This is how every golf club in the country could get their waiting lists back

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 23, 2014 05:55 Updated

Demand from women to play golf is so strong that every golf club in the UK could have waiting lists for membership categories, according to an astonishing new survey.

2011 Ricoh Women's British Open Final Practice Round

Golf clubs were famous for having waiting lists, which meant prospective members had to sometimes wait several years until they could join the club, up until the 1990s. However, an increase in golf courses and a decline in memberships of clubs have seen most clubs lose their waiting lists. In fact an England Golf survey in 2013 found that the average golf club now has vacancies for 132 members, collectively equating to about 330,000 spaces that need filling.

However, another survey on the golf industry by Syngenta, carried out by GfK, has found that approximately 640,000 women are ‘very interested’ in taking up golf and 3.8 million are ‘somewhat interested’.


The research found that one in 20 women are very keen to try golf while nearly a third of all women could be persuaded to become golfers.

The UK currently has one of the worst levels of participation in the world for women – just 14 percent of all members of UK golf clubs are female, lower than in the USA, Australia and almost every other European country, where the average is 25 percent.

The new research finds that if every woman who was ‘very interested’ in taking up golf was introduced to the game and converted into a member then clubs would see their 132-strong vacancies wiped out and waiting lists of approximately 124 people introduced instead. This figure is exclusive of the 3.8 million women who are somewhat interested in taking up golf, the 1.7 million young people also ‘somewhat interested’ in playing the game according to Syngenta reseach and the 62,000 adolescents ‘very interested’ in taking up golf, according to the same survey.

“Building on our previous research, we knew that there was a level of interest in golf among non-players, and proportionately more among women and young people, but we wanted to gauge how strong this interest was,” said Simon Elsworth, Syngenta head of turf and landscape (EAME).

“What we have found is a very strong interest in golf and an indication that this is a fertile market with a specific opportunity to grow the game around female and youth participation. However, how many of these prospects can be converted into regular golfers depends on a multitude of factors from access to affordable golf lessons to the friendliness and flexibility of golf clubs and courses.”

women golf 2
A spokesman added that the research shows that golf clubs need to become more family friendly, with flexible membership options and more relaxed rules and regulations in order to attract women. It also indicated the need for access to affordable golf lessons and a preference for female-only beginner classes.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 23, 2014 05:55 Updated
  • http://Www.blankneygolfclub.co.uk Bradders

    Like a lot of clubs we have seen a reduction in ladies membership and this is what we’ve done. We have classes on a Tuesday and Saturday (most weeks) and have been doing so for over a year now. They are £6.00 and the ladies don’t need to book, just turn up and enjoy a golf work-out amongst like minded ladies. It costs £2.00 to hire a basket of balls so for £6.00 it’s great value. I’ve been out there for an hour with 1 lady on more than 1 occasion but that didn’t matter, we get 5-6 every Tuesday and Saturday now and it’s great fun, starting to do later classes and get out on the course now in a Texas scramble format which the ladies really enjoy. We have spent nothing on advertising and we are determined to keep this going through the winter, less times, but we are creating a new lady learners club. A low cost entry level membership will be next and a most enjoyable “pathway to golf” without the usual pressure of full on membership. Social golf amongst friends and family…fits the demand and is working. Happy days at Blankney with a product for the trend!

  • Junkie

    Beeing back from a golfing trip to scotland, I´m really astonished, that most of the courses I´ve played don´t have any real ladies-tees! Just two red markers at the very edge of the mens tees ant thats it. Ithink it´s not really fun to play a 200y par three, which only the very best ladies can reach, or to play par 4s that you can just reach in three strikes. The only concession is, that you have 3 or maybe 4 par fives on 9 holes!
    The clubs should invest and build ladies-tees, that are appopriate for the lenghts that ladies normally play. That would bring much more fun for the womens interested in golf.

    Susanne from Germany