Ysobel Lush (pictured left) is a 17-year-old member at Langdon Hills Golf Club in Essex, where she plays off 12 handicap – and she’s a dedicated volunteer. She’s absolutely passionate about encouraging other girls to play golf and she tells her story to explain what drives her.
How did you get into golf?
I started playing golf when I was 6 because my dad played a little bit. I’ve always been very sporty so I wanted to give it a go.
What do you like about golf?
I’ve met amazing friends through golf, I love a challenge and it’s a great feeling when you can just go out and play a peaceful game. Some people think it can be boring but it gets you thinking, also playing with new people almost every week is lovely, it’s such a social game. It’s also a major psychological game that some people may stumble with, but that’s part of the challenge
Sometimes people may find golf clubs can come across a bit stuck up or cliquey, which can be true. But golf has so much history and it should just continue to develop. However, in order to do that we need more people to get into the game. Clubs should be encouraging all ages, genders and backgrounds, they should be kind and welcoming to attract people to play.
Why should girls get into golf?
It’s healthy and a fun way to relax. Also we can show up the boys! It’s a very male dominated sport but who says we can’t do just as well? I’ve come across hundreds of girls since playing golf and I guarantee, including myself, we could beat or have beaten plenty of men. As I said previously it’s also a very social game and us girls love a chit chat! It’s an amazing way to meet people or go out with close friends for a few hours and talk and play some golf!
Why do you volunteer?
I love volunteering! Helping and coaching is so much fun. In the future I would like to be a PE teacher so it’s probably innate within me to help people.
I believe volunteering is so important to take the game forward and allow everyone to have a chance. I wish all the opportunities I have been given, or that are now available, could be given to everyone, whether they’re just picking up a golf club or have played for years like me.
I’m not the best golfer and I’m also not here to play like Tiger or Charley Hull. My idea of golf is to be as good as I can be and go out and have fun! As I can’t play every day that gives me time to do things like help girls at my club or around the county. It’s important to give back.
Most importantly, young kids are the future of golf and giving bigger opportunities to younger girls, especially, will increase the amount that play in the future. I don’t ever want girls’ golf to die out as it’s a major part of my life, it would be so sad to see girls dropping out.
How have you volunteered?
At school I volunteered to run a girls’ rugby team as we never had one. I think it’s so important girls get equal opportunities to have a go at things they may be amazing at. It’s not fair boys have priority sometimes, not always, but girls have fewer opportunities.
I’ve always helped around my golf club, taking new girls out on the course when they first start, which is important. It’s nice to see a familiar face and I like to be about so they have someone to talk to or play with. I never had that when I was younger. It can be daunting to step out in front of people as a girl golfer when you are younger, there isn’t many of us. However I’m doing all I can along with the help of my amazing club junior organiser to get girls at our club… we now have 12!!!
I have also been involved with Girls Golf Rocks from the day it began in our county four years ago. Being an ambassador and helping to encourage new girl players allowed me to get stuck in with the things I love to do. Girls Golf Rocks was such a hit in Essex that now it’s running in 21 counties.
A few years ago I went into my old primary school and ran two sessions with girls in year 5 and 6 which they all loved and I had a great day showing them how golf can be exciting and fun.
I am also a Young Ambassador for England Golf and the Golf Foundation this has given me further opportunities like helping at the recent European Tour GolfSixes event at the Centurion Club.
It feels so amazing knowing I’ve been part of the reason hundreds of girls have taken up golf through my club, county and Girls Golf Rocks. It shows everyone that golf can be fun and it’s annoying when people say to me “it’s boring” or “golf isn’t a sport” but most importantly it shows girls can play! It makes me so happy thinking about it all!
Best moment in volunteering?
My most special experience as a result of volunteering was when I was awarded Essex U18 Girl Golfer of the Year in 2016. In the past the award was given to someone because of their amazing achievements in golf however I was given it down to all my help, participation and volunteering efforts. So amazing! It was so special and even quite emotional (in a good way!) to know my efforts are being recognised by the people close to me and around me.
What are your plans for the future?
Volunteering hasn’t only given girls around me awesome opportunities but it’s created opportunities for me too!
Hopefully my experiences will help me get into university as I want to successfully complete a degree in sports coaching and be a PE teacher. At the moment I’m currently doing four A levels at sixth form and looking around at universities. I will begin uni in October 2019.
I think I’ll always be playing golf, maybe even improve if I can. But if I stay the same handicap for the rest of my life then so be it, as long as I’m out there enjoying myself and helping other that’s all that matters, I may even end up in my university golf team who knows!
Volunteering is a big part of my life and I hope that continues for as long as possible.
• Inspired to follow Ysobel in golf? Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about low cost or free beginner activities across the country
Caption: Ysobel Lush (left) with a fellow Girl Golf Rocks ambassador (copyright Leaderbord Photography)