'Golfweek for Her' 2011 - A Bold New Women's Golf Magazine

By: Nancy Berkley

It's not your mother's golf magazine. It's yours, it's digital and it's free. The second annual issue of Golfweek for Her is here and it's great!

The First Issue of Golfweek for Her - May 19, 2010

The magazine is not exactly easy to find on the web, and it may be what's called a "soft" launch for Golfweek, but, women golfers, trust me: it's worth looking at. And for those who prefer to read their magazines in standard printed form, it may be ordered that way also.

A little background first. Nearly three years ago, Conde Nast, which publishes Golf Digest, a monthly magazine primarily for men, and Golf World a weekly magazine, closed down its Golf for Women magazine. The end of Golf for Women left a void for female-golf magazine readers. See my article at http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/golf_for_women_magazine_shuts_down_what_it_means.

I mourned the loss of Golf for Women, but at the same time, I understood why niche publications were in trouble. The increased printing, mailing and distribution costs combined with shrinking advertising budgets made profitability difficult. And as magazines go, Golf for Women was a niche magazine for a niche market. Sorry, ladies, although there are about 25 million female golfers, Golf for Women magazine struggled to get half-a-million subscribers for its print publication.

After closing Golf for Women, GolfDigest.com built a sub-site and link to Golf Digest Woman - http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-digest-woman. Stina Sternberg, its editor, does a fine job in bringing good content to the website and it's always worth a read. But it's a stepchild to Golf Digest's target market of male golfers. Ron Sirak, senior editor at Conde Nast's Golf World, always makes sure that women's golf issues and tournaments are well-covered, but very few women subscribe to that magazine.

"As one door closes, another opens" - so the saying goes. Golfweek, a competing weekly golf magazine published by the Turnstile Publishing Company, a media group based in Orlando, Fla., saw opportunity in the women's golf market. Just about a year ago it put its toe in the water. Or, in golf-speak, it chipped onto the fringe with "Golfweek for Her."

The magazine was mailed to a spotty and random list of subscribers. I was lucky to get one. The magazine had a younger voice, a hip style, great photos and Beth Ann Baldry, one of my favorite women's golf observers and a writer on the team.

But, it was unclear from those I spoke with at Golfweek if there was ever going to be a second issue. Nothing had changed that was going to make a printed women's golf magazine more profitable.

Enter Golfweek's new hybrid publication: The second annual Golfweek for Her 2011 has arrived. It's available in a digital, downloadable form for free and in a print version as traditional magazine. It also has a Smartphone app.

The problem is that the new magazine is not easy to find on the web. The first option is to go to the www.golfweek.com website. Then click on the "For Her" tab at the far right (http://www.golfweek.com/news/golfweek-for-her/). This is what you will see: "An opportunity to sign up for a free download of the Golfweek for Her 2011 issue."

Frankly, it's complicated because when you click on the offer you are actually registering for the Hewlett Packard HP "MagCloud" magazine site. MagCloud is a new on-demand web-publishing service that is up for a 2011 web award.

After you have registered on www.magcloud.com, you can then sign in and search for "Golfweek for Her." Strangely the MagCloud search will tell you that it found zero magazines with that name, but when you scroll down the images you will find the new 2011 Golfweek for Her issue. (I hope they fix this glitch.)

Alternatively, I received the magazine on my LPGA's weekly email newsletter "Tournament and Entertainment Report." My April 26, 2011, LPGA newsletter had an easy "click-on" for the magazine.

In the LPGA newsletter, the magazine is displayed in Adobe Flash Player. The format uses relatively new interface technology that mimics natural reading and allows you to turn and skim pages. It took me a little while to figure out how I wanted to view the pages on my computer. I found that when I downloaded the magazine in PDF form, it was easier for me to zoom in and read.

To see the magazine on the LPGA newsletter visit http://news.lpga.com/dm?id=35988B113005150F54E2FEA65A9A3A8E. After you click on Golfweek for Her, then click the "read on line" option.

And if you are not already signed up for the LPGA weekly newsletter, don't forget to do that. Go to www.lpga.com and look for the "email newsletter" sign up box.

Back to the new Golfweek for Her magazine: It's packed with interesting and well-written features about female golfers we all want to know more about. The photography is wonderful thanks to the talented eye and camera of Tracy Wilcox and is amazing to view on a computer screen.

There are articles about Morgan Pressel looking very hip in her Ralph Lauren outfits and talking about moving into her own apartment. Also fascinating is a long and overdue article about Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf. You will also enjoy looking at and reading articles about Paula Creamer, Judy Rankin and the beautiful and talented Azahara Munoz from Spain.

My favorite teaching section is LPGA's Yani Tseng, from Taiwan, and her instructor Gary Gilchrist. She uses a two-club drill that I have never seen illustrated before. I can't wait to try it.

So, there you have it: A high-quality digital magazine for women golfers that is above and beyond the standard current women's golf websites.

Questions remain about the digital business model itself. Will enough women look at the magazine online so that companies will buy advertising in the magazine? Even in its digital form, the publication has to cover the costs of its staff writers and photographers. I am also assuming that Golfweek or any of the magazine publishers that distribute through MagCloud are required to pay a fee.

On a positive note: Women golfers are high Internet users and always short on time. An advantage of this Adobe Flash and MagCloud format is that we can flip through the magazine quickly, pause and look at the products that catch our eye, and zoom in for a close-up. I noticed a few new advertisers of apparel that I think I would have missed in a printed version. And there is a whole world of online links and ordering that is yet to be explored.

Plus, anything in the digital form can be printed out in a PDF format for readers who want a hard copy of specific page or article. As mentioned earlier, if you prefer the entire magazine in a standard printed form, it can be ordered that way for a fee of $19.95 from the MagCloud site.

Golfweek has definitely chipped a ball onto the fringe with this new magazine and format. I hope the next shot rolls into the cup and we see more of Golfweek for Her. Let me know what you think at http://www.nancyberkley.com/676305.html.

Good luck, Golfweek.

Postscript: Since the publication of this article the idea of a program to develop talented U.S. girls and boys is officially on the table and outlined in an article in the April 29, 2011, issue of Golfweek entitled "Amateur Golf: Time for the Program?" I'd like to say that great minds think alike!

Nancy Berkley, President of Berkley Golf Consulting, is an expert on women's golf and junior-girls golf. She is a frequent contributor to www.cybergolf.com/womensgolf. 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 and spotting trends within the industry. She offers information and advice about the golf industry on www.berkleygolfconsulting.com and is often quoted in national publications. She was a contributing editor of "Golf for Women" magazine and a founding advisor of "Golfer Girl Magazine." Her interviews with women in the golf industry now appear on www.golfergirlcareers.com. Nancy lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Harvard University and Rutgers Law School. After a business and legal career, she decided to write about the game she learned and loved as a teenager. She describes herself as a good bogey golfer with permanent potential.