One of the things I love best about owning Shi Shi Putter is getting to hear women’s golf stories – how they came to the game, what they get out of it, and what keeps them playing. I am always inspired to play more golf.
In listening to these stories, I’ve noticed that most (nearly 95%) women start to play because of a man they value plays golf; a boss or client, boyfriend or husband, father or grandfather. Even me. I first started playing in junior high when my dad got me lessons and then I started playing again while I was dating my boyfriend, now husband.
As a woman who loves golf, I feel a sense of duty to encourage more women to play. 80% of all golfers are men. So while these are great odds if you are looking for a date, it can still be a little intimidating when you are the only woman in sight.
The exciting news is that the golf industry as a whole is also convinced that it needs more women playing and has committed to this endeavor. ”The PGA of America and key allied associations, such as the PGA Tour, LPGA, USGA and EWGA, have come together in a concerted effort to make the golf experience significantly more welcoming to women and responsive to a woman’s value set,” says Sandy Cross, Director of Women’s & New Market Initiatives for the PGA. “We recognize the power of the women’s demographic and invite women to experience the joys of the game and all it has to offer them, both personally and professionally.”
The question for me has always been, “Where should I send my friends to learn to play?” Personally I’ve had mixed results from lessons. My swing is usually no better and my score hasn’t dropped in over a decade.
In the last few years, the golf industry has created a first-step program called Get Golf Ready. In five 90-minute lessons, local PGA and LPGA pros teach you the basics on etiquette, putting, swinging the club, and getting you out on the course. It is offered at local clubs around the country, typically at a $99 price point.
I love this concept because it gives new players a chance to get some experience before heading to a course and lets them find an instructor that they work well with before sinking a lot of money into lessons.
This is the fourth year that the golf industry has offered this program and it’s been a big hit. Oddly enough, they have found that 63% of the participants are women (yay!) and those that finish the program are 83% more likely to keep golfing.
Last year I participated in a women’s Get Golf Ready program co-sponsored with the EWGA at my local course. I was impressed both with the turnout (about 30 women, most of whom already play the game) and the quality of tips and feedback from the instructors.
There are some additional options to the program as well:
- Some courses offer Get Golf Ready 2, with more advanced instruction and course strategies;
- Programs specifically for women co-sponsored by the EWGA;
- Customized Get Golf Ready Employee Talent Development Programs for companies that want to help their employees learn and leverage the game. (For more information on this, contact Calvin Fields at 561.624.8579 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
To learn more or to find a program near you, go to http://www.playgolfamerica.com/ggr/.
Images courtesy of the PGA. All rights reserved.