Girls, Sports, and their Dads

Golfing with BarbieDoll helps introduce young girls to game
BY JULIE WARDUSA TODAY
Barbie has always been about fashion. The famous doll also has been much more, ranging from an astronaut to an athlete.

Next up: The Barbie brand is reaching out to introduce young girls to golf. In November, Mattel will introduce a Barbie golf club set for girls 4-6.

“We know from our research that a big part of a little girl’s life is about being active, about playing outdoors,” says Juan Gutierrez, senior director of Mattel consumer products. “We believe that offering a golf club set offers a girl another option to play another sport.”

Barbie’s most recent association with golf goes back to 1992, when Golf Date Barbie was sold. But the $39.99 golf club set manufactured by Cougar Golf and to be available at Target takes Barbie’s athleticism a step further.

“Our objective is to get girls active and have them understand the benefits of being active on heir own and with their parents and inspiring them to take on new interests,” Gutierrez says.

In that pursuit, Mattel’s marketing dovetails with the goals of golf organizations to introduce the sport to more youngsters.

“What I think is very exciting is Mattel is recognizing that golf is on their radar screen,” says Joe Louis Barrow Jr., executive director of First Tee, a program to aid youth development through golf.

The son of the late heavyweight boxing champion sees a growing interest in golf, especially among children 5-8 influenced by older siblings.

Also helping to boost the number of young girls involved in golf is the LPGA-USGA program used in the curriculum of 47 of the 202 First Tee chapters.

“I enjoy seeing how the girls embrace the life skills, the goal setting, the confidence building,” Barrow says.

Nancy Berkley, a golf industry analyst and head of Berkley Consulting, says the sport needs to look beyond its best customers, who are mostly male.

“What matters to me is that we market in the broader market, because we know we have to reach non-golfers,” she says.

Launching a Barbie golf set is a step in that direction.

The Coloradoan – www.coloradoan.com – Ft. Collins, CO.

Naturally, there’s more to that article with a click o’ the link. But mainly– I just wanted to say how jazzed I am about this.

Daddy’s girl that I am– I had an ugly beige set of clubs (for kids) when I was young. I didn’t really care about golf so much (or the attention span for that matter), but I totally dug the time I got to spend with my dad– AND jumping into a sport that he cared so much about. And it was cool having a miniature set of clubs.

To this day, I STILL love getting all kitted out in golf stuff to spend the day with my dad, playing the sport he enjoys so much.

Dads everywhere– want your daughter to join in on your favorite past time? Buy the clubs for your girls. Just because they may be more into the barbie doll itself doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate the time they’ll get to spend with you playing something you enjoy.

Same went with baseball. Dad = HUGE White Sox fan. My sister and I loved them too– not because we knew anything about the skill & stats of baseball, but because our pops did… and if we wanted to share something with our role model, sports seemed like an easy in. We had the jerseys, the baseball cards, the bats (I was a nature, kicked the crud out of the neighbor boys with my mad skillz regularly, not that I knew what I was doing), and we went every February to the White Sox Convention at the Hyatt in Chicago.

And then there is football– I STILL adore going to Bears games with my pops. He gets all excited trying to teach me the “boy mentality” of looking at the game. Maybe that’s why I’m still a part-time sports nut. I obsess over soccer– because, as a girl, it was the easiest sport to be accepted in and obsess about and play… for 18 years (aside from Basketball, but then again, the WNBA doesn’t get that much respect, and the women’s soccer league gets a bit more street cred from my view of things).

Kids need role models, and for the most part– they have two at home (fingers crossed at least one). That whole “parents are the enemy” thing isn’t the truth all the time. If parents take the time to introduce their OWN passions, kids will have more respect and understanding of identity. Makes kids well rounded to know that they’re parents– as individuals (or a couple) are well rounded too. Kids can’t know they’re the center of their parents worlds 100% of the time… that’s overwhelming. Can’t role model someone who has you on a pedestal. It’s a balance.

My dad still has my old clubs in the garage back home. I may not have been LPGA or even appreciative of the sport at his level, but it was something he got to share with me. He doesn’t want to part with the memory any more than I do (again, I must stress, I did NOT have the patience for the game, but I did have the appreciate to play with my pops).

Barbie? Well done. Ingenious. Anastasia from Ypulse? Thanks for the link 😉

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