New women golfers in Cheshire, Durham and Hertfordshire are being offered a fun and sociable way to get into the swing of regular play.
Academy Away Days are being held in the three counties for women who have completed beginner coaching, bringing them together for on-course outings to grow their confidence and to make new friends.
The verdict? The days are fun, friendly – and a big confidence booster, according to women who are taking part. “It’s a great opportunity to learn to play with others who are at the same level,” said one. “I was a little nervous about the overall day but the experience was good,” added another. “It’s given me the confidence to play on the course and improve,” said a third.
The Away Days are a new initiative from England Golf, which is committed to growing the women and girls’ game. Currently only 15 per cent of club members are women and just one per cent are girls.
But, there’s a huge appetite among women for golf with research showing that 640,000 women and girls are interested in playing the sport. Last year, 43% of the beginners introduced to the sport by the Get into golf campaign were female.
Lauren Spray, the Women and Girls’ Participation Manager, said: “The Academy Away Days are a great way for women to bridge the gap between coaching and playing and to make new friendships.”
The events are all played on short courses or nine-hole layouts suitable for beginners and all have shotgun starts so the players finish together and can socialise after play over a glass of fizz or juice.
They feature a novel way of scoring which avoids counting stroke. Instead, the players complete challenges, which involve playing skills and etiquette such as successfully hitting the green in one, raking the bunker correctly and shaking hands on the final green when they complete their game.
The Academy Away Days were successfully trialled in Hertfordshire last year after it became clear that women who had taken Get into golf courses at local clubs would welcome support to get out on to the course.
Over 220 women were involved and this year the scheme has been extended to Cheshire and Durham, with events on offer until September. Women members from the clubs taking part volunteer to support and encourage the newcomers.
To find out about beginner opportunities visit www.getintogolf.org
Caption: Some of the players at a recent Academy Away Day.