The Pellucid Perspective - March 2014 - (Page 4)
The feminine touch
Not necessarily a man's world when it comes to solving golf's challenges
By Jim Dunlap
oday's golf industry is increasingly focused on ways to at- the course together after work. The course becomes a date night
tract new players to replace the Baby Boomers that Father on Saturdays with the locally popular "Chapmans" (Pinehurst
Time is in the process of harvesting. The most visible tar- or American Foursomes format) event, followed by a gourmet
get market for new golf customers is women. Given that some- meal. A challenging course, Shadow Valley added forward tees
where around 25 percent of U.S. golfers are female while their to make it more accessible to women and beginners, and Hutt
gender makes up 51 percent or more of the population, the selec- estimates that 30 percent of the course customers these days are
tion makes mathematical, if not historical, sense. The combined women, compared to around 10 percent in 2000.
populations aged 50 or younger are an even larger target, and are
"We look at what the competition is doing, and we try to
proving equally problematic in terms of golf participation. New do something different," Hutt said. "You've got to get the whole
approaches at the golf course facility level are obviously called family involved. We don't advertise - it's all one on one with our
for, and who better to create and execute them than women who customers. We don't discount, either - it's all value-added. We
have already scaled golf 's barriers and cracked the glass ceiling of offer our customers gourmet coffee and a cookie for free, and if
golf course and club management?
they want a shot of brandy in the coffee, that's free too."
The genesis of this article was a communication with Arthur
As far as women being better suited for adapting to change in
Little, a financial manager who, with his wife
the industry customer base, Hutt said, "I'm
Jann, successfully operated a golf course on
not sure about that, but I do think women in
little, who now
the Maine border for a number of years. To
general are more detail-oriented, and they're
spends a fair amount more proactive while men are more reactive.
stimulate play among women, families and
busy professionals, they ignored the scoffing
of his time trying to But it's still kind of a man's world out there."
from competitors and did things like creatLinda Rogers, a former president of the
spread the gospel of National Golf Course Owners Association,
ing forward tees for all age groups and skill
levels, offering pay-per-hole rates and even
bold experimentation is celebrating her 25th season as the coproviding babysitting for customers. Any of
owner of Juday Creek Golf Course near
that sound familiar? Ten years or so later, not
South Bend, Indiana, where daughter Miso unheard of, eh? Little, who now spends a
industry, opined that chelle Wittig is putting her MBA to use as
fair amount of his time trying to spread the
the general manager. Women and juniors are
some of the smartest key elements of the facility's success.
gospel of bold experimentation throughout
the industry, opined that some of the smart"Probably my favorite program is our jugolf operators he's
est golf operators he's encountered happen
nior league golf program," Rogers said. "It's
encountered happen grown tremendously over the years. We have
to be women. He's not certain of the secret,
which is certainly not limited to women, but
nearly 100 kids involved and they pay memto be women.
his guess is that by and large, women may be
berships, so it's profitable for us. The coaches
better listeners and more willing to design
are college golfers, or men who play a lot.
non-traditional programs and strategies that
People's lifestyles have changed over the
their customers will respond to. We found a number who seem years, and we've established programs to accommodate that."
to validate that theory.
"Women are so busy," added Wittig. "We'll have 11 different
Judy Hutt, a 40-year industry veteran, manages Shadow Val- programs running this summer [for women]. You have to be in
ley Golf Course in the competitive Boise, Idaho market. Hutt touch with what moms want, such as our "Mom and Me on the
said the course annually tops the "Best of Treasure Valley" con- Tee" program. Last year we developed what we call our Golf
sumer survey for golf courses, and a brief look at some of the of- Immersion Camp where kids spend time learning about course
ferings Hutt and her staff have put together provides some hints maintenance, landscaping and the F&B operation as well as golf,
why. An early adopter of the now gospel edict that successful and we'll have two of those this summer. We all have to particiclubs and courses offer something for the whole family, Shadow pate in bringing in new golfers."
Valley offers a juniors program for $45 that enables juniors to
play for $5 in the late afternoons. In the summers, when it's the Wizard of fun
light until after 9PM or later, tee times starting around 7PM are
When you walk through the doors of Toad Valley Golf Club
priced at $1 a hole, which Hutt said nets the course about $500 near Des Moines, Iowa and a woman greets you wearing a nama day in evening revenue and allows families to spend time on etag that says Allison George, Wizard of Fun/General Manager,
4 The Pellucid PersPecTive
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - March 2014
Where is golf pricing headed in 2014?
The feminine touch
Colorado Section PGA enters tee time fray
Historic course going back to nature
February '14 golf weather impact: Tough sledding for golf
Overdevelopment storm still blankets Minneapolis
ClubCorp acquires Prestonwood CC and its two courses
The crime of the century
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2014