PGA Merchandise ShowJanuary 28, 2016

Topgolf tries taking a new approach to getting more women into golf

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- A question that’s asked often in the golf industry, and has yet to find a firm answer, is how to get more women in the game. Topgolf took on the issue in a talk Wednesday afternoon at the PGA Merchandise Show.

The company has seen a lot of success in the last year, but they’re interested in continuing to move forward. In 2015, 32% of the people who visited Topgolf were women. They want to get that number to 50%. To try and figure out how, they looked at what‘s keeping women from playing golf and what they’re doing in their free time instead. Director of Business Strategy Jeehae Lee said they found the following: That women are intimidated by how many more men play golf than women; that women don’t like that golf is so individual, and that there aren’t enough attractive clothing options. Inversely, Topgolf asked women who do play why they continue to play golf. Overwhelmingly, Lee said their reasoning was other people -- as in my partner plays, my children play, my dad played, my friends play.

Topgolf found that in their free time, women are taking on a lot of athletic activities like yoga and spin classes, but not golf lessons. The element that separates these classes from a typical golf lesson is the same thing that’s keeping women in the game right now: it’s a social atmosphere. Half the fun of a yoga class, for me anyway, is watching my friends struggle while I attempt to not tumble on the mat next to them. Topgolf wants to bring that same feeling to golf lessons.

You know how you can drop in whenever you want to a spin class - they want to have the same structure in group women’s lessons at Topgolf locations. They don’t have a concrete plan right now, but at different locations they want to have classes with about six women with one instructor, to provide a social atmosphere while still giving everyone enough personal attention. And, because booze never hurts, there are likely to be some lessons with little bonuses, like happy hour. While this plan isn’t directly getting women onto golf courses, it will hopefully get more women swinging golf clubs. And that’s the first step towards getting them onto the course.

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