There are nearly 20,000 golf courses in the United States, but clearly some are better than others when it comes to welcoming women. We aren’t saying that women need to be treated differently, but equally would be nice. Here are a few clues that a golf course wants your business!
The Staff. It’s pretty obvious how the course feels towards women golfers from the moment you call for a tee time or drop off your bag. A courteous welcome, being waited on in turn and no tee time restrictions are good indicators you’ll feel comfortable.
Consider it a bonus if you see women working in the golf shop or teaching on the range. Even better is a course owned or managed by a woman. We’ve found that in these cases, the course is often more aware of your needs and provides overall better customer service.
The Golfers. A course can have everything going for it only to be ruined by the regulars who make it clear women don’t belong on the course. Here are some not so subtle signs. The guys in your foursome zip past your tee box. The group behind you stares you down to hurry you along. A good sign is when you see women on the course. Chances are your male playing partners on this course will be happy to golf with you.
The Clubhouse. There are clues all over the clubhouse if a golf course wants your business, and nothing is more telling then the women’s locker room. First off, they should have a locker room for women! Secondly, it should be clean and stocked with hand soap, towels and toilet paper. You’ve hit paydirt when you see extras, such as big lockers, hair dryers, a sitting area and steam room.
What’s posted? What information is hanging on the club walls and bulletin boards? An active women’s community is an indicator that you will have an enjoyable golf experience. Look for women specific events, lessons and plaques recognizing female tournament winners.
The Pro Shop. Here is another great place to get a pulse on the course’s attitude towards women. Beyond the space dedicated to women’s apparel – and in our opinion, the more, the better – we look to see whether the pro shop stocks women specific accessories such as gloves, shoes and balls. Neglecting these details may seem small, and yet they speak volumes about welcoming women. Another good indication of a course catering to women is the number of rental sets on hand for women players. One is not enough! In general, a course pursuing women customers will have several sets of ladies clubs – for both left- and right-handed players.
The Course Itself. The length, design and availability of facilities all say something about the courses’ friendliness to women. Perhaps the most important clue that a club embraces women (and beginners) is thoughtful placement of the forward tee box. The purpose of multiple tee placements is to compensate for different skill levels so the ball lands in the same neighborhood.
How long does the course play from tee to green? As a guideline, a course offering a forward tee box that falls in the 4,600 to 5,300 yard range, and a second set of 5,300 to 5,800 yards is a good sign. Innovative clubs attracting beginners may even have a family tee at the 150 yard (or even closer) marker.
When your tee shot has to go over some kind of obstacle (a ravine, water, or marshland) this is called a forced carry. A beginner friendly course design will not have many – or any – forced carries when playing off the forward tee.
Eighteen holes takes time, so ask about the rest room facilities. Does the course design bring you back to the clubhouse after 9 holes, and if not are there facilities on the course? While men can duck into the woods for relief, there should be options for women. Clean rest rooms stocked with sunscreen, and feminine products are a thoughtful plus.
Other Touches. Notice the menu and snack selections in the clubhouse and on the beverage carts. While hot dogs and burgers are standard fair, what options are available for those watching calories or looking for healthier choices? And while many of us may have a beer during the game, how about offering wine in addition to beer on the beverage cart!
What other sport takes up to 5 hours to play? Courses offering nine hole rates are showing up more frequently. Some course layouts even allow 4 and 6 hole loops. Look for clubs that offer creative packages for shorter play, perhaps combined with clinics and or promoted as women only. These are clues that a golf course is looking to attract women with busy schedules.
To play a women welcoming course in your area, visit the Women on Course website and search our calendar of events. http://www.womenoncourse.com/calendar.php