If Mary Queen of Scots was alive today, here is what she would do:
– Business Golf 101 would be a required course for any business student in college, especially for women business majors. They figure out way too late that they should have taken up golf 20 years before and could have learned the ins and outs of proper conduct on the course. Check out my own version of Business Golf 101, a multi-part series titled ’30 Days to Business Golf’, also here on this website.
– Check to see if there is a local chapter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) in your area and encourage women to join. If not, look into starting one. I founded the Metro Detroit chapter in 1993 and over 350 women attended the kickoff dinner…….and that was before the women even knew what we were about or what we’d be doing.
– High school girls’ golf teams would all be required to take strength and fitness training so that the girls wouldn’t tire after only 9 holes of golf. And there would be no whining allowed.
– Start a mentoring program for any girl who wants to play golf. Women too. Men can be mentors as well. The U.S. Navy Recruiting District Michigan/Indiana (NRD MI) acted as mentors for Detroit inner-city teen and pre-teen girls in a program sponsored by the USGA, the LPGA, and the MWGA in 2008 and 2010. If the U.S. Navy can do it, you can too.
– If you are running a charity/scramble event, encourage teams to include a woman or two. And whatever you do, DO NOT put the Forward Tees back. Keep them in their normal position. That is, unless you force the gorilla-hitting men to play from the tips, 50 yards or so behind everyone else.
– Always have separate contests and prizes for Men’s and Women’s Long Drive and Closest to the Pin. Nothing discourages women more than haggling with men over the principles behind awarding a prize won ‘because YOU hit from the Ladies Tee’. Men usually don’t understand relative distance and that a 220-yard drive for a woman pretty much surpasses a 280-yard drive for a man. Ditto for the Hole-in-One contests with minimum yardages most women can’t even reach with their drivers.
– Hire more women TV commentators. The Golf Channel should have reversed the roles of hosts Vince Cellini and Stephanie Sparks on the original all women’s Big Break III: Ladies Only back a few years ago. Steph should have taken the lead since she has more competitive experience than Vince; and really, TGC brass, this was BB III Ladies Only. Also, please refrain from putting on-air women golf hosts in clothing they would never wear to play golf or to attend a business golf function. For four years I hosted a TV golf show on CBS-Detroit where we played golf throughout Michigan and was VERY aware of what I wore on camera. We all know what happens when a woman takes her address position in a too-revealing golf top. The men probably like it but if you want to encourage women, think twice. Cleavage-bearing clothing is fine for the nightclub scene but it has no place in the serious golf world.
– Media Days for all golf events in this area should include specific invitations to women in the media, who always seem to be left out of these fun fests. Women in the media, if you are reading this, contact the Media Director of any major tournament near your territory and ask to be included on the Media Day listing. When they invite you, go. But before you go, read my ’30 Days to Business Golf’ series. No sense in accepting an invitation and making a complete fool of yourself out there if you know nothing about golf and cannot contribute to the team effort. Remember, many of the media guys are not great, or even good, golfers – including those who host golf shows or write about them. A little learning and practice on your part goes a long way.
– Make sure you have someone on staff at all times who will welcome each woman who walks into your pro shop. Let her know what special programs you have for women.
– You don’t HAVE special programs for women? Get some. And get some women’s golf books. Clip Stina Sternberg’s articles in Golf Digest and put them up in the Ladies Room. Any articles you come across written by women for women should go up as well. Print them off of The A Position or some of the other women’s golf blogs out there. Request articles about women from your local newspapers, magazines, or other websites. When you do have programs for women, alert those same local media folks and publicize the events. Create a Facebook Page for women at your course.
– Have a special ladies clinic each week. Keep it short and sweet, usually an hour or less. Charge a nominal fee. If it is free, people tend not to place value in it. Invite the ladies to bring a friend. Women are more comfortable in pairs or groups. Also, have Demo Days where specialized equipment formulated for women’s lower clubhead speed is featured.
– Volunteer to speak at women’s meetings and let them know why they should play golf and what you have to offer. If you don’t know, take this column with you. They’ll admire your chutzpah.
– Make the effort to stock good looking ladies apparel. Please. And put it on special. You can’t sell what you don’t have. Ask the ladies what they like. The whole idea isn’t to make a killer profit on the stuff but to let the women know you are thinking of them. Then you can make some profit. And don’t just carry sizes 2 through 10….most women are not that small. Can’t find stylish clothes in larger sizes? Then complain to the manufacturers; if they know there is a market for this, they will fill that need.
– Form a women’s committee that meets at least twice a year to tackle issues, complaints, and suggested improvements as to ‘how you’re doing’ with the women’s market.