Though women — and specifically girls under 18 — make up golf’s fastest-growing demographic, there is still plenty of work to be done to encourage women to take up the game, and efforts are still underway to make that happen, even at the country-club level.
Enticing more women to take up the game is a topic Carly Schneider spends a lot of time thinking about. Schneider was hired as the Director of Instruction at the Cove Club Golf Course, part of the luxe Cabo Del Sol development in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, during the height of Covid — a booming time for interest in golf. Schneider took advantage of what was for many a new or renewed interest in the game and managed to attract and retain a significant number of new female players. Here’s how.
Making the game relatable and welcoming
Schneider has a standing weekly program for ladies on Thursday afternoons. Instead of making it golf-centric right off the bat, Schneider says she positions the gathering as more of a social event than a lesson.
“I approach it as just, get to know other ladies that are at the club,” she said. “You don’t have to have any golf experience. You don’t have to have picked up a club at all. Members, depending on how busy the week is, can bring a guest with them. So that’s another great way for them to want to join a program.”
Being consistent — and persistent
“I only have a few ladies who kind of forget it’s always on Thursday,” Schneider said. “But I’m like, ‘Hey, I know you’re in town. Just thinking of you. Hope you can attend.’ They’re like, ‘Oh yeah, of course we’ll come. I wasn’t thinking about it on my calendar.’
“But I keep it on the same day every week and throughout the entire year so whenever anyone comes back into town they can join.”
Bring on the booze!
It’s always easier to try new things with a drink in hand, and golf is no exception. Schneider says that offering a cocktail to get things going makes the session more fun and relaxed — and is an easy enticement for participation.
“I kind of revolve it around a treat,” she said. “So we’ll start at the comfort station and grab a cocktail and play four holes. But some weeks I’ll get some more serious golfers and we’ll actually go play nine holes in the afternoon which can be really fun too. Making it accessible and making it something that somebody is proud to do too, bring a friend, I think that’s been the biggest help there.”
Including the guys
Schneider has also had success building programs for both men and women, like her popular “Tips and Tequila” session.
“Sometimes I’ll have one tip in mind, or I’ll create stations if I have a lot of people. I’ll demonstrate a putting drill, a chipping drill. And then maybe a full swing, just to kind of spread everyone out,” she said. “But it involves tequila and it’s super fun. And it’s also a great way to meet other members.”
Schneider estimates that more than half of the new women who show up to her clinics end up taking up the game more seriously — a boon not only for the club but the game as a whole. And the Cabo Del Sol community is growing. In addition to more residences, a new Four Seasons resort is expected to open later this year.
“Growing the game of golf, and especially when it comes to women and juniors — we’re trying to be so much more inclusive,” Schneider said. “And the Cove Club has just been an incredible facility to initiate those beginner programs.”