Pledges support drive for more women and girl golfers

Women and Girls conference

Clubs, counties and golf media have signed pledges to support England Golf’s drive to get more women and girls playing the game.

They committed to action at today’s England Golf Women and Girls’ Conference at Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire, which showcased inspiring women, success stories and great initiatives.

The promises support England Golf’s pledge to continue working closely with national and county partners and to support clubs to increase women and girls’ participation and membership.

The conference was part of England Golf’s first Golf Week and it followed the launch of the video campaign #ThisGirlGolfs which aims to challenge perceptions and inspire participation.

The video features women and girls from all over the country and from different walks of life and backgrounds who are enjoying golf for many reasons and fitting it into their everyday lives.

The conference picked up this theme by debunking myths surrounding golf and showing that:

Golf can be fitted into all lifestyles and it doesn’t have to take hours to play. For example, Golf Express, which has been launched in Staffordshire, promotes 9-hole golf and after work roll-ups.

Golf isn’t a stuffy game but offers many experiences including traditional, social, recreational and family. Marketing expert Anabel Sexton urged the golf industry to project a positive image of the game and also advocated challenging dress codes, commenting: “Society moves on. Is it still relevant to make young girls wear clothes they wouldn’t be seen dead in anywhere else?”

Golf is a game for all, not a game for men. BBC Breakfast presenter, Naga Munchetty was featured, saying: “Girls should get into golf because this is not a man’s sport, this is about being strong, this is about being competitive, this is about being the best you possibly can.”

Golf is great for health and wellbeing. Playing 18-holes will burn at least 900 calories and will take more than 10,000 steps.

Golf is an affordable game. Over 400 clubs offer Get into golf activities in England, promoting affordable beginners’ activities with equipment provided free of charge.

England Golf’s strategy was highlighted to delegates by Lauren Spray, the Women and Girls Participation Manager, who drew attention to support for clubs to recruit and retain women and girl members.

This includes the production of a series of factsheets and a pilot project, working with 100 clubs in 13 counties, to grow women’s participation and membership.  A Women’s Advisory Group has also been created, bringing together key and influential people to help shape future plans.

Many inspirational success stories and initiatives were showcased, including:

• Minchinhampton Golf Club in Gloucestershire which has 232 women members, compared to the national average of 70 women members, and a programme to recruit more.

• Norwood Park Golf Centre in Nottinghamshire which runs a Pink Ladies scheme offering beginners coaching, coffee and play.

•  Girls Golf Rocks where players from the Essex county girls’ squad were trained as mentors to help inspire new girl players.

#ThisGirlGolfs was funded and created by Sports Publications, England Golf and the Scottish Golf Union. It supports England Golf’s ‘Raising our Game’ strategy to get more people playing the game and joining clubs.

Click here for more about #ThisGirlGolfs

Caption: These girls golf! Conference delegates on the putting green (image © Leaderboard Photography)