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Golf Digest Woman - A Second Pass from Conde Nast

By: Nancy Berkley


Take a look at the new GolfDigestWoman.com website. Here's its background and my thoughts about it. The July-August issue of Golf for Women magazine was its last. In case you missed the news, on July 7th Conde Nast announced it was closing down the magazine.

But also on the newsstands at the same time was the August issue of Golf Digest, a brother publication of Conde Nast for male golfers. Both issues were under the guidance of Golf Digest's editor in chief, Jerry Tarde, and I could not help noticing a few striking similarities between them.

Both featured women on the cover: Lorena Ochoa on Golf Digest and Spanish film star and golfer, Ines Sastre, on Golf for Women. With its recent design changes, Golf Digest was actually easy to read, friendlier and appeared less technical. Even the Golf Digest art was cartoon-like and fun. A picture of a little girl was included in a short piece about kids' golf. And there were two great instruction segments by Lorena and Annika.

"Hey, something's going on," I said to myself as I put the magazine down.

To see if I was on to a trend, I recently picked up the new Golf Digest October issue with Hank Haney on the cover. I have an eagle-eye for spotting female-golfer references in publications - or in some cases the absence of them. I read the October issue carefully.

My conclusion: Golf Digest is still a man's magazine but more women will like reading it. I was glad to read Annika's swing lesson. I liked the Merrill ad featuring Annika and the Srixon ball ad that includes a pink sleeve of balls. I like that the Golf Channel ad has a junior girl golfer in it. I was glad to see Stina Sternberg, the former Senior Editor at Golf for Women magazine, with her own column writing about a wife's problem with her husband's golf.

Then I came to the multi-page feature section about private clubs. I have been on the board of my private club in the north, and I am the Golf Committee chair and on the board of my Florida club - also private. I thought the articles were terrific.

Then wow! I noticed the accompanying drawing on page 136-137 in the article "How to Join a Private Club" by Brett Avery. What do you know! Two women were sitting around the table at the board meeting! I don't think that drawing would have appeared in any men's golf magazine a few years ago. (Except maybe in an article by Ron Sirak, executive editor at Conde Nast's GolfWorld, who has always struck a great balance in reporting both men's and women's golf.)

Trying to learn more, I decided to check out the Golf Digest website. What a surprise when Golf Digest Woman popped up - with the lead in "Dear Golfforwomen.com reader." I was right. Something was and is going on at Conde Nast and Golf Digest. Women golfers may be on their radar screen again.

The new GolfDigestWoman.com should be different from its predecessor golfforwomen.com because it will not be singularly focused on driving annual subscriptions to a woman's golf magazine. Or perhaps the new website is the launching pad for some other print publication for women golfers. I have heard these rumors. Or maybe it is just a practical solution for women who still try to go to log into www.golfforwomen.com.

It will take some time to decide whether Conde Nast is really serious about this venture or just dabbling in it. The intro on the website says: "In short, welcome to Golf Digest Woman online, a site that will cover all aspects of the women's game." I sincerely hope they are serious about it.

In the meantime, www.GolfDigestWoman.com will have to come to grips with being an internet company in a bigger company that makes its money selling print advertising and subscriptions. And, Stina Sternberg, its editor, will have to demand resources. For starters: The new website should pop right up on Google with the simple search "women" and "golf." And it doesn't - at least not yet.

If Conde Nast and Golf Digest are really behind GolfDigestWoman.com, then if anyone can make it a success, my money is on Sternberg.

Nancy Berkley, President of Berkley Consulting, is an expert on women's golf. Her book, "Women Welcome Here! A Guide to Growing Women's Golf," published by the National Golf Foundation, is an industry reference on marketing golf to women. She is a contributor to Golf for Women magazine and Chair of the Advisory Board for Golfer Girl Magazine where she writes a special series on careers in the golf industry. She chaired a panel at the World Scientific Congress of Golf in Phoenix in March 2008 and was a guest speaker at the Northern California Business Women's Conference held at Poppyridge Golf Course in Livermore, Calif., in June 2008. Nancy also consults with golf facilities on how to attract more women golfers. She is a resource for golf-industry trends and marketing advice on her website www.nancyberkley.com. Nancy also offers a Quick Question-Free Help Line on her website. After a career as a lawyer and business executive, Nancy founded Berkley Golf Consulting and The Woman's Only Guide® to Golf to share her long-time passion for golf and to help grow the game. Nancy describes herself as a bogey golfer who is too busy to play enough golf. Contact Nancy at info@nancyberkley.com or on www.nancyberkley.com.