Golf clubhouse design specialist, David Hales, discusses the different ways golf clubs can increase their female membership rate. David founded David Hales Design Studio, an architectural and interior design studio specialising in clubhouse and leisure facility design, with his wife Diana over twenty years ago.
The 2016 England Golf Membership Questionnaire found that the average golf club has 460 members of which just 70 are women; figures which have hardly changed since 2014. With an average of just 15.2% of club members being women, read David’s top suggestions to increase female membership rates.
The opportunity to increase female members of golf clubs may lie with the current members. 65% of females identified their husbands, partners, parents and other family members as the main reason for taking up golf according to a study by Kitching. Hosting frequent open days and taster sessions will increase the opportunity for potential new members to join the club. Events such as a family firework night, a children-friendly quiz night and a summer barbeque are all good ways to promote the club’s services and increase memberships.
Offering more varied membership options and club activities could encourage new joiners as the 2016 England Golf Membership Questionnaire found. Clubs which offered beginner coaching sessions saw a 34% increase in memberships and those which ran social events had an increase of 31%. A family or couples membership package could also be a good way to encourage new members.
Creating a welcoming environment, developing clubhouse facilities and catering for a range of different needs can improve membership growth. Golf clubhouse interiors can often be outdated and this could potentially deter new members who want to join a modern and contemporary club. David Hales Design Studio is renowned for renovating clubhouses and creating an inviting interior with functionality as well as embracing the club’s history. There is also research to suggest that the aroma of coffee is very welcoming and elicits a positive feeling in those who smell it, meaning golf clubs could take advantage of this to create an ‘instant’ warm atmosphere.
One of the reasons why some female golfers are deterred from joining or even attending a club is the strict dress code many establishments enforce. Felicity Dunderdale is the founder of Fore! Women, a business which helps to attract more women to clubs, which encourages golf clubs to relax their rules such as the dress code to appeal to new members. Clubs could also ensure their dress code policies are clearly stated on their website so that potential club visitors and members can easily access them.
In 2017, the study by Kitching found it was found that females experience the golf setting as male-dominated, and in some cases a sexist environment. Changing this view will encourage more female members, and this could be done by including more women in the governance and leadership of golf clubs. Additionally, as the majority of most clubs’ members are male, there are usually more photographs and honours boards celebrating their achievements. It may be welcoming for potential club members to see more female golf figures being promoted. Including more female photographs on the club’s website is also another way for potential members to get a good first ‘digital impression’ when researching your club.
Improving golf clubhouse facilities is fast becoming the best was to attract new members to join. Private golf clubs in America expanded their fitness and spa areas by 22% from 2013 to 2015, according to the Club Spa and Fitness Association, and the primary reason for this was to increase the membership rate. Adding a Wellness Centre, Spa, Fitness and Leisure areas will increase the club’s potential, as many of David Hales Design Studio’s case studies show. Updating the Locker Room environment with modern features, good lighting and a luxury feel will also contribute to a potential member’s interest.
Female Golf Events
There are a number of events which clubs could partake in to encourage new female members such as Women’s Golf Day, a global initiative launched in 2016 which can take part at any golf-related location where current players or first timers can play and engage in golf. This event is happening on 5th June 2018 and is a great way to attract new members to your club. In 2016, England Golf also set up ‘Family Golf Month’ in which your club could arrange family-friendly activities to encourage more interest in golf. 40% of lapsed golfers say they would return to the game if more family and friends played and so celebrating Family Golf Month would be a great way to encourage this.
For more information about David Hales Design Studio golf clubhouse services visit: http://www.davidhalesds.com/category/club-houses-commercial-property/