by Sean Mysel
Hello all, one of my very great interests in the game of golf is how we as professionals can service a highly underrepresented segment of our market. That segment is women. Women are not coming to the game and in many ways are not being helped by golf establishments as a whole. For instance, in the Bay Area it's rare to find a course that offers organizations, leagues or otherwise for women. I had the great honor and privilege of conducting a Q&A with Stacy Solomon who authors a terrific blog called Golf For Beginners Link and shared her thoughts on five questions I asked her. Here are the responses:
SM: When did you start playing golf?
Stacy: I learned and practiced on a driving range for two years although occasionally, my husband and I would head over to Saxon Woods or Maple Moor (publinks) and play nine holes of twilight golf, dropping several balls at once for target and sand practice. I thought twilight golf was the perfect way to practice because it didn't take up too much time, it wasn't competitive (learn the basics first) and it was a very romantic way to spend an evening!
SM: I wanted to get right into a topic that I find fascinating. Overall the number of rounds played is down, membership to golf courses is down and the participation of women playing golf is down. What could the golf community do to increase the rounds of golf overall and especially with respect to participation by women?
Stacy: Reach out to women beyond the scope of the sport and bring them in, making golf less intimidating and more fun. Group events are always fun. Find women in other sports that might not have thought golf was "right" for them and show them the benefits, from fresh air and sunshine to the challenge it offers. Give free beginner lessons, have putting contests...ANYONE can be a good putter!
I belong to the Westchester, NY Executive Womens Golf Association which has (more than) a few great ideas to reach out to women including nine and wine, get-togethers and a fun bowling night during the off-season so that women can meet off of the golf course and then, when the time comes, they can feel more comfortable playing with a group that matches their handicap level. The EWGA has mentors and instructors on and off the golf course as well, to bring women into the fold.
SM: As a person who lived in the Northeast for four years, my golf game virtually shut down. How do you stay sharp during cold months?
Stacy: I regularly swing my (left-handed) Kallassy's Swing Magic, lift weights and walk on my treadmill several times a week. I used to go to my local outdoor heated driving range but, during the cold winter months I usually just putt on my carpet.