At the end of play on U. S. Open Sunday, as Webb Simpson was declared our national champion, he was handed the famous U.S.G.A. trophy. He kissed the trophy and posed, while the many took the photo seen round the golf world. Another major, another new champion, a great trophy. Trophies are the recognition that an outstanding achievement was reached. It is part of the reward system for winning. A great trophy is a keepsake for life.
Today, I am discussing a title that came with no visible trophy, no hardware to keep, to shine, and to admire for a lifetime. Title IX, the law passed on June 23rd, 1972 created a level playing field for women scholastic athletes throughout our nation. It was a game changer for this country, far beyond the fields of play. I believe it is no accident that 57% of Bachelor Degrees today are earned by women. Women today feel the open road and have their right foot planted to the floor.
To show some of the changes brought about by this law, here are some concrete numbers. In 1972, 15% of college athletes were women; by 1995 the number was up to 37%. In 1972, women earned 9% of medical degrees; in 1994 that number was 38%. Finally, in 1972 women earned 7% of all law degrees, while in 1994 the number rose to 43%. We know these numbers have increased since that time. For your club, know this number; women drive 82% of our entire economy.
This post is not only meant to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, but to offer five thoughts on how to drive more women to our game and your club. For much of the past 40 years, girls have turned into women athletes, and then into serious working professionals who desire competition and fun. Know that women will bring both friends and family to every new endeavor.
Women can be amazing golfers, customers, and members once you work programs that make sense to their interests, calendar, and day:
- Women want a level playing field, not level fairways. Respect them.
- The opportunities for women and business golf are outstanding. Work for it.
- Build a roster of events which includes friends and several after golf activities.
- Create a menu of membership which offers value, high flexibility, with empathetic service for a woman's frantic lifestyle.
- Women shop, on average 400 hours per year. Appeal to their tastes, interests, and values. Buy right, buy enough, present it as they see it in the great stores, then step back.
Title IX is 40 years old. It is not 1972, let's move her to the front of the tee. There is nothing soft about your opportunity.