Friday, June 12
What Women Want: A Guide to ‘Women-Friendly’ Golf Facilities
(The Image Group/Flickr)
(Editor’s note: June is Women’s Golf Month, and the Executive Women’s Golf Association has several well-researched ideas on how golf facilities can make the game more accessible and enjoyable for women. Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the Executive Women’s Golf Association was founded in 1991 and has 18,000 members.)
Contributed by EWGA
Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF
WHAT MAKES A GOLF COURSE “WOMEN FRIENDLY”?
It starts with the right attitude and a sincere commitment to reach out to women golfers, according to Pam Swensen, CEO of the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA).
EWGA offers a program to earn an official designation as a women-friendly facility, open to all golf facilities participating in the EWGA Golf Club Network. To merit the special designation, a facility must meet certain criteria rated on playability of the course and customer experience.
Golf courses, resorts, practice facilities, golf academies and other instructional facilities can join the EWGA Golf Club Network, which is designed to increase rounds and revenue while encouraging more women to play golf.
“At the golf course, women don’t want to feel they are being treated differently, they just want to be taken seriously,” says Swensen.
“This recognition program is a way for us to distinguish golf courses and companies who understand the value of providing women-friendly facilities.”
Providing women-friendly facilities also can make good economic sense for golf-facility operators.
A 2008 survey of EWGA members conducted by the PGA of America found that the average EWGA member plays 32 rounds per year. And EWGA members spent an average of $4,296 on golf activities, merchandise and golf-related travel.
What do women want? A golf course that presents a fun, challenging playable option for women of all golf-skill levels. Following are some playability criteria:
At least two sets of tees rated for women.
Tees should fall in the following range:
• 4,600 – 5,300 yards for the 1st set
• 5,300 – 5,800 yards for the 2nd set
• Extra credit for having a 3rd set of rated tees with one 5800 yards or longer
Carries from the forward tees are limited to 50 yards or less for the majority of holes.
Drop areas provide for carries over 50 yards from the forward tees and more than 100 yards from the 2nd set of tees.
Slope and rating data and course handicap conversion tables for women are in an obvious and easily accessible area.
Distance markers are available inside 100 yards.
What do women want? To have a positive experience at the facility, feeling they are welcomed and their needs are being met. Following are some customer experience criteria:
Staff has a consistent approach to all players regardless of gender; this includes all staff from the pro shop to the bag staff and the marshals.
At least 10 percent of the golf course staff are women.
Equal services are provided to men and women:
• If club fitting is offered, staff is well trained to fit equipment for women and offers equipment for women golfers if various skill levels
• If clothing is sold, an adequate selection of women’s clothing is available in a variety of styles and sizes.
Facilities are relatively equal for men and women:
• Tee boxes are maintained in equal condition and have similar basic amenities (ball washers, trash cans, etc.)
• Clean, pleasant restrooms are available at least every six holes on the golf course.
• Women are not barred from any area of the facility with the exception of a men’s locker room.
“Clean bathrooms on the course, tee boxes that are not an after thought, mirrors in the fitting room − it’s really very basic what can make a significant difference in a woman’s golf experience,” says Swensen.
“And a satisfied woman customer means more business − it’s the power of the purse.”
To learn more, including how to join the EWGA Golf Club Network and earn the women-friendly designation, visit EWGA.com.