Women’s Golf Day looks to educate, increase participation

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 11: Kylie Walker of Scotland tees off as she start the second round of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club on December 11, 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images) Warren Little/Getty Images

Women’s Golf Day looks to educate, increase participation

Golf

Women’s Golf Day looks to educate, increase participation

Women’s Golf Day, which takes place Tuesday, is not about competition, trophies, closest-to-the-pin and long-drive contests. It is about creating an environment where any woman or girl who is curious about golf can participate, have fun and socialize with other women.

“I have been in the golf industry for 18 years and, this is not male-bashing, but our industry is predominantly run by men,” said Elisa Gaudet, the founder of Women’s Golf Day. “I kept hearing them say that we’ve got to get more women in the game, but no one was doing anything about it. It was lip service.”

Data and studies showed that women were coming to the sport, but then leaving. So Gaudet took it upon herself to organize an easy way for clubs and golf facilities to hold four-hour events that include two hours of golf and two hours of socializing. The idea is to create an environment where any woman, whether she plays golf or not, can come to learn about the game, play and have fun without worrying about competition, judgments or knowing a lot about the sport.

Through Gaudet’s connections, Women’s Golf Day has spread around the world. Last year, 711 venues in 46 countries held Women’s Golf Day events, creating more than 15 million social media impressions. This year, two courses in Saudi Arabia will participate, as well as three in Morocco and a venue in Egypt. All 37 Topgolf facilities in the United States will be hosting events and numerous PGA Tour Superstores will be involved.

“The two things that made this successful. First, it’s one day and easy, with just two hours of playing or taking lessons, which eradicated a lot of the fear.” Gaudet said. “The other thing is that (facilities) register on our site, that it can be public or private, and that they can change a fee or not charge a fee. That gave them flexibility.”

The fact that Women’s Golf Day is on a Tuesday, from 4-8 p.m., is no accident. Tuesdays are typically slow days at golf courses, so most facilities will not lose out on corporate outings or events by hosting Women’s Golf Day. Starting at 4 p.m. means that working women and mothers only need to carve out a few hours from their day to play.

“We don’t necessarily have to convert these women to be golfers,” Gaudet said. “But you darn well better eradicate the idea of the golf widow. There is no way women are going to get their kids involved if they have a bad taste in their mouths about golf.”

The goal for Women’s Golf Day is to become an inversion of the New York Marathon, an event that draws runners from all over the world the Big Apple every November to take part in the famous 26.2-mile race.

“Instead of everyone coming to us for one day, we want to go to them for one day,” Gaudet said. “At the bare minimum, we are creating incredible awareness.”

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