Evolution for Women in Golf is Underway, Claims Survey

More women are stamping their mark in golf. Picture by Simon Bruty/USGA.

Seattle, Washington, United States: Golf, a sport founded on traditions dating back over 500 years, has experienced a dramatic shift in attitudes during the past year that confirms it’s no longer just a man’s game.

A new survey conducted by KINONA, a women-led, women-inspired golf apparel brand, reveals evolving perspectives about women and the game, and perhaps for the first time, both women and men agree that golf needs to change.

The first annual KINONA Women in Golf Equality Index found that 54% of survey respondents recognise and believe there is discrimination in the game based on gender.

At the same time, 82% of those that identify as women and 68% of those that identify as men disagree that golf is a man’s sport, showing that women are claiming their place on the course.

In addition, 72% of men admitted that women are more likely to receive unsolicited advice on the course than men, and a nearly identical 71% of women believed the same, a frank admission of culpability by men.

“In a year when golf saw massive growth among all participants, more people are realising that the attitudes surrounding the game are in need of a change,” said KINONA Co-Founder Tami Fujii.

“We are excited to see more women get into the sport and want to help encourage further participation and inclusivity. As a brand, our mission has always been to help women feel confident by broadening opportunities for self-expression on and off the course,” added Fujii.

The survey was conducted against a backdrop of dramatic growth in the number of people playing golf. During the pandemic, golf was one of the few activities that people could participate in safely. According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of female golfers, both adult and junior, rose by approximately 450,000 in 2020.

The KINONA Women in Golf Equality Index asked respondents if they started playing golf during the pandemic and what about the game interests them most. 

Due to the pandemic and social distancing restrictions, 25% of respondents said they were more likely to give golf a try, and nearly 25% of Gen Z and millennial women agreed that the pandemic impacted their decision to get out and try the sport. 

More than half of all survey respondents are interested in golf due to it being an outdoor activity, 42% view it as a healthy sport, and 35% responded that it interests them because it is a social activity they could enjoy with friends or family, a reminder that golf has the potential to bring people together.

Women are also pushing for a change in golf attire. The Index revealed that respondents believe that traditional women’s clothing needs a boost in both performance and panache.

Nearly 70% of female millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer respondents who play golf refuse to wear golf apparel that doesn’t enhance game play. At the same time 76% of Gen Z, 79% of millennials, 90% of Gen X, 85% of Baby Boomers, and 100% of Silent Generation (age 70 and up) women who play golf want to wear stylish and versatile golf attire.

It’s clear that, for women who play golf, the ‘looking great while playing great’ ethos is finally coming to the sport, just as it did for tennis over the last 20 years. 

KINONA Women in Golf Equality Index findings are sourced from an online Xcelerant survey conducted by Directions Research last month and commissioned by KINONA.

The survey was conducted on March 8-9 and distributed to a sample of 1,040 US adults 18 years of age and older, with a 95% confidence level.

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