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November 02, 2018

Five Questions with Ashleigh McLaughlin, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy for the LPGA Women's Network

Among the many hats she wears within the LPGA, Ashleigh generates content and marketing strategy for the LPGA Women’s Network – a digital platform created to unite women and help them better enjoy the game of golf. A former collegiate golfer, she’s also an LPGA Teaching Professional and advocate for the empowerment of girls and women. Before stepping into her role with the LPGA Women’s Network, she used her marketing prowess to rebrand the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, which is now empowering more than 70,000 girls through golf each year.

Ashleigh plays a key role in the development and strategy behind the golf industry’s latest women’s golf initiative, the #inviteHER campaign. WE ARE GOLF recently combined forces with the LPGA Women’s Network to launch the movement and Ashleigh is here to tell us more.

1. Let's start simple. Where did the idea for #inviteHER stem from?

When we launched the LPGA Women’s Network earlier this year, we did so with the long-term vision of helping to create a more welcoming space for women in golf. We set out to create a supportive space through an online community that would offer inspiration and resources that were easily accessible to women, but we also wanted to do more to extend our ethos in a real way.

During a meeting, we began talking around the room about the women we knew or had met throughout the years who hadn’t yet tried golf. It quickly became clear that there was a common thread to each of their stories.  Each of those women mentioned someone they knew who loved golf - a spouse, friend, in-law, co-worker, etc. It was like playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but with golf. So many of these women not only knew someone who played, but expressed an interest in learning themselves. 

We felt strongly that golfers could be the missing bridge to help connect these women to the game. By extending a personal invitation and serving as a guide, we could personally connect the women in our lives to this awesome game, helping them feel more comfortable in this new environment and ensuring their first experience with golf is a positive one.

That’s where the idea for #inviteHER was born, and we’re so proud to have the support of the golf industry and the WE ARE GOLF coalition who have fully embraced the power of invitation.

2. After only a few months since the launch of the campaign, what kind of response have you received from the golf (and non-golf) community?

The response so far has been incredible. We hear almost daily from golf professionals, influencers and leaders from organizations inside and outside of golf who are hearing about #inviteHER and want to be a part of this movement.

It’s a message that resonates with people, and from a business perspective it’s an organic and scalable way to bring new people through the door.

3. What makes #inviteHER different from past campaigns that have attampted to grow the game among women? 

There are so many wonderful “grow the game” initiatives that exist in golf. What I think separates #inviteHER from others is that this campaign focuses its efforts on communicating a simple and actionable message directly to consumers.

Women very clearly want to take advantage of golf for all of the great benefits we know the game offers (confidence building, fitness, enjoying the outdoors, socializing, etc). #inviteHER helps eliminate many of the barriers and intimidation new golfers face through the simple connection to a mentor.

Beyond the role of mentors, we’re also working to encourage golf professionals and facilities to evaluate their programs to find opportunities to become even more female and new-golfer friendly.

4. What is the best way for golfers to "invite her?"

An invitation doesn’t have to be formal, but it should certainly include setting a date.

Rather than a “Hey, you should come with me to the golf course sometime,” we’re encouraging golfers to help make it easier for their invitees to say “yes.”

For example, “Hey, there’s a great Teaching Pro at my course who’s offering a beginners class next Saturday. If you’re interested I can get you signed up and would be happy to tag along.”

We’ve also created inviteHER.com to help newbies better understand how to navigate golf and to offer experienced golfers helpful suggestions for mentoring someone new to the game. The site is a great resource and I definitely suggest paying a visit!

5. Are there any exciting #inviteHER plans we can keep an eye out for in 2019?

Yes! In addition to extending the resources available for new and experienced golfers on inviteHER.com we’re working with thought-leaders and golf management companies to develop #inviteHER programming, best practices and toolkits, which will help professionals and facilities create turn-key events and experiences for women new to the game.

We’ll then place our focus on generating even more awareness amongst consumers themselves. Stay tuned for some exciting buzz before golf season kicks-off next year. We’re inviting the entire industry to join us in collaborating and sharing a unified voice around this message to help grow the game!

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