Women Golfers Still Feel Mistreated

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bellevue, Wash. (Aug. 24, 2006) – Women golfers in Washington state report limited progress in how well they are being treated by golf course operators compared to three years ago. Half those who took part in the survey reported being mistreated.

In a recent survey conducted by Golf Marketing Team.com, about one-third of respondents rated overall “customer satisfaction” as “just OK” or “poor.” About the same ratio of women golfers gave courses that rating three years ago.

Similarly, about the same proportion, almost half, of women golfers feel they have been mistreated, insulted or offended at a golf facility in Washington State in 2006 vs. 2003:


Don Morgan, senior partner at GMA Research, who analyzed the results, said the survey provides some actionable feedback on practices or policies that are viewed as attractive – or offensive. “Respondents were clear on their expectations so courses should use this feedback to cater to this important sector,” he remarked.

How Women Golfers Select Courses To Play
The survey asked women golfers to rate how important a number of factors and amenities were to them in choosing a course to play. The top five included:

1. No tee time restrictions
2. Gender neutral treatment
3. Starter who is welcoming (to women)
4. Clean restrooms
5. Friendly greeting at time of check in (at the pro shop)

In addition, women golfers noted they desire more healthy food and beverage offerings, staff who are knowledgeable, easy to read markers, multiple restrooms (on the course), more women styles and sizes of apparel and equipment.

Of less importance are on-site child care, spa facilities, dedicated women tee times, a women’s locker room (at public courses).

Most Popular & Favorite Courses, Pro Shop & Retail
Women golfers gave the nod to the following by category in Washington State:
• Favorite municipal course : Gold Mountain
• Favorite daily fee course: Trilogy
• Favorite private or resort course: Semiahmoo
• Favorite pro shop: The Golf Club at Newcastle
• Favorite retail golf shop: Puetz Golf

Best Golf Experience
Comments made about their best golf experience included the following:

“The way the entire staff treated our foursome while visiting Sahalee”
“ When walking on as a single, having the clubhouse not treat you like you have a disease.”
“Galley Golf in Oak Harbor, was military, now open to public, very female friendly.”
“Trilogy. Very inclusive, courteous staff, well-run course.”
“Harbour Pointe. The staff is always very welcoming to women golfers and accommodating to our group events.”
“Women’s night at Interbay. Excellent price for a group lesson and all the range balls you can hit.”
“Free golf at Newcastle for Mother’s Day.”
:Highlander, Wenatchee.”

Worst Golf Experience

Comments made about their worst golf experience included the following:

“After we were given a tee time, they let men go in front of us…We waited all 18 holes on them.”
“Being ignored by the pro-shop staff on check in, because I am a woman.”
“Getting paired with two men who started drinking Southern Comfort at 9 am.”
“Having rude men behind us trying to hit through when we were still waiting for the group in front of us (who were men) to move along.”
“Getting our tee time pushed back because some men wanted to get in before the women’s groups.”
“When calling for a tee time and using a women’s name…times not readily available…When call back and use a man’s name…they are.”
“Hovering marshals suggesting we speed up when we’re playing pace-of-play”
“Being asked to buy a collared shirt and then on the course there were men in tee shirts!”

The web-based survey – which updates similar research done in 2003 -- is a joint undertaking of GMA Research and GolfMarketingTeam.com, both of Bellevue. It was conducted in cooperation with the in-state chapters of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, the Northwest Ladies Golf Association and other women’s golf groups.

About the Female Golf Segment
Women golfers (ages 18 and above) represent about one-quarter of all golfers and are an important target for player development, according to the National Golf Foundation. About 2.5 million women are classified as “core golfers,” defined by NGF as accounting for 91% of rounds played and 87% of golf-related spending.

A study by the PGA America found that members of the Executive Women’s Golf Association spent on average $3,993 on golf fees, lessons, equipment and food and beverage in a recent 12-month period. Nearly two-thirds of that segment also reported annual spending of more than $2,200 on golf-related travel.

Based on the PGA study, the Seattle Chapter of EWGA, which has around 335 members, has an economic impact of more than $1.3 in annual expenditures, excluding golf-related travel.