According to the first-ever Women's Golf Market Study from Golf Datatech, LLC, almost one in three female respondents considered the average golf course to be “a very male oriented place” which inhibits more frequent play. While a majority of female respondents to this study live active lifestyles and boast an average household income of six figures, an equal majority cited cost, time and family constraints as reasons preventing them from playing golf more frequently.

In developing the Women's Golf Market Study, over 1,000 female golfers from Golf Datatech's exclusive database of Serious Golfers (a minimum of 12 rounds per year) participated in a survey regarding their golfing habits and perceptions, which was conducted in November of 2008.

“While over 50% of the U.S. population is female, less than 25% of total golfers are women,” said Tom Stine, Partner, Golf Datatech. “Combine the cost, time and family pressures with their overall perception of the male orientation at the golf course, and it's not surprising that women leave the game as often as they enter. This is ultimately the basis for the women's golf population to be at a near standstill.”

Among the key findings of the study were the following, which were related to women's golfing habits, spending on golf, marketing and media habits:

Golfing Habits

• Respondents were asked what they enjoy about playing the game and 91% said they like being outdoors, while 82% enjoy the time with friends, 80% are always trying to improve and 79% enjoy the challenge of the game.

• When asked to identify the single factor they enjoy best about playing the game, 32% chose the challenge of the game as their primary motivation, while 18% said being with friends is most important.

• One in three respondents thinks it “costs too much,” while almost half of all respondents said they would be likely to play more golf if it cost less.

• 21% of respondents disliked the fact that a round of golf takes too long to play, while 40% are constrained by limited leisure time, and 31% work too much to play as much as they would like.

Spending On Golf

• The average female respondent estimates they spent slightly less than $700 in the past year on golf equipment, with 18% saying they spent over $1,000. They also estimate they spent an additional $515 on golf apparel, with 14% spending above $1,000. 74% of respondents believe that the technology in golf club designs can significantly improve their play.

• When it comes time to purchase new golf clubs, 63% of females take the golf clubs out to a driving range or onto a golf course to try them out prior to purchase, while 58% gather information from their golf professional, 44% research products and trends online, and 43% read golf publications to get information on equipment trends.

Media Habits

• 55% of respondents said they watch golf or golf related programming on television at least once per week, while 14% watch it three to four times per month. Also, of the respondents who watch golf or golf related programming on television, 94% said they frequently watch the PGA Tour and 80% watch the LPGA.

• 94% of the respondents use the Internet to look at golf related websites while 80% use it 25% of the time or less to look for golf related content. Among those respondents who use the Internet to gather information about golf and golf related products, 58% use it to get information on golf courses and/or for directions, while 55% get golf equipment pricing, 50% check on equipment specs, 49% get weather information as it relates to golfing, and 42% use the Internet to make tee times.

• Among those who are members of at least one online community, 45% are members of Facebook, 34% use LinkedIn, 22% are on MySpace and 15% use YouTube.

While the above represents just a sampling of the survey results from the Women's Golf Market Study, Golf Datatech concludes that, overall, female golf enthusiasts have many of the same needs, wants and desires as their male counterparts, embracing the challenge of the game and the camaraderie created by spending quality time on the links with friends, family and business associates. At the same time, both females and males alike say their frequency of play is constrained by the cost of the game and the time it takes to play.

“To effectively tap into the women's market, golf courses, golf professionals, equipment manufacturers and all other engrained constituencies must make the game more accessible and welcoming to the female player,” adds Stine. “This study shows that the women's golf market remains underdeveloped and underserved.”