How to Encourage Women to Play Golf

Janet Vorwerck, Women’s Ambassador at the Bing Maloney Golf Complex, shares her tips on how to get your friend, girlfriend or wife to join you on the golf course.

I’ve played golf since I was a kid. That’s over 50 years. In my golf life, I’ve often heard male golfers say, “I wish my wife or girlfriend played golf.” I feel that if women were encouraged ‘in the correct way’, more women would get out and play. Women and men are very different, right? That’s not a secret. For most men, golf is a competitive sport. But for many women, golf is about hitting the ball, enjoying the time with friends, and getting a little exercise. And of course, laughter and talking. Golf can be intimidating to a woman but in the right environment, women can really enjoy the game. The game may just look different.

I’ve written this article as if I am talking to a man, but my tips aren’t any different if you are a woman golfer looking to get more of your own girlfriends to join you out on the golf course. Statisticbrain.com reports that 77.5% of golfers in the United States are male. Obviously, we need to encourage more women to join the game.

So how do you go about finding the ‘right environment’? If your wife or girlfriend has a girlfriend who is also interested, that’s huge! You might do some research and call a nearby course or two to find out about beginning group golf lessons. If they are offered for women only, even better, but most courses offer co-ed group lessons. When inquiring about group lessons, ask if complimentary clubs are included. Most courses will include them for the lessons. Again, the key for most women is to have someone fun to join them for their lessons. When she agrees to take lessons, suggest that she may also need some golf clothes. This will allow her to check out the golf course (and pro shop) prior to her lessons and become more comfortable at the facility.

While she is taking her series of lessons, don’t push that she should also practice. Some people are into practicing but many others are not. Most women I’ve come to know like to take lessons but hold off on practicing for a while. They might want to join you when you go out to practice or they might not. It’s all ok.

Another observation I’ve made over the years is couples should not give each other golf tips unless one person begs for help! Keep tips to yourself and let your friend or wife get corrected during her lessons. Ask her what her golf instructor told her to do. Just compliment her when she hits a good shot, has a great follow-through, etc.

While lessons are going on, there may be a fun ladies short 9 hole group that she can join to meet other ladies who are also beginners. Preferably, your golf course has a ladies group with mentors available to go out with them on the course. This will make the transition from lessons to the golf course less intimidating. Ask at your local golf course. Definitely look for a group that is all about fun and the social aspect. Rules and all of the rest should be saved for a little later. It may stay strictly fun for her or she might be excited to learn all the rules down the road. This is usually a very different approach from how many men learn the game.

When she is ready to purchase a set of beginning clubs, make sure she has a say in what color the grips will be and have them changed. Yes, color. Look for a fun golf bag. Show her the golf gloves in various colors and other accessories that will interest her including golf balls, tees, and hats.

If and when she is ready to play golf with you, the same rules apply as practicing. Do not give any tips unless she absolutely begs for them. Keep comments positive! Commend her on anything about her swing that looks good. Just keep it positive.

She may never be the avid golfer that you want her to become, but if your intent is to have her go out with you on the golf course and keep it fun, this can be the way. She just might surprise you one day too and beat you when you are not expecting it.

Janet Vorwerck can be reached via email at jvorwerck@hagginoaks.com. The Bing Maloney Golf Complex is located at 6801 Freeport Blvd in Sacramento, CA. Visit their website at www.bingmaloney.com