As I was getting ready to write about some of my favorite golfers this week (you know Stricker, Kuchar & Compton), I came across a blog entry titled "What Women (Don't) Want", written by Jack Dillon and posted on the Golf, Inc. web site. It definitely piqued my interest and I thought "how nice, a blog about women". Then I read it.
When I'm irritated about something I tend to rant. And believe me, after reading Dillon's post, I composed one long rant. But as I've learned, sometimes it's best to walk away from some writings in order to get perspective. The rest of this post was rewritten about 3 times. I did my best to compress my thoughts and temper my irritation, but frankly, I still feel miffed.
One thing that drives me nuts is mass generalization...this guy decides to lump every female golfer into one category (women) and gives his readers 5 things women don't care about and 5 things that women want. Maybe he didn't "mean" all women, but when you title the post "What Women (Don't) Want" it's hard not to take it that way.
Here are Dillon's lists:
What Women Don't Care About:
1) they do not care about the CC's in their driver
2) they do not care about the speed of your greens today
3) they do not care who is on the beverage cart
4) they do not care about the golf ball sale in the shop
5) they do not care about the after round beer special
What Women Want:
1) women first want respect and equal treatment
2) they want a clean facility. Strive for perfection, starting with the clubhouse and on-course restrooms. This is huge
3) they want to know what you know. As an industry we assume too much. Fear, I believe cost this industry millions of dollars in lost revenue each year. Have a designated "nice person" at your course as the working expert on the ground to direct women and to answer every question, as well as provide instruction in areas such as golf cart operations. Throwing a cart key at a stressed woman is a one time act
4) food designed for all women to embrace and enjoy
5) Comfort I contend is the most important word in golf. If women are unsure and afraid of your surroundings, they will nail themselves to their couch forever. Job #1 is to breakdown the fear your team does not see.
Oh, where do I start?
While I'm sure SOME women may not care about the items on his list, I think it is short-sighted for golf facilities to assume that ALL women won't care. How in the world could he conclude that women won't care about a golf ball sale or a beer special?? I believe, in general, women LOVE sales!! And maybe they won't care about a beer special, but have a fruity cocktail special and you've got ladies staying, possibly dining, and maybe shopping! If we are focusing on "new" women golfers, why NOT talk about equipment and golf balls...these gals might be ready to buy! Do not, I repeat, do not underestimate women's shopping interest.
I'm personally offended about not caring about the speed of the greens, but maybe that's just me. It's one of the first things I ask at any course I go to. Women new to golf might not know to ask about the greens, but again, the message of the blog was unclear on which women were being focused on (so, yes, I'm still miffed!).
In Dillon's "What Women Want" section and a little before and after his lists, he portrays female golfers as "stressed", "unsure", and "afraid"...oh, come on. This is the perception of women golfers? Talk about a stereotype! (deleted about 4 paragraphs of my rant here). I can understand newer golfers being intimidated or nervous about playing (that goes for men and women), but after reading Dillon's post over a few different times, I kept reading it as saying all women are scared to go golfing and that couldn't be farther from the truth!
I don't even know what his #3 item even means in his list of what women want. One minute he's saying women don't care about equipment, course conditions, or clubhouse specials, and then he goes on to say "they want to know what you know"...say what?
I agree that women want respect and equal treatment, and they deserve it! I think golf course staff can do their best, but challenges will occur in trying to balance a profit margin and trying to please every customer. And I think the other reality is that some of the "respect' issues women face at golf courses come from other players/members and not the staff end.
My rebuttals to his post are these:
- Please, do not stereotype women. Women golfers are as varied as the designer golf bags that can be bought. If the goal of the post was to point out the challenges of women golfers new to the game, then say that...but even then, the lists, in my humble opinion, do not reflect women golfers I know.
- Be positive...to start out his lists with what women DON'T care about sends a negative tone, and couple that with some misguided ideas and the message is lost. And by putting "don't cares" out there just alienated the women that actually DO care about those things...like me.
- Capitalize on women's social nature...I would encourage drink specials, lunch specials, golf lesson specials that allow women to gather, enjoy golf, the clubhouse or the driving range together.
- Dillon states that "comfort" is the most important word in golf (I'm assuming related to women)...to some extent I agree, but more than that I think "opportunity" might better describe what women look for in golf - time to play, a place to socialize, and a source to meet golf needs, such as equipment and apparel.
The good news about my reaction to Mr. Dillon's thoughts is that my golf passion is definitely back! And more than ever I see the importance of being positive and forward thinking in how to integrate golf into life...for men and women.
If you want to read all of Mr. Dillon's post, you can read it here: http://www.golfincmagazine.com/blog/what-women-dont-want