Global Edition

How more female leaders can make golf more profitable

9.05am 22nd May 2019 - Growing the Game

More female club managers, course superintendents and golf course architects would drive greater profitability in the golf industry, according to a leading expert on diversity and inclusion in business.

Liz Dimmock, founder and CEO of Women Ahead

Liz Dimmock, founder and CEO of Women Ahead, an award-winning social impact organization committed to female development from schoolroom to boardroom, says there is now clear evidence from multiple international studies that businesses with more diverse management teams are more profitable.

Yet in the United States, the world’s largest golf market, women make up less than 9% of general managers, only 1.5% of superintendents and there have only ever been four female members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

“What we are learning now is that people from different backgrounds and experiences will view the same problem in a different way and come up with different solutions,” explains Dimmock, who is supporting the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.

“But it’s not enough just to be diverse. It’s about how inclusive is the culture within which the team operates. How do we reflect the customers to whom we are trying to sell or serve?”

Dimmock’s comments come in a new feature length multimedia editorial and podcast, Changing the face of the golf business, published by Syngenta Growing Golf.

The article highlights the fact that women account for just 24% of all golfers worldwide, yet increased representation and new thinking at senior management level could increase participation among females and families and help unlock what is estimated to be a $35 billion opportunity.*

In January 2018, global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company revealed that the gender diversity advantage was even greater than previously thought. Its report, Delivering through Diversity** found that companies in the top 25th percentile for gender diversity were 21% more likely to experience above-average profits.

Changing the face of the golf business features an interview with leading Canadian golf course superintendent and founder of the Ladies Leading Turf networking group Leasha Schwab, who tells how she was regularly asked at industry conferences, ‘Whose wife are you?’

It also speaks to Jan Bel Jan, creator of Scoring Tees™ and only the second female to be elected President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

Liz Dimmock concludes, “It’s about having leaders at the top, being inclusive, bringing new ideas and perspectives forward.

“I think golf has such an exciting platform ahead. We are not there yet and we shouldn’t be apologetic for that, but it is building a pathway and by bringing in perspectives from the board right down to entry level colleagues, the face of the golf industry is set to positively change.”

Syngenta, a leading supplier of innovative turfcare solutions to courses, is investing in golf from the ground up. Its campaign, ‘Syngenta Growing Golf,’ is focused on the long-term business sustainability of golf courses and the economic opportunity to increase female participation, worth a potential $35 billion a year to the global golf industry. For more information and to sign up for news and feature content relating to increasing participation, visit Syngenta Growing Golf:


* The Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf, Syngenta (2016)

**Delivering through Diversity, McKinsey & Company (2018)

European statistics

In Europe, there are similarly low proportions of women in leadership and senior management positions in the golf industry:

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