealed that more Americans are playing golf off-course than on-course, for the first time in history. The biggest growth areas are driving ranges, golf simulators and tech-driven entertainment venues such as Topgolf.
Female golf is attracting a younger fanbase, principally online through social media. Kim Kardashian, who has an Instagram following of 364 million, recently posted an image of herself playing golf.
Social media has also enabled women to come together and organise golf meet-ups, events and networking opportunities.
The Hot Girl Golf Club in Austin Texas has almost 900 members subscribed to a group chat and welcomed more than 600 women to its last event, most aged between 21 and 45.
Founder Eleanor Lee, said: “I really believe in the future of golf for women. We are just getting started.”
Beditz also highlights a growing drive to make golf courses, clubs and coaching programs more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion or socio-economic background.
She says that when girls get involved with golf at a younger age, they are more likely to stay engaged with the sport and the industry is more likely to reap the long-term benefits.