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HOW MANY WOMEN GOLFERS ARE THERE IN THE US?  IN THE WORLD?

HOW OFTEN TO THEY PLAY?   HOW WELL?


 

MANY VISITORS COME TO THIS SITE LOOKING FOR NUMBERS .. ABOUT WOMEN GOLFERS... WOMEN'S GOLF SCORES... AGES OF WOMEN GOLFERS AND HANDICAP INFORMATION.  THAT INFORMATION IS LOCATED IN THE "HOW MANY GOLFERS" TAB.  

BUT HERE ARE SOME ANSWERS TO FREQUENT QUERIES -- ABOUT THE NUMBERS:

What is the average score of women golfers?  Let's look first at the USGA Handicap System scores.  The average official handicap of women golfers who report on the GHIN system is 26.  The median handicap is just about the same.  But that number can be misleading because many women do not report their handicap on the GHIN system.  Many golf facilities use state golf organizations for registering handicaps.  State systems or other "club-systems" still use the official USGA Handicap Index formula but just aren't included in the average. A bigger issue is that not ALL women even maintain "official" handicaps.  My guess is that probably one-third of the women golfers in the U.S. do not keep handicaps and that those women probably do not play competitively or all that often and have higher scores.  If ALL women golfers in the U.S. posted their scores, my estimate is that 50% of all women golfers would score over 100 on most golf courses.  

How many rounds of golf does the "average" woman play.  The reported average is usually around 18-20.  But the statistics for rounds used in computing the "average" does not include play at Par 3 courses or Executive coures.  And "average" is misleading. The most recent figures from the National Golf Foundation report that women between the ages of 18-34 play about 11 rounds per year.  In contrast, women 65 and older play an "average' number of 45 rounds per year.   It is very difficult to talk "averages." A more meaningful statistic is that about one-half of all women golfers in the U.S. play six or less rounds a year.  

So in answer to "How many rounds do women golfers play?"  My answer is:  "NOT ENOUGH!"  Only 24% of golfers (age 6 and older) in the U.S. are female.  Compare that to Germany with 39% female golfers or the Netherlands and Sweden where 33% of all golfers are women.    

SEE NANCY'S BLOG FOR UPDATES ON THE NUMBER OF GOLFERS IN THE U.S. 

HOW MANY WOMEN GOLFERS ARE THERE IN THE U.S.?  Based on the 2018 report from the National Golf Foundation (reporting data for 2017), there are 4.9 million women age 18 and older that are golfers (play at least one round a year)-- that has not changed since 2016.  In 2017, there were 16.2 million male golfers -- and increase over 2016.  In 2017, the number of girls increased and the number of boys decreased slightly.   The total number of female golfers is about 24% of all golfers in the U.S.  

ARE WOMEN GOLFERS IN THE U.S.INCREASING OR DECREASING... GROWING OR DECLINING? This is the question Google reports is asked very often for this website.  The number of women golfers has increased over the last few years but has not returned to record numbers in 2006 and 2007.   The steady increase in the number of girls playing golf over the last few years is likely to result in an increase in women golfers over the long term.

 

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THE FOLLOWING MATERIALS APPEARED IN EARLIER VERSIONS OF THIS WEBSITE.  FOR THOSE WHO LIKE NUMBERS AND TRENDS, IT STILL MAY BE OF INTEREST.  

HERE ARE THE MOST UP-TO-DATE STATISTICS (as of June 2011) REGARDING THE NUMBER OF ADULT AND JUNIOR GOLFERS BASED ON DATA FROM THE NATIONAL GOLF FOUNDATION (NGF).   

Based on the NGF survey methodology, these numbers reflect adults and juniors who responded in surveys to have played at least one round of golf during the previous year.  Adults and juniors who are taking lessons, practicing at driving ranges and just playing a few holes are not included in these statistics nor are golfers that previously played but not in the last survey year.  Because of the survey methodology, the number of adults and juniors in the U.S. who think that they have “played” golf or who consider themselves "golfers" is probably larger.   In addition, recent surveys by the NGF and the PGA of America indicate that a large number of “non-golfers” express a strong interest in learning the game. 

Some quick observations of the following table:  (numbers in millions)

  • The number of total golfers in the U.S. (age 6 and older) has continued its decline since 2005 -- from 30 million to 26 million.  There was a 3% decline in Total Golfers in 2010 compared to 2009
  • Adult female and male golfers segments have both declined.
  • Junior girls (ages 6-17) are holding steady and continue to be the “sweet spot” in the market.  
  • The steady decline over the last five years of the number of junior boys playing golf is something to think about.  What explains that decline?

