'Investing In Women’s Golf Is No Longer Merely A Gesture Or A Box-Ticking Exercise'

The appeal of women's golf is as strong as it's ever been on an international scale and becoming a tempting investment for global brands

Lilia Vu tees off at the 18th hole AIG Women's Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's been a gradual process, but it’s really encouraging to see an increasing number of companies and sponsors are realising the value of women’s golf, and how association with it can positively impact their business.

Investing in women’s golf is no longer merely a gesture or a box-ticking exercise; it represents a genuine recognition of the sport's future direction on a global scale and an understanding of the chance to connect with a fresh audience.

Without doubt, women's golf is also benefiting from the ripple effect of successful marketing strategies in other women's sports. Established brands like Barclays and O2, which have long been associated with sports sponsorship, have expanded into women's football and rugby, respectively, with favourable results.

The Women’s Euros in 2022 were a massive trigger and as Director and Women's Sport Lead at M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment Jenny Mitton explains, “Brands were waking up and thinking, ‘Oh, actually, there’s quite a lot of people that are interested in women’s sport, we need to jump on that, we want to engage with these guys because they’re not in men’s sport!”

Nelly Korda at the Honda LPGA Thailand

Honda sponsors the LPGA tournament in Thailand

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Car manufacturer Kia had over a decade-long alliance with the LPGA, Honda, BMW and Buick also feature on the LPGA tournament schedule, and now Ford wants a piece of the action, recently deciding to join the LPGA Tour family. Ford will serve as the title sponsor of the Ford Championship presented by KCC from 28-31 March, where the world's leading female golfers will compete for a $2 million purse.

On announcing the sponsorship, LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said, “We're proud to align with Ford, a global brand that recognises the transformative power of women's sports and shares our commitment to empowering girls and women, both on and off the golf course.”

Amy Yang with her cheque after winning the 2023 CME Champisonship

In 2023 at the CME Group sponsored tournament, Amy Yang took home a $2 million prize, the highest first-place prize on the LPGA Tour 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As global sportswear giants vie for prominence in the female sporting arena, it's also a savvy move for adidas, a main sponsor of the AIG Women’s Open, to secure a new agreement with the Ladies European Tour. This deal involves providing uniforms, footwear, and accessories to all LET tournament staff until the end of the 2026 season.

Speaking of the partnership, Andrew Law, general manager for adidas Golf – EMEA, said: “As we embark on this exciting journey with the Ladies European Tour, it’s truly remarkable to witness the depth of talent and passion within women’s golf. Partnering with the LET allows us to amplify the voices of these extraordinary athletes and showcase their incredible skills to the world.”

One of the latest announcements is that long-standing supporters of women’s golf, Ping, is becoming the official clothing and hardware supplier of the 2024 Justin and Kate Rose sponsored events – the Rose Ladies Series and Rose Ladies Open. 

Recognising the continued growth in women’s golf, Ping’s Managing Director Lisa Lovatt comments: “The talent and enthusiasm within the women’s game is only reaching new heights, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to put our name next to a series that encourages the growth of the sport.”

Ping is a new partner of the Rose Ladies Series

Ping is a new partner for the 2024 Rose Ladies Series

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Now is an opportune moment, with further sponsorship announcements undoubtedly on the horizon. Women's golf has reached new heights of appeal, a testament supported by research conducted last year by the Women’s Sport Trust in partnership with The R&A.

The study revealed that 2.5 million individuals in the UK identify themselves as avid fans of women’s golf, with a significant majority (77%) holding sway over household financial decisions. Moreover, 70% express a more favourable view towards brands endorsing women’s sports, and nearly two-thirds (63%) indicate a willingness to actively support brands promoting women’s sports over those that don’t.

The R&A’s CEO Martin Slumbers said, “Women’s golf is differentiating itself from the men’s game. It has its own personality and appeal, it has its own stars who generate storylines that interest and inspire audiences. We are now starting to see this acknowledged by the wider golf ecosystem and sponsors wanting to support and attach their names to this women’s golf movement, which is fantastic.”

Of course, it's a symbiotic relationship: increased sponsorship translates to heightened visibility for women’s golf. As Slumbers added, “We are seeing more sponsors align themselves with women’s golf which is a credit to how the sport is growing. But there is always more that can be done. We are working toward achieving parity in prize money, equity in media exposure and increasing the fanbase for women’s golf and with the support of committed partners women’s golf will continue to make great strides.”

It’s true, there's still work to be done across various aspects of the women’s game, but there’s a significant increase in appetite, signalling a positive trajectory forward.

Alison Root

Alison Root has over 25 years experience working in media and events, predominantly dedicated to golf, in particular the women’s game. Until 2020, for over a decade Alison edited Women & Golf magazine and website, and is now the full-time Women's Editor for Golf Monthly. Alison is a respected and leading voice in the women's game, overseeing content that communicates to active golfers from grassroots through to the professional scene, and developing collaborative relationships to widen Golf Monthly's female audience across all platforms to elevate women's golf to a new level. She is a 16-handicap golfer (should be better) and despite having had the fantastic opportunity to play some of the best golf courses around the world, Kingsbarns in Scotland is her favourite.