Pro tips

8 tips to attract more women to your golf club

For a long time, golf has been seen as a sport mainly for men, but times are changing. Renate Roeleveld, an expert in retaining women and increasing female participation in golf, has shared her top 8 tips to attract women to golf clubs.

Lucas Balleby
July 27, 2023

In today's world, the topic of attracting more women to sports clubs is heating up, and golf clubs are no exception. And here's an exciting fact for the golf industry: Golfbaan Sluispolder has been ahead of the game for quite some time now, successfully attracting a growing number of female golfers.

Leading the charge is Renate Roeleveld, the club's General Manager, and a renowned expert in inspiring and advising golf clubs on attracting women to the game.

So, what's her secret to success?

We've asked her that very question and turned her answers into 8 tips to attract women to golf clubs.

Tip 1: Embrace the differences

The first step is understanding that men and women are different, including how they approach golf.

One difference is that women do not really make time and place for themselves. For example, they take responsibility for a lot of household tasks. And it is the golf club managers' job to create the space the women need to attend golf programs, even though it requires a totally different approach than when addressing men.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

Recognizing and taking these differences into account in your daily work in attracting and retaining women makes it easier for them to join your club or program. Also, you show them that you're dedicated to going above and beyond in supporting their golf journey from the start.

How to help women prioritize themselves.
How to help women prioritize themselves.

Tip 2: Choose a leader of the pack

Just like in any group, there's always someone who naturally brings people together and makes things happen – a true leader. The same is true for women's golf programs.

As a golf manager, you can either take on that role yourself or choose someone who can lead in creating a happy, engaging, and inclusive atmosphere. The leader should also support and motivate the women during practice, develop a sense of togetherness within the group, and encourage them to participate in activities that bring everyone closer.

Tip 3: Add time to chat and fun activities

At the beginning, women may not be as focused on practicing compared to experienced golfers. For them, golf is about having fun, enjoying the company, and taking in the atmosphere. That's why it's a good idea to design programs specifically for women and make sure to include social activities.

With women, you need to do something extra and special now and then. For example, we organize a cooking class at the end of November, where female participants learn to make snacks for Christmas.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

Also, by giving them time for casual talks and fun social events, you allow them to fully enjoy those moments and create an environment where their love for the game can grow naturally. This way, they feel more comfortable, engaged, and likely to stick with golf for the long run.

Tip 4: Find a time and date that suits them

Women often have a lot on their plates, from work and family to personal interests. When you arrange programs for women, consider their schedule to show that you understand their responsibilities beyond golf. This also shows that you've made the programs easy for women to schedule and participate in, making them feel welcome and supported.

And if you ignore this, it's like sending the opposite message, just like in this example.

I had someone at a golf course who wanted to copy one of my women's programs. He scheduled it for Friday nights. Needless to say, nobody showed up. Because when you're young, Friday nights are typically spent at pubs or clubs. And as a mother, it's a family evening because it marks the start of the weekend.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

Tip 5: Make a carefree environment

When getting women on the course, make sure they can play their first holes or rounds at their own pace and without other, more experienced golfers around. When you eliminate distractions, they can focus on their own game and enjoy the peaceful surroundings without worrying about others and feeling judged.

Many golf courses say that it costs money to clear the surroundings. While that may be true, it is a small investment when it helps women gain confidence and gets them into the game more quickly. Because when women are confident and know they are doing the right thing on the course, it is easier for them to ignore their surroundings.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

Tip 6: Encourage them

Women often have a humble way of doing things, including golf. And this can be a problem, especially in the beginning.

9 out of 10 times a guy hits a bad ball, he will blame his ball, club, or course. So, he is projecting it outside of himself. And the first thing a woman will ask is what she did wrong. Of course, it is good to ask how to get better, but sometimes they just have to let it go, which you must help them with.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

And remember, shy female golfers can be very motivated to do well and show their golfing skills. By helping and supporting them during practice, you can boost their confidence and help them overcome any self-doubts they have.

By celebrating their achievements and focusing on the good parts of their swings or putts, you can also encourage them to keep trying and not worry about making mistakes.

Also, women tend to focus on the process, while men often concentrate more on the outcome. A single swing with a poor posture doesn't necessarily mean the entire drive is ruined, especially at this level. The female golfers still have the potential to complete the round with a great result, and it's your role to remind them of that and help them find joy in their performance as a whole.

Tip 7: Share the mission with stakeholders, staff, and others

Make sure to include and inform everyone in your club, including your stakeholders, about the goal of creating a friendly environment for women golfers. Doing so helps you get support, come up with new ideas as a team, and make sure everyone works together to achieve this goal.

It's the little things, like when the greenkeepers applaud a nice shot by the female participants. Also, it's important to make other members aware that bringing in more women fosters a more inclusive club and helps grow the game of golf.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

Tip 8: Set the right example

Lastly, take into account the representation of women in leadership roles and among your staff. By involving and including women in club activities and decision-making, you show that their voices matter and their contributions are valued.

Getting more women in decision-making roles is not only a sports thing. It is a whole societal change that we are going through, and I am doing my part in golf. But when you look at the speed of the change, I am convinced that we will be in a completely different place in 10 years.
Renate Roeleveld, general manager at Golfbaan Sluispolder

There are many ways to set the right example. In most cases, the first step is to acknowledge the situation within your club. The next step is to make changes at a pace that you can control, sustain, and improve in the long run. Below, we'll share some areas where you can start.

How to set the right example for women in golf.
How to set the right example for women in golf.

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