New report highlights need to grow women and girls’ golf

England Golf staff lesson women

A new research report published by The R&A underlines how golf can grow significantly if it attracts more women, girls and families into the sport.

The report brings together a review of all the research on the subject, comments from golf experts and a host of practical recommendations for golf clubs to consider to get more women and girls into golf.

These range from increasing the number of women in influential leadership positions to exploring how to combine childcare and golf participation, perhaps with crèche or play facilities or junior camps in the evenings or at weekends.

The report has been welcomed by Lauren Spray, England Golf Women and Girls’ Manager, who commented: “This report puts women and girls’ golf high on the agenda of everyone in the industry and it confirms that we at England Golf are working on the right lines to grow the game.

“It’s great to have all the research in one, go-to place and the action points are excellent. There are many, very good ideas for clubs to consider and discuss with their England Golf Club Support Officer.”

The signs of growing female interest in golf in England are clear to see. Between 2015 and March 2017 over 10,000 women took Get into Golf activities; in the year to March 2017 women accounted for 40% of all new players who took opportunities offered by England Golf’s county network; in 2016 girls’ golf grew in 17 counties, leading to a national total of 4078 – a two-year high.

England Golf initiatives include the successful Girls Golf Rocks recruitment campaign, run in partnership with the Golf Foundation, which is taking place in 21 counties this year. Hundreds of women beginners who have taken Get into Golf courses have grabbed the chance to go on away days with fellow novices and the Women on Par scheme is set to grow this year. England Golf’s 2017 Family Month, which promoted activities for all the generations, is highlighted as a case study in the new report.

The R&A report was commissioned from the International Institute for Golf Education, based at the University Centre Myerscough. The key themes identified in the report, which was produced by Dr John Fry and Philip Hall, include:

• The importance of being aware of the make-up of the modern family and creating the ideal environment for participation.

• A direct link between equality in sports participation and wider gender equality, such as women in influential decision-making positions in golf.

• Parents underpin families’ likelihood to play golf and the reasons they want their children to take part include having fun, improving health and developing friendships.

• The increasing desire for golf to provide opportunities for socialising and to be adaptable and flexible, given the time and cost constraints placed on the modern family

• The need for the sport to evolve to meet the demands of contemporary society and for clubs to encourage memorable events for their customers.

The research reflects The R&A’s continued drive to encourage more women, girls and families to play golf more regularly, working with its affiliates around the world to enhance golf’s appeal.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “The research demonstrates there is a tremendous opportunity for golf to grow its participation numbers and generate more income if it can attract more women, girls and families into playing the sport.

“We know that more work needs to be done to achieve this outcome at a time when there are concerns about declining participation levels and this report provides useful actions and guidance for our affiliates and clubs that can lead to tangible, positive outcomes for golf.”

Click here for more information and to download the report.

Caption: Women want to play! England Golf staff ignored the snow and turned out for their second group lesson on the range at Woodhall Spa.