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Women's Golf Day is Coming Up: Are You Ready?

Women's Golf Day is Coming Up: Are You Ready?

The game of golf is entering into an exciting new phase. With participation still on the rise since the pandemic, a dynamic new cohort of young personalities and brands as well as a growing number of women and minorities playing the game, the culture is changing for the better. Another massive driver of this change? The fact that Women’s Golf Day is going strong. In fact, it’s grown into a weeklong, global celebration.

Keep reading as we dig into what Women’s Golf Day is, and why it’s important. We also profile golf industry professionals at Lightspeed courses about Women’s Golf Day events, how they got involved in golf and how they are working to make golf more accessible.


What is Women’s Golf Day and how does it work?

Women’s Golf Day or WGD is an international initiative to get more women interested in golf while encouraging and uplifting those who already play. The event happens each year and has grown into a weeklong initiative that takes place at golf courses worldwide. In 2024, it will take place from May 28th to June 4th.

  • Typically, Women’s Golf Day events are four hours long and feature two hours of golf, followed by two hours of socializing
  • The golf component can consist of a nine-hole round, lesson, club fitting, product demo, or practice session on the driving range
  • After golf, participants socialize over drinks and food
  • In some cases, golf courses also add guest speakers and corporate networking elements to the social part of the event

The goal is really to make golf more fun and accessible for girls and women around the world. Our vision is to help lead the growth by giving women an opportunity and unity—no matter the race, religion, language, geography, or economic status and I think that has been a pivotal part for us.

– Elisa Gaudet, Founder of Women’s Golf Day


Why is Women’s Golf Day so important?

There’s no denying that the number of women golfers is on the rise and that there is a concerted effort to keep those participation numbers growing going forward. These on-course metrics are significant, as careers in golf are often predicated on an interest in playing golf.

  • According to the NGF, the number of women golfers in the United States has grown by 15% since 2019. Plus, more than 36% of new junior golfers are girls
  • The NGF also reports ​​that women now comprise 25% of all on-course golfers – a new high mark in representativeness

These figures are definitely encouraging, but there is still a long way to go. This is why initiatives like Women’s Golf Day are so important to the future of the game. Not only does it encourage more women to play and learn the game together, it also gets young women and girls out who represent the future of the sport.


How do I run a Women’s Golf Day event at my course?

It’s not hard to host a Women’s Golf Day event at your golf course. You simply have to register online right here. When you register, you get access to all the promotional and branding materials that the Women’s Golf Day team has developed, plus your course will be promoted on their website and benefit from the promotion of the overall event online.

How you run your Women’s Golf Day is entirely up to you. Some golf courses charge full price, others offer discounts, while others provide free club fitting and social events. There’s no specific way of running a Women’s Golf Day event, but their team is happy to help you come up with ideas and direction.


Swan Lake Golf Club and Women’s Golf Day

Swan Lake Golf Club is located on Long Island near the scenic town of Manorville, New York. Set among pine barrens, cranberry bogs and scenic natural beauty, it is a go-to destination for public golf on Long Island.

With excellent amenities and a beautiful layout that’s ideal for beginners, casual players and advanced golfers alike, Swan Lake aims to deliver an exceptional experience for everyone.

For General Manager, Director of Golf and certified PGA Professional Peter Cowan, what’s stood out most to him about Swan Lake in his three years on the job has been the passion of the players that play there.

swan lake golf club

On how Swan Lake initially got involved with Women’s Golf Day

Swan Lake has been involved with Women’s Golf Day since 2020 and the course’s enthusiastic participation comes down to one of Swan Lake’s owners, Tracy Feldman. For Tracy, it started when she heard Elisa Gaudet, Founder of Women’s Golf Day, speak:

“I first learned of Women’s Golf Day at the NGCOA and PGA Show 3 years ago right before COVID. I attended the seminar WGD had at the PGA Show and was impressed with Elisa’s vision. A few weeks later I attended the women’s leadership breakfast at The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens and ran into Elisa and [Women’s Golf Day Operations Officer] Mary Kay Willson. They offered a free promotion to sign up that year. So we joined and the event has grown each year.”

