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Returning for its fourth consecutive year, Women’s Golf Day will be hosted at clubs across the world, expecting to reach higher participation than ever before. The international event has spanned across more than 50 countries, 900 venues and 50,000 women golfers over the past three years.
An indication that golf clubs are addressing the need for change when it comes to actively considering women in golf. According to the Sports Marketing Surveys 2015 Golf Participation Report commissioned by England Golf, women represented only 15 per cent of all participants and 15 per cent of members at UK golf clubs. A relatively low number compared to the 41 per cent of tennis players being women, 40 per cent in cycling, 46 per cent in running.
However, a new study reveals where English golf clubs can create more value for their female members and drive satisfaction which can lead to higher retention and also attract new members. The analysis is based on newly released data from an ongoing study performed by Players 1st, the leading player experience management platform which holds more than 1.5m players' feedback.
The numbers show that the most significant driver to a satisfied women’s membership is across the atmosphere and social elements of the club. When it comes to the contribution towards women’s overall satisfaction of their membership at their club, the atmosphere is the most important element. Compared to men, this only ranks second as they find the golf course being the most important factor.
Females only rate the course as the fourth most important factor. The findings suggest that women appreciate a fun and non-competitive approach to golf. The social aspects of a golf membership is, when it comes to women, much more important than it is for men, something the Players 1st data also reveals. For women, the competitive nature of the sport is simply not a driving factor in the female's golf membership offering. This also plays along with the fact that women rated their satisfaction with the restaurant lower than men.
The pre and post golf touch points within the club being enjoyed with friends, creates a good atmosphere and a social culture which positively improves overall satisfaction. However, as well as high-quality food and drink, interesting menu choice and selection is likely to have the most significant impact on overall satisfaction for both males and females, more can be done to improve the women’s satisfaction these three touchpoints, as they rate them lower in each instance.
Considerations to the range of options without reducing the level of quality of the offerings by the club and restaurant managers is an easy starting point, and supporting this with member feedback will all but guarantee the support from all types of members’. Lastly, one in five women respondents said it’s unlikely that they will be a member of their current club in two years’ time, with over a quarter of them citing that they were unhappy with the board/management at the club. Perhaps it’s time to consider more in detail the rise of the ‘experience economy’ at golf clubs, for females and family.
Research from Gibson, Masayuki and Morton 2017, as cited in the R&A "Women’s, Girls’ and Family Participation in Golf: An Overview of Existing Research (2018)”, suggests that this is quickly replacing the more traditional ‘Service Economy’, and that consumers are looking for more memorable events and value-added events into their predisposed or regular experiences.
The Players 1st research suggests that the golf itself isn’t the most influencing factor on female member satisfaction in England, which highlights the potential opportunity for golf clubs to deliver value-added experiences beyond a standard roll up and an annual ladies day competition. From female member feedback verbatim, ‘9 and dine’, monthly BBQ’s, mixed competitions alongside themed cuisine nights were commonly cited. And if the chef needs a break, there are plenty of pop-up options that will travel to club locations and run the events on the clubs behalf.
These insights are based on data from more than 1,000 female golfers surveyed across over 70 England Golf affiliated golf clubs.