Barbie’s Golf MessageReturn to Insights
LANDMARK’s Sarah Gwynn explores the surprising connection between 2023’s record-breaking box office hit and a group golf coaching experience for women.
What do Barbie and love.golf have in common? This isn’t a sentence I’d ever imagined writing. Stay with me.
The answer is more than you might think.
Earlier this month, our client love.golf (a Syngenta Golf initiative) – the empowering group coaching experience for women – held a Barbie-themed taster event for 12 new golfers, all local influencers based in south-west England.
The on-course session was followed by an explosion of pink in the clubhouse at Burnham and Berrow Golf Club – balloons, cocktails, a life-size Barbie box for selfies – the full works. It looked brilliant.
But behind all the pink paraphernalia – in the film and at the golf club – lies a deeper message not lost on the participants: that you can be whoever or whatever you want to be.
Taking part in the session was an England rugby player, social media influencers and entrepreneurs.
It was the perfect example that anyone can give golf a go. Contrary to what some might think – as evidenced in Syngenta’s report, ‘Golf & Social Media: The Great Divide’ – you don’t have to look a certain way or be from a particular background to enjoy this game.
One participant admitted afterwards that she had nearly pulled out of the event the same morning, citing anxiety, but ended up having an amazing time and later encouraged others to “take a step in to doing something you wouldn’t think you’d enjoy and surprise yourself”.
Even Abbie Ward, a professional rugby player for Bristol Bears, admitted that she appreciated the “safe space” in which to try a new sport.
“I’ve always thought I’d love to have a go, and this has felt like a safe space where I could come and try it out and it doesn’t matter if I’m rubbish,” she said.
“As a professional athlete I’m used to playing sport to a high standard, but it’s been great to come along today and be with other beginners. It’s opened a door for me and I’ll definitely be bringing my team-mates along to the golf course or driving range.”
How good is that?!
The Barbie theme was purposely chosen to showcase the similarities with love.golf, which has drawn on academic and market research into what women want from a golf experience to offer a unique approach. There are no judgements, rules or dress codes.
I caught up with Founder and Head Coach Alastair Spink afterwards, who said: “It was a brilliant session full of fun, laughter and like-minded people given the freedom to explore a new sport.
“love.golf is all about giving women an opportunity to enjoy golf regardless of where they come from or what they look like, and encouraging them to be whoever or whatever they want to be..
“There’s a scene in the film where Ken tries to show Barbie how to hold a golf club at the driving range, something men often do. It’s usually well-intended, but our extensive research tells us that many women respond far better and achieve a lot more if given the freedom to explore the game themselves, without being overloaded with technical information.”
The Barbie event was the latest step to introduce new, diverse audiences to golf.
I already play golf, but this looked so fun I will definitely be fishing for an invitation to the next one.
Sarah Gwynn is Head of Media & Communications at LANDMARK and was the first female press officer at the European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe.