Golf industry focuses on tapping female market

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The golf section at Isetan’s Shinjuku main store in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo

The golf industry is taking advantage of the sport’s growing popularity by enhancing services for women and expanding sales floors in department stores.

With the easing of restrictions on activities amid the coronavirus pandemic, golf is attracting attention as a way for those who refrained from going out to exercise. The sport also provides a way for people to socialize while avoiding the Three Cs of closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

The popularity of women’s professional golf has provided a tailwind, leading to an increase in the number of young people purchasing golf club memberships.

Isetan’s Shinjuku main store in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, expanded its golf section by 30% in March when priority measures were lifted. The department, lined with golf clubs and brightly colored clothing, also has an area where customers can test out various clubs to add to their own set.

About 25% of the 4,000 clubs the store has for sale are for women.

Previously, the shop’s clientele was mostly men. But recently more women have started posting photos of themselves wearing fashionable golf clothes.

“We’re seeing more women in their 20s and 30s who are interested in [golf] as a new way to socialize,” said an Isetan employee at the golf section.

The Shinjuku Takashimaya department store in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, also revamped its golf section this spring to attract more female customers.

The number of golf shops offering services to attract more women is also increasing.

In February and March, the indoor driving range PGM Golf Academy Ginza offered beginner lessons for women.

When it first opened in 2018, only about 20% of the customers were women, but that number has grown to about 40%. The company plans to expand its sales of items for women in the future.

In May 2021, sports consultant Triple Double Corp. launched a women’s golf club subscription service. The service offers a set of clubs worth approximately ¥300,000 for a monthly fee of ¥3,058.

The service is popular as subscribers simply rent the clubs at affiliated driving ranges and return them when they are done.

Sales at golf courses rose 7.8% year-on-year to approximately ¥7 billion in March 2022, according to statistics released by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry. The market for golf equipment and related services is expected to expand.

Sakura Golf Corp., a leading club membership broker, reports that while the percentage of people purchasing memberships who are 60 or older is declining, the percentage of those in their 30s or younger is increasing. In 2021, 3.6% of those purchasing club memberships were in their 30s or younger, 3.6 times the figure five years ago.