Most Fridays, I will answer a question or questions from Principles of Marketing students about marketing. This week’s question: With so many women playing golf, how come equipment manufacturers do not produce more items for women?
To answer this question, I turned it over to two Otterbein alumni who completed Principles of Marketing, and now work in the golf industry.
Alexandria Pulos, Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy
More women are starting to play golf. However, it has been shown that most men start golf at a younger age than women. It seems that men grow with the industry as new innovations are introduced and club technology improve. Whereas the average female golfer has not started as young, but also doesn't have as high of a turnover rate for purchasing new clubs, apparel, etc.
In my opinion, the industry does not realize that there is another factor that should be considered when going to production. A different dynamic exists between a father/daughter as compared to a father/son when it comes to golf and tournament play. I think the industry needs to consider the "golf relationship" so to speak that each has. From both the international and domestic tournaments/golf events that I have attended, I notice that fathers are much quicker to jump on opportunities, and new apparel and merchandise for their daughters than they are to their sons. I am not sure why this happens. I get a significant number of female inquiries for training at our facility, almost equivalent to that of men.
As the golf industry progresses, I think they will see that more fathers are realizing that there are around 1800 unused women golf scholarships every year. In most cases, it is easier for women to get golf scholarships to American universities than for men. That said, this drives more fathers to seek the best opportunities they can in merchandise, apparel, and training for their daughters.
Also, men and women have different strengths and weaknesses on the golf course. For example, when I was in Thailand, I went to a very large mall with a primary focus on selling golf related items. Everything from apparel, shoes, golf clubs. etc. they had for sale. Due to the fact that women are better in the short game area, I noticed that they had a wider selection of short game clubs, putters, etc. than for men. The men had a wider selection of drivers, fairway woods, and irons. Just something to think about in relation to the amount of sales and how they differ internationally.
Brock Neighbor, Titleist
According to the National Golf Foundation, only 19% of golfers in the United States are women. It's a sport that many businesses have used for entertainment purposes for the last 50 years. Unfortunately, it is a declining industry because of an increasing number of businesses that find it an inefficient use of time and money. The PGA of America started an initiative in 2013 to try to get more women in the game. While weekend rounds have not declined, weekday rounds have. A majority of homemakers are women, so getting more women interested in the sport could ultimately save it.
Titleist as a company has made a huge push in our golf ball marketing to target more women golfers. We see this as a great opportunity to not only gain market share, but grow the game. We will introduce a new commercial in February marketing our new Pro V1 golf ball to not only men, but all genders/skill levels.
So to the root of your question, as of now, men are the dominant buyers in the industry. Hopefully this trend can gradually shift in the other direction.
Both industry members offer views on the golf industry based on segmenting using demographic and behavioral variables.