NWGA backs female-friendly courses


Sean Dudley

The PGA of America is supporting a scheme that evaluates golf courses to ensure they cater adequately for female players.

The new PGA-published Golf 2.0 Connecting With Her Playbook encourages facilities to become certified by the National Women's Golf Alliance. Launched in 2012, NWGA offers course evaluations, consultation and its Rolling Out the Green Carpet certification programme to assess golf facilities on standards and best practices that make the facility more welcoming and attractive to women.

Former Tom Fazio associate designer Jan Bel Jan is among the founders of the NWGA. Along with the other partners organisations, she is using her years of expertise, data and observation on what keeps women excited about and engaged in golf. Using this information, NWGA has developed a base of standards and best practices to help make golf facilities more welcoming and attractive to women.

“The Connecting With Her Playbook gives courses excellent guidelines to better target women golfers,” said Lynn Stellman, president of Ladies Links For Golf, and another of the NWGA partners. “The NWGA evaluation and certification programme offers independent validation.”

The process involves a trained NWGA evaluator and three female guests playing an eighteen hole round to evaluate the facility on five key areas of focus: playability, service, course amenities, facility amenities and golf programmes. The facility receives a comprehensive written report highlighting areas of excellence and offering recommendations. A second evaluation conducted two to six months later assesses consistency and improvements.

Facilities that achieve a score of 80 per cent or higher in at least three areas of focus earn the Rolling Out the Green Carpet certification. Lasting three years, this designation comes with extensive publicity and marketing, including an insignia to use on promotional materials and in advertising. The annual evaluation fee is US$500 per course, with a three year commitment.

“Our goal is to recognise the golf facilities that are doing a great job of welcoming women,” said Stellman. “We provide very specific recommendations on how to further improve the women's golf experience.”