Earlier this year the (PGA) of America launched an industry-wide initiative to bring more women into the game. With less than 20% of US golfers being women, the PGA has lots of room for improvement. But things aren’t that much different in Canada. Here, only 30% of golfers are women and sadly women are leaving the game at a much higher rate than men.
There are many reasons for this trend, not the least of which includes money, time and family obligations. Recent research suggests that women abandon the sport more quickly because they feel:
- The effects of “stereotype threat”which makes them predisposed to believe they’re going to fail at the game.
- Intimidated and unwelcome in a male-dominated environment
- A lack of other women with which to play
While the trend is disturbing, it has not discouraged a local Vancouver woman who has made it her mission to grow women’s golf in British Columbia. Diane Fru, of Golf Fore Gals (GFG) — a multi-course golf club for women of all skill levels — is working hard to break down these barriers for women in BC, by offering them a fun, safe and welcoming environment to:
- Discover the joys of golf
- Build new social and business relationships
- Book tee times up to 120 days in advance
- Improve their game through a series of lessons, clinics and seminars held throughout the year
According to Facebook, over 30,000 women in BC “LIKE” golf. That’s a huge prospect list – one that Golf Fore Gals is going to target in 2013 with a new website, beginner’s program and social media outreach.
With three membership levels (Beginner, Social and Handicap/Golf Canada), women of all ages and golf abilities will find one that fits their lifestyle and desires for coaching, course rating, seminars, tournaments and competition. The GFG Community includes working women, retired women, executives, stay-at-home moms, young professionals and students from ages 25 to 85+.
GFG recently launched its new website where it introduces new programs to grow women’s golf in BC and Maui.
At the top of its “grow golf” agenda this year is an enhanced Beginners Program for women who have never lifted a golf club or have been golfing for less than two years.
The complete one-year, turnkey program includes everything a new female golfer needs to be successful learning, practicing and playing golf, including:
- A one year annual GFG membership
- A series of group golf lessons with other Beginner members
- Prepaid green fees at our women-friendly courses
- Beginner Rules and Etiquette seminar
- Welcome package
- Access to a fun and rewarding learning experience
According to Vancouver realtor, Lindsay Wilkinson, of Sutton Group, GFG changed her life, “I would not be a golfer today if it weren’t for the GFG Beginner Program and the Nine and Dine Program at Musqueam. I’m now in my 6th year of playing the game and loving every minute of it!”
GFG is affiliated with more than 60 of British Columbia’s best golf courses, including Mayfair Lakes Golf and Country Club, Morgan Creek Golf Course, Two Eagles Golf & Academy, Highland Pacific Golf, Greenacres Golf Course, Country Meadows Golf Course, Redwoods Golf Course, Black Mountain Golf Club and Shannon Lake Golf Club and University Golf Club (UGC), which is adding new forward tees to offer a shorter course suited for new players and those with higher handicaps.
“For years, University Golf Club has worked closely with groups like Golf Fore Gals to be a welcoming and user- friendly environment for all levels of women golfers,” said Michael Mather, general manager of UGC. “With the addition of 8 new forward tee locations (4 on each nine) we feel this will only add to the enjoyable playing environment our customers have come to expect at UGC. This also falls in-line with the ‘play it forward’ initiative, golf associations worldwide are promoting to help increase the participation and enjoyment for the female market.”
The new yardage at UGC will be 5188 yards (497 yards shorter than the existing front red tees). Early May is the target date to have these new tees available for play. The longer term plan is another 6 new forward tees (3 on each nine) which will shorten the overall yardage to 4845 yards for the 2014 golf season.
University Golf Club will be hosting GFG’s Annual Membership Drive on April 20, 2013 where members and guests will get an early glimpse of the location of the new tee boxes. The event will start at 11:00 at the clubhouse and will include lunch, a fashion show, presentations and the option to play 18 holes of golf or attend two one-hour clinics.
Non-members will receive a $50 coupon off the cost of a new GFG membership and several draws will be held for members and guests to win 2-for-1 GFG new memberships and other prizes.
“Golf Fore Gals is about much more than just golf. It’s also about women, community, friendship, sharing and having fun,” said Diane. “Our members not only love the game and the life-long friendships they’ve made through the club, they care about giving back. Through Golf Fore Gals, they support local community charities, while enjoying the great outdoors at the most beautiful courses in BC.”
For more information on becoming a member of Golf Fore Gals, visit their website at: www.golfforegals.com or contact Diane.
Golfgal (proud member of Golf Fore Gals)