 

2005-2006 WAS A HIGH POINT FOR TOTAL GOLFERS AND MALE, FEMALE AND JUNIOR SEGMENTS.  IN TJE WAY OF BACKGROUND, THOSE YEARS WERE THE PEAK OF THE REAL ESTATE BOOM AND GENERAL FEELING OF PROSPERITY.   A FEW YEARS LATER, THE GOLF STATISTICS REFLECT THE GENERAL DOWTURN IN THE ECONOMY.

 

 *numbers in millions    

   1998

 1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

  2006

  2007

 2008   

        

2009 

2010

 

 

Adult Female 18+

4.7

4.4

4.9

6.3

5.6

6.4

6.1

6.3

6.5

6.0

5.2

   4.8

4.7

Adult Male 18+

18.4

18.9

20.9

20.2

20.4

20.6

19.7

19.8

19.7

20.1

20.5

   19.6

18.9

Total Adults

23.1

23.3

25.8

26.5

26

27

25.8

26.1

26.2

26.1

25.7

  24.4

23.6

 

 

Girls 6-17

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.7

0.6

0.6

0.6

Boys 6-17

2.6

2.4

2.5

2.8

3.2

2.9

3.4

3.2

3.0

2.8

2.3

2.1

1.9

Total Juniors

3.1

2.8

2.9

3.4

3.9

3.6

4.2

3.9

3.6

3.5

2.9

2.7

2.5

 

 

 

Total Golfers

26.1

26.1

29

29.8

29.9

30.6

29.8

30.0

29.8

29.5

28.6

27.1

26.2

 

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Previous Statistics about Women and Girl Golfers:

Following are statistics from previous years that have been released by the National Golf Foundation.  Although they are technically out-dated, they are interesting to look at. 

2007 Statistics

This summer 2007, the National Golf Foundation released the 2006 golf participation numbers.  The methodology for the 2006 study is new which means that the numbers are not comparable to previous years.  The new study reports that there are 5,466,000 adult women golfers (age 18 or older who report playing at least one round in the last 12 months).  That represents 22.8% of the total 23,925,000 adult golfers.  The percentage of women golfers has in fact slipped a little.  Of course, this is only a measure of "golfers" -- not those who only visit practice ranges or play short courses.  Those numbers are hard to come by.

1998-2005 Statistics (This is a different methodolgy than 2006.)

These numbers do not include men and women who practice and play only at ranges and short courses.   

 

                        1998   1999   2000   2001   2002   2003   2004  2005

Total (mm)     25.0    25.2    25.4    25.8    26.2    27.4    27.2   28.0

Men              19.4    20.1    19.8    19.6    20.4    20.8    20.3   21.4

Women           5.6      5.1     5.6      6.2      5.8      6.6     6.9     6.6

Women now represent 24% of all golfers over 18.  That's down from 2004.

 Source: National Golf Foundation Golf Industry Report -- www.ngf.org

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More Numbers from previous surveys;  Note, the "needle" doesn't move all that quickly.  For example, the average score of female golfers from studies done a few years ago, probably isn't much different in 2011. 

  • The fastest growing segment of women golfers are those between the ages of 18 and 29.   They represent almost one-quarter of all female golfers.   Young female golfers golf "lite" and average only about three rounds per year.  
  • But, the average score of young women golfers (even when they play only a few times a year) is not much different from older women golfers and those who play frequently.  The average 18-hole scores range from 104 to 109.  (Source:  NGF) 
  • Why do young women who don't play golf often play golf as well as avid, older women golfers?  I think it's because today's younger golfers benefit from better sports education and athletic programs in school -- thanks to Title IX.   Today, there are little girls' soccer teams, baseball teams, lacrosse teams, tennis teams to just name a few.  Contrast that with the dumpy gym uniforms women in their sixties wore in gym classes where the most vigorous sport may have been volleyball. 
  • Older women, however, may be a better golf customer today.  Looking at averages, the older the woman golfer, the more golf she plays. Female golfers over the age of 60 average about 30 rounds per year.  They have more time for the game because they are less likely to be working or raising children. 
  • The fact that older women play lots more golf -- and play at the same skill level for years confirms that golf is a social activity for many women.  Nothing beats several hours on the golf course with good friends -- even if you don't break 100.


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