On the importance of Women’s Golf Day for Tracy Feldman

For Tracy, Women’s Golf Day is an initiative that has the power to vastly improve how (and how many) women interact with the game of golf. It reinforces the importance of women to the game both on and off the course:

“50% of the owners are women here at Swan Lake. At the NGCOA, I have met so many women who are owners and a few who are the sole course owners, so the business side of the industry definitely knows how important women are to the future of golf.”

“It really is a networking opportunity for women of all businesses to connect in the same ways men have been doing for a long time. These events are also for women of all ages and it makes them feel welcome on the course. It proves to women that golf course businesses respect that they represent 25% of all golfers and that the number is growing.”

“So many more women’s golf groups are popping up every year and they all offer different types of friendships at every age group whether you are young and starting out, in your 40’s/50’s or retired and above. Women’s Golf Day is a leader in this field.”

On the importance of Women’s Golf Day for Peter Cowan

For Peter, one of the most important reasons for participating in Women’s Golf Day is to ensure that people know that Swan Lake, and golf in general, is for everyone to enjoy:

“We want everyone to come and enjoy themselves at Swan Lake. I think that’s so important for young girls playing golf to understand that golf is a sport for all people, all genders, everybody.”

“We want them to feel good about themselves out on the golf course and feel that they belong out there. It’s horrible to feel like you don’t belong somewhere, regardless of what you’re doing. So we want everyone to feel like they’re part of the golfing family here.”


Morningstar Golf Club and Women’s Golf Day

Morningstar Golf Club is a public golf course serving the community of Parksville, British Columbia on beautiful Vancouver Island.

Morningstar’s commitment to providing great golf, great amenities and great practice facilities while remaining open and accessible to all golfers makes it an ideal venue to champion Women’s Golf Day.

It also helps to have buy-in from Head Professional Mike Loewen, who focuses on making the game more inviting and accessible for newcomers.

“As PGA pros, one of the biggest parts of our job is promoting the game of golf, getting people involved and making it accessible. So I mean that to me, is what [Women’s Golf Day] is all about—grassroots and bringing new people to the game.”

women's golf day at morningstar golf club women's golf day at morningstar how morningstar golf club is celebrating women's golf day

On what Morningstar hopes to achieve with Women’s Golf Day

For Mike, the purpose of participating in Women’s Golf Day is growing the game and trying to get more newcomers to fall in love with it the way so many people have:

“We want to promote golf in general, get new people out and capture their attention with the fact that golf is actually fun and accessible for everybody. We want to get them to come back and really enjoy it.”

By broadening people’s horizons, making the game about socializing with friends players of all skill levels and by starting people off with instruction rather than throwing them into a round of golf before they are ready, Morningstar is living up to the true point of Women’s Golf Day as a global movement:

“Introducing women and girls to golf and celebrating existing players by joining them together irrespective of gender, race, religion, language, ethnicity, or location.”


Celebrating women in the golf industry

Given that many still see golf as a male-dominated sport bogged down by exclusivity, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge those who are advocating for change and creating a more inclusive environment for women and other underrepresented demographics.

We spoke with two highly successful, insightful women in golf for their perspective on the industry, their current roles and their advice for women looking to get involved in the game.


Cathy Harbin: Owner of Pine Ridge Golf Course

PGA Master Professional Cathy Harbin has one of the more impressive golf industry CVs you’re likely to come across. As if owning Pine Ridge Golf Course in Paris, Texas wasn’t enough, Cathy is the At-Large Director on the PGA of America Board of Directors and the Vice President of the National Golf Course Owners’ Association (NGCOA), among other roles both past and current.

And yet, for such a decorated career, Cathy’s first foray into the golf business was prompted by an uncertainty of the career path she wanted to follow. After playing collegiate golf and competing on mini-tours after college, Cathy landed in the industry as an Assistant Golf Professional.

“I went into the golf business straight out of college, and I thought ‘I’m going to go work in golf until I decide what to do with my life’, and here I am, thirty-plus years later, still in the golf business.”

We celebrate women in the golf industry like Cathy Harbin, owner of Pine Ridge Golf Course

Ultimately, what compelled her to stay was the community, her love of the game and her passion for seeing others fall in love with it the way she did.

