This month's cover story comes from a trend we've heard a lot about: Women are the fastest-growing group to take up the game of golf, and the fastest-growing group to quit.

Why? I suspect that this has less to do with women's acceptance into this traditionally male bastion than it has to do with a couple of other factors — the first being time. Golf takes time to learn, time to practice, and time to play. Most women are still primarily the ones who run the household — and weekends are for catching up, not playing golf. One solution: Groups such as the Meeting Industry Ladies Organization are encouraging nine-hole rounds. Another: Offer more than one course for an event, and let people choose.

I also see a lack of confidence among women golfers. It's a Catch-22: You can't feel comfortable playing without experience, but you can't get the experience until you feel comfortable. “It's a real problem,” admits Amanda Flangas of the National Association of Golf Tournament Directors. “Women in business still feel intimidated about their skill level. What's ironic is that men might not necessarily be superior in their golf abilities.”

Another problem is that golf is a public sport, and women don't want to be embarrassed in front of others. As Gail Kurisu of Golf Events By Design in Sunnyvale, Calif., puts it, “They want to do everything right. They take lessons, they practice, they learn the rules and etiquette. They're very conscientious about their game, very methodical. But for them to feel comfortable actually going out on a course and playing golf is a huge, huge step.”

Don't miss our cover story, beginning on page 20. And enjoy our Annual Golf Issue — 108 pages designed to help you plan your golf events.

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