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Shorter rounds keep female golfers on your fairways

4 min read
Jul 10, 2023

Shorter golf sessions can give women the freedom they need in their golfing experience, and their traits help us understand why they prefer rounds with fewer holes.

As golf clubs around the world gradually introduce rounds with fewer holes, players now have more choices to customize their golfing experience based on what they like. But who's actually ready to ditch the long and traditional 18-hole game for a quicker option? Well, it turns out that female golfers are leading the way and fully embracing shorter rounds.

Tee up more female golfers by paring down the rounds

After previously revealing how golfers view rounds with fewer holes, we decided to dig deeper into this trend. And if your club wants to attract and retain female golfers, you've come to the right place.

While many still prefer the traditional 18 holes, an exciting shift takes place among women playing the game. It seems like more and more female golfers are discovering their groove with shorter sessions on the course.

Figure 1_ Attitude towards playing less than 18 holes. Who would take advantage
Figure 1: Attitude towards playing less than 18 holes. Who would take advantage?

In short, 61% of women are positive about playing rounds with less than 18 holes, compared to only 49% of men. Even more interesting is that many female golfers claim that they'll play more often if shorter rounds become available.

Figure 2_ Who would play more often if it were possible to book 6- 9- or 12-hole rounds
Figure 2: Who would play more often if it were possible to book 6-, 9-, or 12-hole rounds?

The Netherlands has successfully caught on to this trend, with clubs across the country are living out the idea of offering rounds with fewer than 18 holes to their members and guests. And it's working brilliantly. The 9-hole courses are stealing the spotlight, especially among Dutch women.

Almost 75% of all rounds being played are 9 holes in the Netherlands. And when you have business competitions etc., it's almost always 18, but with the ladies, it's almost always 9.
Renate Roeleveld, president at the Dutch Golf Course Owners Association.

Does this mean every female golfer is a big fan of playing shorter rounds? Well, sort of. But the truth is that some female golfers are a bit more excited about it than others, which actually depends on the type of golfers they are.

Which female golfers prefer the thrill of shorter rounds the most?

Understanding your golfers is always beneficial. Knowing their specific traits and challenges can, for example, help you tailor programs for female golfers and even predict how adjustments in membership fees might play out.

Interestingly, these insights can also be valuable when figuring out whether shorter rounds appeal to female golfers.

To point you in the right direction, we've narrowed down the top four traits of female golfers who reckon that the shorter option would motivate them to play more frequently.

And here's another interesting part about this: These very traits rank highest on the scale for both male and female golfers. But women with these qualities are way more fired up to play 6,- 9,- or 12-hole rounds.

Top 4 characteristics of female golfers who would play more often if it was possible to book less than 18 holes
Top 4 characteristics of female golfers who would play more often if it was possible to book less than 18 holes.

Flex members

First, it's no surprise that members with flexible memberships prefer playing fewer holes. After all, members with limited time to play golf often choose this kind of membership. And playing fewer holes means less time on the course, which makes it a lot easier for them to fit in a round of golf.

For both male and female golfers, being a flex member is the clearest sign they'll play more often if you offer fewer-hole rounds. Among male flex members, 52% are on board with it, while this number skyrockets to 85% among female flex members.

Play less than once a week

Female golfers who hit the course less than once a week are similarly convinced that fewer holes would get them swinging more. In fact, an impressive 67% of them hold this belief, surpassing the 42% of males who also play less than once a week.

So, offering the option to play fewer holes during a round gives these golfers more chances to play and stay fully engaged with the game. Also, by encouraging those who play the fewest rounds at the club, you're ensuring they feel they're getting the full value of their membership.

Don't believe to be a member in 2 years' time

Offering rounds with fewer holes also works wonders in retaining golfers who may be uncertain about their future at the club. That's because more than half of the female golfers who don't believe they'll remain at the club within two years would step onto the course more often if they could book less than 18 holes.

NPS passive

Last but certainly not least, we have female golfers who fall into the category of NPS passives, meaning they're so-so with their club experience. Every other one would actually hit the fairways more often if they could enjoy 6,- 9,- or 12-hole rounds.

About the results

The results in this article are withdrawn from Players 1st's "Voice of Golfers" panel, which is recruited in connection with the conduct of our CX surveys in several countries.

The specific findings mentioned in this article are based on 864 responses from Danish golfers. All results are weighted in relation to gender, age, type of golfership, how often one plays golf, NPS, loyalty, and what type of golfer they are (very attached to the club or more independent of the club and its activities).




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