by Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
Much has been written about how planners can best manage golf tournaments in conjunction with our meetings and events. What, if anything, is different when the event includes – or better yet, is exclusively - for women? According to Sandy Cross, PGA of America’s Director of Women’s and New Market Initiatives, “The meeting planning industry is dominated by women and often times these planners don’t play golf. An understanding of the game and the ability to be comfortable on the golf course can put the planners on equal ground with their peers.”
After you’ve checked out these informative websites and gotten excited about all the golf related possibilities you could include with your meetings, exactly what can a planner do to get swing savvy? “Get Golf Ready” (GGR) is an initiative backed by the PGA of America and is aimed at helping to grow women’s participation in the game. It starts with women-centric events that are hosted in comfortable group, non-golf settings and are a fun, engaging entry for women to learn more about the game with their friends and colleagues. Let’s say you put one of these ‘Power Golf Mixers’ on your program for an evening reception. This allows your group to learn some of the basic terms, actually grip the feel of a club and hear an entertaining presentation about rules and etiquette (many times one of the intimidating factors that keeps potential players from signing up). Sounds interesting and educating in a relaxed, fun atmosphere, right? This is where “Get Golf Ready” really comes into play.
For those interested in further participation, GGR offers a package of five lessons that concentrate on basic skills, instruction and information on rules, etiquette and values. Participants will learn techniques for chipping, putting, full swing and bunker play along with fundamental guidelines of golf equipment, keeping score and navigating the course. Prices can vary by facility but many times are as low as $99 per person for the GGR program. Now in its sixth year, there are well over 2,400 facilities nationwide that offer this innovative package and to date, more than 85,000 enrollees have participated with 60% of that number being female. Plus, once you graduate from all five lessons you are offered a smooth transition into GGR graduate outings as well as free and low-cost programs offered at a variety of facilities around the country.
According to Sandy, “There is a pervasive perception that the guys are better players than women, and in order to dispel this myth we have to initiate more women into the whole culture of golf.
GGR is the perfect format to help women build their own confidence about golf in order to advance their game and careers via the networking that goes on during the game. Women players have got to move from practicing the game to getting out on the course just like men, one game at a time. The entire business world is now coed and golf should be, too!”
If all of the above hasn’t provided enough enticement to get you excited about including something related to female golf in your next convention program, how about contacting Jenn Harris, the High Heel Golfer? Jenn believes that “hitting like a girl is a good thing” and her company offers distinctive, personalized programs such as High Heel Golfer Clinics, Workshops and Happy Hours with open golf instruction as well as fun and informative discussions. Jenn says that “confidence [on the course] isn’t about how well you play as much as it is about your behavior on and around the golf course.”
Instead of shying away from a golf activity when the topic comes up at your next staff planning session, check out some of the resources listed above and then step confidently into the world of golf event planning. As the saying goes, “try it, you might like it!” or in this case, “swing like you mean it!”