Women and Girls’ Golf Week: Kay Dobson tells how she created a network of like-minded golfing women in the north-east

Kay Dobson is a 35-year-old working woman who took up golf and then struggled to find like-minded women to play with. The answer? She set up the network, North East and County Durham Women’s Golf, and has over 200 members. Here’s her story:

How did you get into golf?

I wanted a hobby. I tried returning to my childhood hobby of horse riding and hated it! My hubby kept asking me to go to the driving range and, after declining many times, I went and loved it.

So far, so good. What went wrong?

I work as a security officer so I wanted weekend golf – but there didn’t seem to be any events for women at the weekend. Unfortunately I didn’t research the first club I joined and I found a lot of the ladies were five-day members and there was not many weekend meet ups or competitions.

Everything that was advertised was more aimed at older or retired or non-working women. I could play with my husband, but he had a handicap of six and I wanted to play with others at my level, but I felt frustrated that I couldn’t meet anyone.

What did you do about it?

I set up a Facebook group but didn’t really do anything with it for a few months, until a pro at another club arranged a Prosecco get together with some other ladies he taught. From there the group went from around five women in 2016 to currently 220 in 2018.

Now we’re the North East and County Durham Women’s Golf – a network for golfing women. The group is made up of a variety of people of different skill levels. It includes beginners, professionals, club representatives and more experienced golfers.

Some just are on it and remain silent, some attend events that suit them and others are in it in a business sense. We have all sorts of events, from ladies’ days out to beginners’ outings, Christmas meets and fundraisers for the Golf Foundation – the next one is on 1 September.

How do you encourage beginners?

We run ‘9 holes and a natter’ every month for women who are shy about getting on the course or embarrassed to play in front of others. It is a meet up for anyone with no rules other than you pick up after eight shots. We play at a par-3, 9-hole course which accommodates the group fantastically.

Through the group there is now around six ladies who have made a great friendship and all play at least twice a week together.

I have also been involved with the ‘Women on Par’ events organised by England Golf to encourage women beginners to get out on the course, make friends and gain confidence.

Why do you think golf is a good game for women?

Its great exercise, fantastic social possibilities, gets you out meeting others and you need a new wardrobe to play the game…..

Has golf taken over your life?

Golf hasn’t, but the group has. I’m arranging events and looking after the website and I work full time, five or six days a week. But I do love it and what it has brought to the north east.

I didn’t think at first I was doing much but from the responses from some of the ladies, golf professionals and clubs the reaction to the group has been fantastic.

I get out as much as I can, luckily my hubby is a golf addict so I also receive a great amount of support and help from him.

• Inspired by Kay’s story to Get into Golf? Visit www.getintogolf.org to find free or low cost beginner activities across the country including Women on Par sessions