Women in Golf Charter: Lily May’s club Stoked for success

Lily May Humphreys was once the shy and quiet girl on the practice range at Stoke By Nayland Golf Club in Essex.

She remains grounded and humble, however the 18-year-old England international is fast becoming a big noise on the world stage.

And now Lily May’s golf club is keen to encourage more women and girls to follow in her spikemarks and get into golf having become one of the latest clubs to sign up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.

The Charter is a club’s way of showing its commitment to not only boosting participation levels among women and girls, but also demonstrating the opportunities for a career within the golf industry.

England Golf is a strong supporter of the Charter’s principles and this week endorsed a new programme, launched by The R&A, to build on the success of the campaign since its inception in 2018.

The #FOREeveryone programme will complement the Women in Golf Charter initiative by providing resources and information for clubs and counties keen to embrace the idea.

Stoke by Nayland is proud to become the first club in Essex to sign the Charter.

President Lesley Garnett – also the club’s Charter champion – has explained just why becoming a signatory was so important for her family-friendly facility as they look to encourage a new group of women and girls to pick up a club and enjoy the game.

“We were so happy to sign up for the Charter,” admitted Garnett.

“I became the first female President of the club in 2017 and with this came a re-structuring of our committee and a chance to embrace new initiatives.

“We have always been conscious of creating a family environment and encouraging juniors at the club.

“We’re all very proud of Lily (main picture) who was maybe 15-years old and quite shy when she started out here.

“Now she has gone on to become a talented and confident golfer and an inspiring figure here at Stoke By Nayland.

“She loves playing in competitions and practising here when she can and she’s very generous with her time when we ask her to help with anything.

“We would like more and more juniors to come through and we actively encourage parents to bring their children to the club and join in any junior programmes.”

With the help of professional Roly Hitchcock, the club has embraced campaigns such as Girls Golf Rocks – run by England Golf and the Golf Foundation – and Get Into Golf with seven new female members joining on the back of the last programme.

An innovative ‘Fortnight on the Fairways’ promotion also allowed beginners to try out golf as well as every aspect of club life for a two-week period in springtime before making a commitment to membership.

Three of the club’s seven board members are women, ensuring their voice is heard when key policy decisions are made.

Across the country, clubs and counties are pledging to make strides in developing the women’s and girls’ game.

Gog Magog Golf Club (pictured above) has become the first signatory to the Women in Golf Charter in Cambridgeshire.

This England Golf Championship venue has pledged to cover a wide range of commitments including governance, recruitment through Girls Golf Rocks and Get Into Golf as well as a targeted campaign to encourage more women to take up the game in the 18-30 age group.

Essendon Golf Club in Hertfordshire has pledged to look at 12 areas where they can boost their commitment to women and girls. Included in this is a buddy scheme for new members and a disability programme called Sarries Swing.

Bentham Golf Club is the latest in Yorkshire to sign up to the Charter.

They have committed to ensuring 50% female representation at board level and in all paid jobs at the club – surpassing the 30% code for sports governance.

On top of that they are looking to grow engagement levels through a schools’ programme and Get Into Golf sessions.

Details on how your club or county can become the next signatory to this initiative can be found on the Women in Golf Charter homepage on the England Golf website.