England Golf has become one of the first signatories to The R&A’s new Women in Golf Charter, pledging to get more women and girls playing, working and volunteering in golf.
The Charter was launched today and aims to inspire an industry-wide commitment to a more inclusive culture, enabling women and girls to flourish and reach their potential at all levels of the sport.
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink, who was a guest speaker at the launch, commented: “We are delighted to pledge our support to The R&A’s Charter. Growing the women and girls’ game is central to our strategy and we want to bring about real change in golf, with greater gender diversity at every level of the sport.
“It’s clear there is a huge appetite for golf among women and girls. It is up to us to welcome them into the game and show it truly is a sport for all.”
England Golf’s commitment is highlighted within its own organisation where 51% of the staff, 30% of the Board and 25% of the senior management team are female.
The over-arching theme of its strategy, Growing the Game of Golf in England, is to get more women and girls into golf.
Successful initiatives include Girls Golf Rocks which is running in 21 counties and has attracted 1600 girls to try the sport so far this season – with some results still to come in. That’s up by 84% on last year.
The Get into Golf campaign attracted 40% female participation last year and has just been relaunched with a bold, modern look designed to appeal to a younger female audience.
Women who have taken Get into Golf courses are able to enjoy a growing number of playing days to increase their confidence on the course. Last year, Women on Par attracted over 300 women in three counties. This year, it’s running in eight counties and involving 50 golf clubs, which are all hosting events.
At elite level, England has won the European team championship for the past two years. So far this season there have been individual wins for Bel Wardle at the Portuguese amateur and Lily May Humphreys at the Scottish stroke play while five players have been selected to represent GB&I in the forthcoming Curtis Cup at Quaker Ridge, New York.
The Women in Golf Charter specifically aims to:
• Strengthen the focus on gender balance and provide a united position for the golf industry
• Commit national federations and organisations to support measures targeted at increasing participation of women, girls and families in golf
• Call on signatories to take positive action to support the recruitment, retention and progression of women working at all levels of the sport
• Set individual targets for national federations for participation and membership and annual reporting of progress
• Develop an inclusive environment for women and girls within golf
At the launch at The View from The Shard in London, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “We are asking the golf industry to recognise the real importance of increasing the number of women and girls playing golf and empowering more women to enjoy successful careers at all levels of the sport.
“The Charter is a strong statement of intent from the golf industry that it has to change and a commitment on behalf of all of us to take measures designed to achieve positive change for women, girls and families. This is crucial to growing participation in the sport in the years ahead.”
Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, added: “We are committed to creating an environment where women and girls can succeed at every level of sport.
“Interest in women’s sports is at an all-time high, with increased global interest and record attendances. I welcome The R&A’s strong commitment to encourage more women into golf and nurture future generations of talent.”
Among the organisations joining England Golf to pledge support to the Charter were the European Tour, the Ladies’ European Tour, the European Golf Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the European Disability Golf Association, Golf Australia, Golf Canada, the Golfing Union of Ireland, England Golf, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and Scottish Golf.
The launch was hosted by renowned sports broadcaster Hazel Irvine and the event also featured presentations and panel discussions with guest speakers. Alongside Nick Pink were Sky Sports’ Golf Presenter Sarah Stirk, Chyloe Kurdas, National Female Participation Manager at Golf Australia, and Liz Dimmock, Founder of Moving Ahead.
Caption, from left: Chyloe Kurdas, Hazel Irvine, Sarah Stirk, Nick Pink, Liz Dimmock and Martin Slumbers. (Image copyright The R&A/Getty Images)