One of my biggest interests for the past few years is in encouraging more women to play golf. Of course the power of golf in business is a given, but more importantly I feel playing golf offers women a multitude of different opportunities for fostering a more healthier lifestyle.
Golf can also be a strong connection between married couples and can become a family function once the kids are old enough to play with mom and dad. Plus, golf can be played for a lifetime all around the world.
So, why is it so tuff to get women to look at golf as an activity to get involved with…or just look at it seriously as something that would help their professional and personal life?
I would like to be able to answer this question quickly by saying the reason women scoff at golf is their lack of interest in golf. True, most women I talk to use ‘lack of interest’ in golf as the ‘Walk Off’ statement they make to me. (What several women have done when they stop by to visit with me during a business networking function..”Ah, GOLF…Not Interesting!” And turn and walk off) However, when they are brought into the environment where golf is played, or used,..a country club, or golf course, their interest seems to change to making statements like, “That’s interesting or I was not aware that golf was played in such beauty”.
Recently I put forth a full court press addressing this issue with a few ladies of the business and non-business (Domestic Engineers) world, which my sister (Ms anti-golf of my family) headed the panel. There was a Real Estate Agent, a HR Manager, a Small Business Owner and two Domestic Engineers (OK, Housewives for you who refuse to be PC).
Now, I will admit that discussing this issue with just five ladies is not a full representation of the entire female population of the world, but it was interesting to hear their rational of golf and reasons they told me as why they do not have any interest in golf. It could be that there are more women out there who think the way this group of women think.
My first question to the group was..
Why do you say you are not interested in Golf?
Here are a few of the answers:
- Golf is a man only sport and women are not welcome
- I don’t see any drama in golf so why would I want to get involved in anything that is not exciting
- I am not athletic and do not like anything that is considered a sport or something that you have to excert yourself to do
- I don’t waste my time in pursuing anything that does not reflect kindly towards how I look.
- I hate it because my husband likes it
- None of my friends play it or have anything to do with it so I figure it must not be worth my time
- I don’t like the fashion for women’s golf. Not everyone can be a size 2
As you can see, there were some very interested statements made here and during the pursuing discussion that started each of the ladies reinforced each other remarks with giving high fives…geez.
The next question I asked was to find out the root causes of their lack of interest in golf.
Have you attempted to learn to play golf, previously played golf or exposed to how golf is played in anyway?
They all answered, NO to ever played golf, but offered remarks on their experiences with golf that indicated how they were exposed to golf or gained information about golf that developed their lack of interest.
- 20 years ago I once went to a driving range with my high school boy friend..it was our first date.
- I play miniature golf with the kids during their day care’s summer camps.
- I rode in the golf cart with my husband during a golf tournament he was playing in..I was bored.
- The closest I have every come to anything golf was when I walked by a manikin in Nordstrom that had a golf outfit on..someone named ‘Annika’ design it..whatever..
It seems the way these ladies were exposed to golf or heard about golf has made a very lasting image.
My questioning continued with asking the “Did You Know…?” line of questions. Some of the information did receive some rising eyebrows since they all obviously where not aware of the adaptability and flexibility of golf. Naturally, the women in business had knowledge of golf being used in business since they constantly hear from their male counterparts about their playing golf all of the time. However, for the stay-at-home-moms, their exposure to golf comes from their spouses talk about golf with their friends or hearing it on the television when their spouse is watching golf. Plus, all the ladies in this group reported that the influence from others who they socialize with who constantly talk bad about golf and he people who play golf also reinforces their negative image of golf.
What I got from most of the women comments was they are not interested in anything or activity that results in the possibility of breaking a sweat. I found it interesting that there was only one of five women who said they worked out or exercised several times a week. The others felt that their daily activities produced enough workout opportunities or also found exercise as something they lacked interest in.
The most rewarding portion of this panel discussion was the reaction from the ladies on the aspects of playing golf as a family function or activity they all could do together. For a few of the ladies it was a “V8” experience (why didn’t I think of that?). The report of most golf and country clubs having women only leagues and golf schools surprised a few. But, overall, the family golf activity appeased most of their interests. It was interesting and encouraging that a simple exchange of information was all that was needed to change the ‘I’m Not Interested’ statement to remarks like ‘Really?’.
The bottomline of this issue on why so many women are not interested in golf still remains the same. What was confirmed here is many women who say they have a lack of interest in golf developed that attitude towards golf from being exposed to the downside of golf as their first impression they received of golf or the misguided reports others have provided them. As we all know that first impression is the lasting one.
The only issue I was not able to address completely during this short discussion was the “Sweat” factor since I am not sure there is anyway to learn anything worthwhile without there being a need to have to break a sweat at learning or doing something. So to say golf has a “No Sweat” factor may be pushing it a little.
Golf has a number of issues to overcome, and getting more women into the game is one of them. As long as people are not introduced to the game of golf in a positive manor this perception of golf as not being of interest will continue.
I suggest that for those golfers who are serious about helping golf survive that they should attempt to help the next person, man or woman, they hear who has not learned what golf has to offer by inviting them to take lessons, go to a golf school or visit a golf learning center to insure they get the first impression of golf as a positive one. That is the only way I feel golf can make golf a No Sweat activity.
Let me know how I can help.