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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 20% of golfers 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 HOME PAGE FOR UPDATES ON THE NUMBER OF GOLFERS IN THE U.S. AS OF 2016

HOW MANY WOMEN GOLFERS ARE THERE 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.

 

i HAVE KEPT THE  OUT-DATED INFORMATION BELOW ON THIS PAGE JUST SO VIEWERS CAN COMPARE IT TO THE CURRENT AND CURRENT  NUMBERS ON THE HOME PAGE:

FOR YEAR-ENDING 2014: THE NATIONAL GOLF FOUNDATION RELEASED A SUMMARY PARTICIPATION DATA FOR 2014.  THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE NUMBER OF WOMEN AND JUNIOR GOLFERS APPEAR TO HAVE INCREASED.  

BUT SINCE THE RECENT REPORT DID NOT INCLUDE A BREAKDOWN OF CERTAIN SECTORS,

I HAD TO MAKE SOME ESTIMATES -- MARKED WITH AN ASTERISK*.

 ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GOLFERS IN THE U.S. AS OF YEAR-ENDING 2014:

SOURCE:  NATIONAL GOLF FOUNDATION, JUPITER, FLORIDA

all

numbers in     millions    

   

 

 1998   

 

 1999

  

2000

 

2001

 

2002

   

2003

   

2004

   

2005

   

2006

   

2007

 

 

2008 

 

           

 

2009 

           

 

2010

 

      

 

2011     

 

 

2012

 

 

2013

 

 

 

 

*

2014

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

 

  5.1

 

  4.4

 

 4.5

*est

 

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

 

18.2

 

 

18.2

 

18.2

 

17.2

 

*

15.8

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

   23.3

 22.6

21.7

21.5*

 

 

 

 

 

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

  0.5

 0.6

 0.8

*1.0

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

  1.8

 2.0

 2.2

*2.2

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

  2.4

 2.7

 3.0

*3.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 25.7

 25.3

24.7

24.7

*asterisk in 2014 numbers are Berkley estimates derived from National Golf Foundation reports

Please note:  The National Golf Foundation always cautions about drawing too many conclusions from small increases or decreases in the numbers because the changes could result from sampling errors.

BUT HERE IS MY CONCLUSION (UNTIL FURTHER NUMBERS ARE RELEASED.

AS OF JULY 2015, A FAIR ESTIMATE IS THAT THE NUMBER OF WOMEN AND GIRLS PLAYING GOLF IN THE U.S. IS INCREASING.  There are several reasons:  

In general, the U.S. golf industry recognizes that as "older" men (who were "core" golfers playing frequentyly are aging out of the game) growth must come from new sectors, and women have always been recognized as a sector that deserved a little more attention -- and the PGA of America along with other industry associations are providing it.  A second reason is the increasing growth and vision of the LPGA Tour and its Commissioner Mike Whan. Commissioner Whan has waived the age requirement for exceptional young golfers for the LPGA Tour and now Lexi Thompson and Lucy Li and other young girls are projecting a younger image to the game.  That is tied to an increasing attention on girls golf via LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program -- led by an outstanding Director, Kiernan Schindler.  Women's golf, which is getting more TV exposure is looking much more attractive to potential women who might have thought it was an "old-ladies-game."   Augusta National's history of delaying admitting women is now history -- and instead Augusta National via its "Drive Chip and Putt" competition open equally to girls and boys in also putting a more female face on the game.  One more reason to mention is that although the PGA of America does not publish the age of its PGA professionals that manage golf facilities, my experience both on the course and at conferences is that more golf facilties are managed by younger PGA of America professionals.  These are men who who went to grade, high school and college under the Title IX programs which required that sports be offered comparabl to both females and males.  They know that females can play golf!  

After the NGF publishes its final 2014 numbers, look for my article explaining in more detail the number of golfers in the U.S. and their growth rates and why.   

For a good summary of the what women can do to increase participation, see my article "Advice to Women Golfers" in the Articles Tab on this website.

Looking at the bigger picture:  the number of women golfers IN THE WORLD is probably increasing.  The LPGA -- especially the LPGA Tour -- is now a uniquely global tour. It is attracting women golfers and fans particularly in Korea, Thailand, Japan along with Spain, Norway and Sweden, where women's golf has always been strong.  

______________________________

 

FOR THE RECORD:  COMPARE 2014 TO NATIONAL GOLF FOUNDATION OFFICIAL STATISTICS FOR 

YEAR-ENDING 2013

 

 *all

numbers in     millions    

   

 

 1998   

 

 1999

  

2000

 

2001

 

2002

   

2003

   

2004

   

2005

   

2006

   

2007

 

 

2008 

 

           

 

2009 

           

 

2010

 

      

 

2011     

 

 

2012

 

 

2013

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

 

  5.1

 

  4.4

 

 4.5

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

 

18.2

 

 

18.2

 

18.2

 

17.2

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

   23.3

 22.6

21.7

 

 

 

 

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

  0.5

 0.6

 0.8

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

  1.8

 2.0

 2.2

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

  2.4

 2.7

 3.0

 

 

 

 

 

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

 25.7

 25.3

24.7

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

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

 

==============================================================================

 

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

_________________________________________________________________________

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.

See the Following Sections for additional information:

The Numbers! section includes statistics from previous years on women golfers including the rounds played and other attributes of women golfers.  The source for much of the statistical information comes from the National Golf Foundation with help from research director Jim Kass.  The NGF website and its publications www.ngf.org are a good source of further information.  Another good source for current information is the research gathered by Golf 20/20 strategic industry organization found at www.golf2020.com

Industry Trends is a summary compiled by Nancy Berkley of why the women's segment is considered so important in the industry and challenges that remain. 

The History Timeline is a 400 year history of highlights in women's golf. 

For any immediate questions about the women's golf market, contact Nancy using the FREE HELP LINE tab.

 


The term "participants" is a broad category of people who range from dabblers -- those that have hit a few buckets at a practice range -- to avid golfers who golf very regularly.  I like to look at "participants" because it captures the potential of the industry.  The industry under the stewardship of the PGA of America and it's Golf 2.0 initiative is returning to the concept of golf "participant."

Note: the above chart is based on 2003 surveys.  the total number of participants had been increasing slowly over the past few years; and that adult male adult participants have been level while women and boys seem to be increasing the most.  These figures are from the National Golf Foundation.  The 2004 stats from the NGF report (released 6/2/05) do not report or use their previous definition of "participants." 

For a different view of the the Numbers, see Jim Kopenhaver's analysis at www.pellucidcorp.com.  Jim argues that just looking at the number doesn't tell the whole picture because the drop-out rate and attrition is a drag on the industry.  He prefers to look at models of "play-through" analaysis.  His comments and newsletters are thought-provoking and interesting.

For more numbers, see the next tab The Numbers! which are from Nancy Berkley's  "Welcome Welcome Here" book published by the National Golf Foundation.