You want to bring some newbies to the golf course and ensure they have a stellar experience that leaves them with the golf bug, but how do you choose the perfect golf course for that first round?
Whether you’re inviting your friend to learn the game or booking a fun event for a group of ladies, here are a few tips from Donna Hoffman, founder of Women On Course, about scouting our the perfect location for a women’s golf outing. (Hint, hint: golf course operators, you may want to read this too).
1. Google it
Hoffman begins by checking out a course’s website, but it’s more than looking for beautiful photos and a killer happy hour menu (which is still a plus).
“When I’m researching several locations for my next event, I look at the golf course’s messaging on the website—descriptions along the lines of ‘a fun and friendly place for all skill levels’,” she said. “It doesn’t mean a course can’t be challenging, because we teach our ladies that you can learn to play from 150 yards and in, but it can still be inviting to all.”
Hoffman also checks if the course has a female instructor on staff, a wide variety of tee markers, and events geared toward women: clinics, ladies’ leagues, outings, etc.
2. What’s in the shop?
When calling the course to book a tee time, Hoffman suggests asking the staff if they carry golf essentials for women—gloves, balls, hats, rental clubs, etc.
“If they don’t carry basic products for women, it sends a message that female customers are not important enough to offer great service,” she said. “Pro shops sometimes don’t make the effort because they think they don’t have enough customers, but it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy—if a course doesn’t cater to women, the women are going to find somewhere else to play.”
3. The 19th Hole
If a course has a bar or restaurant menu on their website, look to see if they include some healthy snacks, which are a big plus. Additionally, golfers are likely to stick around longer when they can satiate their appetite with something they like.
“Having healthier food options is important for many golfers, not just women,” Hoffman said. “There’s nothing wrong with burgers and hotdogs, but it’s nice to have a few more options.”
Oh, and find out if the course sells wine on the beverage cart.
“We give a big cheers for wine on the course,” Hoffman said. “Just don’t run out of wine glasses at the bar—we had a golf event once where the restaurant ran out of wine glasses and they had to serve us in beer mugs.”
4. It’s the little things . . .
If you are a regular golfer, it is easy to take for granted knowing where everything is located and the routine of checking in, but for a beginner, it can be a little intimidating. When looking for a beginner-friendly course, look for places that have frequent and welcoming signage around the property.
“Sometimes you get to the bag drop, but there’s no attendant. I understand sometimes the staff wears many hats, but a simple solution is to put up a welcome sign inviting golfers to leave their bag and what direction to find the pro shop,” Hoffman said.
5. It all comes down to the people
Hoffman has planned hundreds of women’s golf events, and a staff’s attention to detail is what sells the overall experience. A smile and welcoming atmosphere from the golf course staff goes a long way from the moment you step onto the property.
“There was one course we worked with—they didn’t have the fanciest course or a lot of amenities you see at other places, just a simple snack shop. But they treated the ladies like royalty,” Hoffman said. “During a rain delay, the staff offered everyone free hotdogs, and the ladies had a blast, so we’ve gone back for multiple events—now they are loyal customers.”