Female junior numbers were the sport's only membership category to increase last year, and it was hoped the women, whose combined Instagram following alone was in excess of 650,000, would provide further impetus.
"The female segment is the first cab off the rank that we are targeting [in giving] clubs the knowledge, resources and tools to attract specific groups of the market, and further drive participation and membership at club level," New Zealand Golf marketing manager Jan Rowsell said.
Through November, New Zealand Golf's new 'fun and social' hero brand will work towards breaking down women's perceived barriers to playing golf.
She Loves Golf activities – regional events and individual club driving range initiatives – are to be detailed on the She Loves Golf section of the Love Golf website from the end of October.
"The main purpose is to showcase to females that golf is welcoming and fun," said Rowsell.
Champion Women’s Golfer Lydia Ko is one of five New Zealand women chosen as ambassadors for New Zealand Golf's November launch of She Loves Golf brand.
CASE STUDY: Manawatu Golf Club
Right from the outset the Manawatu Golf Club decided that the Get Women into Golf program would have to be very deliberate in its process. The aim was to get more women into the game and to overcome the barriers of participating in golf. Manawatu GC designed simple coaching clinics for women to come to the club and learn the basics of the game. Clinics were 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes long and staged on two nights per week over a five-week period. A total of 66 women enrolled in the Get Women into Golf program.
The cost of the five-week program was $69 per person.
The 66 women were divided into groups of 12 to learn in the coaching clinics. Coaching sessions were focused on learning a little bit of everything in the game (sessions on the putting green, chipping green and driving range and rotated through each of these areas with the three professionals at Manawatu leading each area). After the five-week coaching clinics were completed the women progressed to playing on the Manawatu Golf Club in a shortened format of the game. To begin with they played one hole and then five and then nine holes. All participants were initially required to “tee it up” on all shots except putting as this gave them all a far great success rate and accelerated their learning. After their five holes the groups would meet in the clubhouse for coffee and catch up to talk about their rounds. Women were offered special rates for nine-hole membership at the completion of the program.
The results were very pleasing for the Manawatu Golf Club. Of the 66 involved in the program 24 signed up for nine hole memberships with the club and another 4 joined Taihape GC and 1 joined Feilding GC.
- 66 participants: All 66 women were asked to complete a feedback survey of their experience and all but one of the returned surveys marked the program 5 out of 5, an excellent initiative.
- 24 new members: The only woman involved who didn’t give an excellent review did not agree with the format and even though she gave the series a better than pass mark, she probably should not have entered.
- 5 weeks: The Manawatu GC believed that these results showed it has achieved the outcome of introducing more women to the game and also making the golf club environment far less intimidating.
CASE STUDY: Mangawhai Golf Club
Mangawhai Golf Club are always looking for innovative ways to allow more people to experience the game of golf and the facilities they have to offer. Shop Manager, Nick Launder brainstormed ways of attracting more of the community and visitors to make use of the clubhouse facilities without necessarily having to play golf. One of the identified groups in the community was women. Specifically a group of women were identified who were either newcomers to the area or had partners or juniors learning and playing golf.
Due to time constraints or lack of confidence those women had not engaged with the Club themselves. An event was held at the Club called “Afternoon Tee” and was advertised locally and amongst members to judge interest levels. The success of that event lead to a further “Morning Tee” being held for those who had not been able to attend the first event. Over 50 women attended the noisy and jovial Tees and 41 expressed interest in golf, books, pilates, walking and art. The women, of their own accord, noted that they would like to have some informal group golf learning and practice.
Geraldine Speed of the Mangawhai Golf Board with the help of Maggie Cameron implemented and drove this initiative. 32 women took up the offer of 4 group lessons over 6 weeks at a nominal cost. Geraldine notes that the Women’s Initiative was not just about the golf “It’s all about women getting together in our Mangawhai Golf environment, opening up our clubhouse to embrace wives, mums, partners and families into the fold. To spread the word that families and visitors are welcome.”
- 32 participants: 32 women attended 4 group golf lessons over 6 weeks at a nominal cost.
- 7 new members: 7 new memberships as at January 2015 from newcomer women.
- Increased Engagement: With new women, their partners and families enjoy the golf, camaraderie and facilities.