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June 2019

What’s holding women back?

By Steve Eubanks

Carol Preisinger
Director of Instruction,
Kiawah Island Club,
Kiawah, South Carolina

Barbara Puett
Director of Instruction
Barton Creek
Austin, Texas

What has been the biggest factor holding women back from committing to game improvement programs and playing on a regular basis?

Preisinger: Two reasons that tie together: Women have to feel like they belong and they have to feel comfortable. For that reason, they have to be invited. They aren’t going to wake up one morning and say, ‘I’m going to learn to play golf,’ and come out to the course. They are more self-conscious about the game. Once they are invited or have a support group with one or two friends, they are more likely to keep coming back. They’re more likely to get instruction and play the game, because they feel safer. Even corporate women feel like they need an invitation.

Puett: Intimidation is the main reason that women do not get into golf. It’s the fear of missing the ball and looking foolish. Men, for whatever reason, don’t seem to care as much about how they look when they’re trying something new. Women have a lot of anxiety about how they will look if they can’t play. So I always tell a woman who is new to golf: bring a friend. When a woman shows up with a friend, it helps her overcome intimidation.

What do you do to help women overcome their Initial anxieties once they are at the golf course? 

Preisinger: We greet them. We want to be there the second they arrive at the facility. Meet them in the parking lot before they’ve gotten out of their cars and show them how glad you are to see them. Greet them like they’ve walked into the best hotel and been met by the nicest doorman in the world. You have to pay attention to them and make them feel comfortable. Engage them. Get to know them.
There also has to be some introductory time, some warm-up time, and not just warming up the body, but warming up the mind and the heart.   

Puett: The first thing I tell women is: The reason we love golf is because how well you play does not determine someone else’s good time.
The second thing I tell them is: It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you are to play with.
Then I always tell them - and they love this one - something Harvey Penick said. “No pretty woman has ever missed a golf shot without a man there giving her bad advice.”
That one always loosens the mood considerably.

Steve Eubanks is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and New York Times bestselling author.



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