Why Do Women Quit Playing Golf? And How Do We Improve Retention?

Why do women quit playing golf?

Woman Golfer holding golf club, why do women quit playing golfThis question was recently asked of all the women golfers by Golf Course Architect, Kari Haug, in my LPGA Golf Clinics for Women Networking Group on LinkedIn. What do you think the answer was?

Over 25 women chimed in with their opinions and feedback. That’s a lot of chat to go through. Here are just a few of the comments:

  • I do believe time is the “push back” for most women. Our time is so important and to begin playing a game like golf, — it falls far down on the list of priorities. A new approach to grow the game with women might be to take a look at the short game. The short game or as some have called it, the feminine side of golf, includes touch, finesse, minimum strength to execute and takes a commitment of one hour a week clinic 4-5 weeks. What if we improve and “grow” “D” players? This effort would not only grow the spirit of the game but further improve the experience women have playing.~ R. S. – Texas
  • Why do women quit playing golf? Women are the gatekeepers of the family and the controller of the purse strings. Yes – one day clinics are great to test the waters or get an infusion of energy about your game when the season begins, but in order to keep women in the game and invite new ones into this great sport, organized, fun activities that cater to a busy individual’s time schedule at welcoming locations is what will keep this consumer segment coming back as a returning customer. ~ P.S., Florida
  • The issue of time is not necessarily unique to women, yet I see a trend advocating that women spend even less time at the golf course with shorter golf formats – 9 holes instead of 18, and “tee it forward” guidelines that advocate an ultrashort course length (3,500 – 3,700 for someone who hits a 150 yard drive) for example. This is an executive 9-hole course length. I don’t see these initiatives for men and was wondering if this sets a precedent that might cause further gender inequity and division by relegating women to executive length 9-hole courses. Could we see different classes of golf courses in the future? If so, will courses be built and maintained to equal standards? ~ K. H., Minnesota
  • Until women themselves take hold of this sport, nothing will change. You can’t leave it to the PGA or USGA (run by men) because they still don’t get it. I founded the Metro Detroit chapter of EWGA back in 1993 and have been an advocate for women’s golf for decades. Major organizations have made attempts at getting women’s programs off the ground but it seems they never take and you don’t hear any results. Quite often, I am still one of the only women at various media events. Until that changes, we haven’t maximized our efforts.
    Many women don’t feel they are good enough to even attend, let alone play. They don’t understand that most men who play are not that good either and it really doesn’t matter. But the men don’t care that they are not good – they just play anyway! Self-esteem thing, I guess. Attitudes need to change. The biggest issue is media perception. The men still run most of what goes on TV or in golf magazines…..and they are the ones who think women don’t matter or don’t watch TV or read – so why gear anything toward them?~ J.J., Michigan
  • Why do women quit playing golf? Could maybe the simple core of this question be answered by just focusing on the leagues already in place and formulating a process to help those seasoned golfers to “be nice” to new golfers who come out for the first time? Even in those little private leagues, the competition to do everything correct can be quite intense.
    In my experience is seems seasoned lady golfers love knowing the rules and correcting each other for those rules almost as a separate sport in itself. How many of us have seen men point their finger at other male golfers and tell them “don’t do that, the rule is…”
    Working with what we have and making it better not just in “score” but also in the reaching out to new golfers could possibly add more ladies who stick around. ~ J.C., Seattle
  • A few years ago, I immediately fell in love with golf and began lessons and practice daily. But, I have progressed because I have dedicated myself to it (and I don’t work)…the kids go to school and the husband loves to cook (elaborate recipes from French, Irish etc..cookbooks).
    Men more time off for golf—I had a man golf buddy meet me in the middle of the day to play—clearly leaving work! When people ask what I do—-I say golf. Yes, it’s a game you can become completely engrossed in and dedicated to! (of course, I still make time for the family—ages 4, 8 and spouse). Both kids enjoy golf lessons! The pro was surprised at the baby pays attention for so long!  So, you bring the family on board! : )
    At one golf club I tried, the ladies who played often were retired or just didn’t work. Time is key and I’m not sure why women don’t leave work to play like a LOT of men!!! ~ T.V., Texas

What do you think? Have you been tempted to quit the game? Why or why not? What keeps you playing golf? Add your comment below.

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