The golf industry is currently undergoing a “churning effect” whereby players are leaving nearly as quickly as they enter; this effect is especially prevalent among women. We examine interviews from male and female golf professionals, as well as transcripts from interviews with female participants of various playing levels and experience, in order to determine the reasons women not only leave golf, but more importantly, why they stay. Our data indicate that once golfers have become hooked on the game, interpersonal and structural constraints have more influence on participation than intrapersonal constraints, whereas women new to golf face intrapersonal constraints (mainly related to ability) and structural constraints (but ones somewhat different from frequent participants). We suggest strategies that might reduce the intrapersonal (helping new players of both sexes achieve a minimal level of mastery), interpersonal (development of a more gender neutral environment to reduce the likelihood of “differentness” being noted), and structural (provision of child care facilities at the course, reducing the 18-hole mentality) constraints.
McGinnis is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Washburn University, Henderson 310-K, 1700 SW College Ave., Topeka, KS; Gentry is the Maurice J. and Alice Hollman Professor of Marketing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.