“I landed in the club professional business and loved it, I loved being part of the community, I loved waking up every day and going to the golf course. It was easy for me to decide on that career path because it resonated so much with what I wanted to do, which was to provide a great experience for people who wanted to enjoy the game of golf.”

Her commitment to providing a great experience for people who want to enjoy golf is at the core of what makes Cathy Harbin so good for the game. From her golf course business and her work with the PGA of America and the NGCOA to the way she speaks about making the game more accessible for people of all genders, races, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds, it’s been a consistent focus during her time in the industry.

On her path to owning Pine Ridge Golf Course

While Cathy took a seminar on how to buy a golf course in 1988, she didn’t actually purchase Pine Ridge until 2017. During the intervening years, she was the General Manager of the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida (home of the World Golf Hall of Fame) for 12 years.

“I was a female General Manager in the year 2000, back when women weren’t getting hired to be Head Professionals, I was at a premiere golf facility as a General Manager.”

Following this, Cathy moved from Florida to Texas to become the Vice President of ClubCorp. And yet despite landing another highly prominent role in the industry, the desire to own a course of her own was still there. “Always in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that one day I am going to buy a golf course.”

After four years at ClubCorp, she began looking in earnest across the Southern United States and places that she had worked in the past before finding “a nice little golf course in Paris, Texas.”

On how she found success in a male-dominated industry and her advice for others

When she was starting her career, Cathy says that it was uncommon to see women in the types of positions she would come to hold.

“In my early years it was rare to see a woman in some of the positions that I had, as far as a Head Golf Professional or a General Manager.”

Despite systemic organizational and cultural hurdles, Cathy advanced her career. She attributes her success to self-belief and encourages women who still face this type of adversity to lean on theirs.

“I would say to most women who enter the golf industry that my biggest asset is that I always believed I belonged in that room. I always believed I had the skill set, I had the knowledge, I had the experience, I had the presence, I had whatever I thought I needed to be successful in this industry. Also, I was never in a room that I didn’t feel I belonged in or where I didn’t feel I had the same tools that everyone else had.”

“You know you belong. And you just need to carry yourself in that manner.”

On the perspective she brings to the golf industry

Cathy is acutely aware of the unique path she took to the boardroom of the PGA of America. When she first started, she was the only female member of the board.

“We look around this room and we think we’re all golf professionals, we all got here by similar paths, but rest assured that my path was different. I had different challenges, I had different things I needed to maneuver around.”

And it’s in this position of influence where her unique perspective on the industry can lead to positive change.

“My vision is very open, where I would say the people who didn’t have challenges and never faced any adversity have a more narrow vision. It’s my hope that by being in the room, I can help some of my colleagues see things in a different way.”

On the work that still needs doing in golf

When it comes to the changes that Cathy is still pushing to see in the game, there are a few that she believes are crucial. As a golf course owner herself, the first is one that is obviously near and dear to her heart and to her business.

“I think we still need to be very mindful of creating more welcoming golf facilities. If you’ve never walked into a golf shop and had someone look at you and think ‘what are you doing here’ it’s impossible to know what that feels like. So the first thing I would love to see golf professionals learn more about is how to welcome everyone.”

Another area where Cathy believes change is essential is to see women and minority groups represented in positions of influence in the golf industry.

“You may have a diverse workforce, but you don’t have a diverse executive team.”

On encouraging trends

Despite acknowledging that there is still plenty of work to be done to make golf more inclusive, Cathy also says that she sees more diversity in the game than ever.

“I am definitely seeing more diversity in the game. I’m seeing it in participation from a player standpoint, I’m also seeing it at golf facilities where golf professionals are significantly more diverse than they have ever been.”

Cathy says that when she first bought Pine Ridge, she said it took months before she saw a golfer who was a woman or a junior.

“If you come here on any given day now, you’re going to see about half of the participants are either women or junior golfers. It goes back to the point that when people feel welcome, or when they see a role model that looks like them, it just leads to more participation.”

At the organizational level, Cathy says that after years of simply talking about how to make the game more inclusive for women and minorities, organizations like the PGA of America, the NGCOA, the USGA and even the PGA Tour are finally starting to make strides.

