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Examining the gender gap in participatory golf using a ritual dramaturgical framework and gender perspective

Lee Phillip McGinnis, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

A “churning effect” exists in golf in which nearly the same number of people leave the game each year as enter. Women, however, leave the game faster than men and only comprise approximately a fifth of the participatory golf population. This proportion has seen little change despite the fact that women consistently make up a disproportionately large amount of the beginner population. This study examines the theoretical underpinnings of this gap and looks at why women consistently golf less than men, irrespective of the notion that golf is seen as a sport that is neither masculine nor feminine. ^ We collected usable surveys from 900 golfers in the state of Nebraska, 617 of which are from women. To examine more closely the impact of the churning effect on women, we broke down the female population by the years of playing experience. Those with five or fewer years of experience are called the NFGs (novice female golfers), and those with five or more years of experience are called the EFGs (experienced female golfers). ^ The key constructs involved in this study include sacredness, the gendered dramaturgical components, opposite sex privileged status, consumer alienation, play (communitas, flow, and ecstasy), empowerment, leisure entitlement, and enduring involvement. In this study, golf is explored as a dramaturgical ritual, which is deconstructed into stage metaphors or dramaturgical components. These gendered dramaturgical components or GDCs include the setting, roles, performances, language, and props. As expected, we found that men perceive golf as being more sacred than women do, and women score higher on golf's GDCs. Greater sensitivity to golf's GDCs (or higher scores) is positively associated with higher perceptions of opposite sex privileged status. Overall, the most interesting story that emerges from the relationships between domain sacredness and the GDCs is how higher levels of sacredness is positively associated with more pressure to create appropriate impressions and to stay within one's gender boundaries. This feeling is demonstrated most prevalently among the EFGs. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Marketing|Women's Studies|Recreation

Recommended Citation

McGinnis, Lee Phillip, "Examining the gender gap in participatory golf using a ritual dramaturgical framework and gender perspective" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055282.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3055282

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