She also points to the formation of groups like Make Golf Your Thing—an organization founded in 2021 that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion in golf and encourages people to enjoy golf in their own way—as positive signs that the game’s culture is changing for the better.

On making the game more fun and welcoming at Pine Ridge

For Cathy, one of the surest ways to break down golf’s self-imposed barriers to participation is to strip it of its intimidation, seriousness and exclusivity. In other words—just make it fun for everyone!

From Wild Wednesdays where customers pay a dollar a hole to play as many holes as they want to live music on the driving range and other community-driven events, Cathy’s team at Pine Ridge want golfers of all stripes to feel welcome and have fun with the game.

“I think for us it’s about the culture we build at the golf course where every single person that walks through that door feels like we are glad they are there and they have the opportunity to love the game of golf as much as we do.”


Shannon McGeady: CPGA Head Professional at Tobiano Golf Course

Like so many other golfers, Shannon McGeady’s love of the game started at an early age.

“I started going to the golf course with my parents when I was about 6 or 7 years old. At that time I would just hit a few shots here and there, mostly I would just run up and down the fairways. I started actually playing when I was about 11 years old. I started playing competitively when I was about 15 and just fell in love with it from there.”

But unlike many other golfers, whose love of the game translates to casual weekend rounds with friends, Shannon was able channel her passion and hone her skills to the point where national competitions and a professional career in the game became viable options.

“I was fortunate enough to play in numerous Canadian Championships throughout my Junior and Amateur years. I made the decision to pursue golf as a career in 2006 and attended the PGM (Professional Golf Management) program in Lethbridge Alberta and became a professional in 2008.”

Following her move to British Columbia, Shannon was approached by the GM of Tobiano Golf Course (named Canada’s “Best New Golf Course” in 2008 by Golf Digest) about the Head Professional position. Even at the time, she knew it was a great opportunity.

“When I was appointed to the position, I was one of only four Female Head Professionals in the province. Since then B.C has seen a large growth in females holding prominent positions at all types of facilities.”

On how being a woman has impacted her career in golf

Shannon acknowledges that navigating a career in golf as a woman has presented certain difficulties that she has had to overcome via experience, hard work and self belief.

“It definitely has come with its challenges. Lucky for me I have been working in the industry since I was about 16 so I gained a pretty good understanding of how it worked from a young age. It took a while to be taken seriously as someone who could provide insight and knowledge to the guests coming through the door. I think that it forced me to work harder and become more confident in the skills and knowledge that I bring to the table.”

Shannon also believes that her years of industry experience have given her a unique perspective that allows her to provide the best possible experience for golfers who come to Tobiano.

“I have worked at private, semi private, municipal, and resort golf courses. Through working at all these different types of facilities I have been able to take a little bit of what works at each place and create the environment and experience that we want to offer at [Tobiano].”

On her mission as a CPGA Golf Professional

For Shannon, creating the best possible experience for every golfer who visits Tobiano is her primary motivation. She sees these positive experiences as essential to fostering a love of Tobiano, a love of golf in general and, ultimately, growing the game for everyone.

“My mission is to create a positive, memorable experience for everyone who comes to the facility, whether it be to take a lesson or just play a round with their friends. The more fun they have the more likely they will be to continue on in the sport and come back to the facility.”

Advice for women looking to break into the golf industry

Shannon’s advice for women who are in the golf industry or looking to start their careers comes down to maintaining self-belief in the face of adversity and having confidence in what they bring to the table.

“My advice would be to be yourself at all times. Not everyone is going to agree with you and your methods and not everyone is going to like you. As long as you are confident in who you are and what you are doing, people will respect you.”


Lightspeed celebrates all the courses and businesses who are participating this year

Initiatives like Women’s Golf Day are essential. Not only does it show how far the game has come even in the last few decades, but it also shows that the industry understands there is still work to do to ensure that golf is inclusive, accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

That’s why it’s so encouraging to see such widespread industry involvement worldwide. From local public courses and private clubs, to retailers and major sponsors, Women’s Golf Day has truly turned into a movement and shows no signs of slowing down.

If you’re a woman in the golf industry using Lightspeed at your course, we want to tell your story. Please reach out to us using the form on this page so we can celebrate your success.

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