What a summer for women’s sport

2017 has already been a stand-out year for British women’s sport.  England’s women cricketers have won the World Cup, England’s women rugby team took its position as the number one team in the world after victory over New Zealand, and there has been plenty to cheer about this summer in British women’s tennis, football and athletics.

This weekend features the women’s British Open golf championship at Kingsbarns in Scotland.  It promises to be another celebration of women’s sport here in the UK.  Golf Like A Girl can’t wait to support our British golfers in Scotland and in the upcoming Solheim Cup in the USA.

There’s never been a better time to participate as a woman in sport in the UK; never has women’s sport had as much media exposure, financial and public support.  At Golf Like A Girl we will continue to encourage this at a national and local level.  Get in touch at any time if you’d like to give golf a try with Golf Like A Girl.

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It’s ‘official’… Golfers live longer!

The weather has turned colder and winter is on the way.  That said, there are still plenty of reasons to get out on the golf course, not least a recent report that suggests that golfers live up to five years longer than those who don’t golf.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine study reviewed 5,000 studies into golf and wellbeing and found the sport has physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages, and can even increase life expectancy by five years.  The study highlights how the game helps golfers guard against 40 major chronic diseases such as diabetes, breast and colon cancer.

bjsmghLead researcher Dr Andrew Murray, from the physical activity for health research centre at the University of Edinburgh, said:

Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth.  Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages.

(Full details about the BJSM research are available on the BJSM’s podcast).

As with many of the associated studies, there are caveats.  These research studies underline the difficulty of pinpointing golf as the single variable in mortality rates. People with certain illnesses and certain health conditions may find it difficult to golf in the first place, hence golfers might be, by definition, more healthy than others.  In addition to exercise, there may be stress-relieving benefits related to being outside, as well as social benefits related to golfing with friends and colleagues.

That said, increasing volumes of data from the fitness applications on our phones and fitbits are pointing to considerable calorific burn for every hour spent on the golf course – more if you’re walking and carrying your own clubs, of course, but even when you’re using a cart or buggy.

At Golf Like A Girl we’re all for hailing the social and physical benefits of golf.  Our events are geared to enhance the benefits of the game, and we encourage everyone to catch up with friends on and around the golf course.  If there’s any chance of a longer life for us all, even while the nights are drawing in a little earlier, then all the better!

Inspired to play?…

In the UK over the summer, BrExit gloom was replaced by the joyful performances of Team GB at the Olympics.  Super Saturdays extended into Super Sundays given late night time zones.  The first Olympic golf competitions for 100 years even featured a British Gold medal winner for the men, and a seventh place in the Olympic women’s golf event for Britain’s Charley Hull.

As with London 2012, once the Olympics came to an end, the talk quickly turned to legacy.  How can the fortnight of inspirational performances translate into more engagement in sport in our schools, villages and a more active population generally?  This is where the likes of Golf Like A Girl finds real inspiration.  We love to encourage all of you thinking thoughts of being more active to take action.  Our vision is to get women connecting on and around golf courses across the UK and beyond.

We strive to make it easy as possible for you to join in, to connect with like-minded women and have a go as part of our Golf Like A Girl community.  You don’t need to be an Olympian to get out and get slightly more active on the golf course, in the fresh air, in beautiful surroundings.  For further inspiration, read some of our Golf Like A Girl participants’ stories and get in touch today if you’re inclined to turn the golden glow of Olympic viewing into action.

Playing a round with a smile

The women’s British Open was played this week, featuring the best in women’s golfing talent over four days of competition at Woburn Golf Club.  It proved to be a celebration of women’s golf.  A wonderful tournament played out on comprehensive BBC coverage that featured the wit and wisdom of the likes of Andrew Cotter and the insightful Maureen Madill.  There were flashes of brilliance throughout the tournament from Team GB’s imminent Olympians, Charley Hull & Catriona Matthew, who cross multiple generations in their appeal.  The tournament was won by a young lady from Thailand, Ariya Jutanugarn, who has introduced a compelling element of her pre-shot routine – a mindful smile – that is surely destined to be imitated on golf courses across the globe.

The tournament offered a real celebration of women’s golf.  Large crowds viewed professional and amateur golfing talent, the winner of whom carried herself with grace and a celebrated smile.  I loved how Charley Hull signed off from her week – tweeting her thanks to the youngsters in the crowds who followed her.  Although Golf Like A Girl couldn’t be there this weekend, it was a timely prompt of our own celebration of junior golf coming up, as we run our inaugural Golf Like A Girl Junior Day on Friday 19th August.  We can’t wait to introduce some excited youngsters to the game, Golf Like A Girl-style.

With time off coming up for many in August, we’re thrilled to highlight a few other ways that golf continues to encourage newcomers to the game.  From the Golf Express initiative recently endorsed by England Golf to Swingers, the Crazy Golf bar that has recently launched in Central London.  Whether or not the summer weather warms up, it’s time to give golf a go, in one form or another, to find a smile or two through golf.

Bringing us together

It is the end of a difficult month for many people in the UK, given divisions exaggerated by the EU Referendum result.  But at Golf Like A Girl we’re concentrating on what brings us together.  Rain or shine, old or young, north or south, we’ve been working hard to extend our community of golfers.

From Birmingham to Bath, we’ve been meeting with fascinating people to share the Golf Like A Girl experience and to discuss new opportunities.  A little over a year into our adventure, we’re thrilled at the numbers of participants we’ve introduced to golf and to our Golf Like A Girl community.  The groups are thriving; we’re delighted to be adding a junior section to our events, and we remain busy working on ideas to expand the Golf Like A Girl network across the country.

GLaGLunch2

At a time when some gloomy clouds have descended, we’re thrilled that our golfing girls are having more giggles than ever.  We’ll keep encouraging women to come together around golf, and we’ll keep finding excuses to have fun on the golf course.  Thanks to all the participants, partners and pros who continue to share the laughter with us.  We look forward to bringing more of us together, more regularly on and off the golf course.

Celebrating women; celebrating golf

On the day that one of Scotland’s most revered golf clubs denied women the right to become members of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, it might seem odd to post about a celebration of women’s golf.

However, in spite of today’s vote result, Golf Like A Girl believes there is plenty to celebrate about women’s engagement in golf.  Firstly, there has been some meaningful outrage and backlash to Muirfield’s decision.  As a result of being stuck in something of a time warp, Muirfield has been denied its spot on the list of Open Championship hosts by the R&A.  It is evident from today’s reaction that golf, not to mention society at large, has moved on from this kind of ‘outlier’.  Furthermore, there is simply too much positive activity in women’s golf, presently, to worry about one or two clubs’ old fashioned standpoints.

The anachronistic case that was made by the ‘no’ voters at Muirfield helps concentrate our minds about what we’re trying to achieve at Golf Like A Girl.  We’re not trying to break down doors to clubs who are protective of an exclusive membership.  Golf has suffered a reduction in participation precisely because of several historic barriers:  chauvinism; elitism; expensive membership; slow play.  It is evident that where these barriers still exist, there will be a gradual ‘extinction’ of the clubs that do not evolve.  Society is moving on – demonstrating a more enlightened, inclusive outlook and a lifestyle lived at a faster pace.  As a recent Syngenta report demonstrated, participation in golf today requires the breakdown of these financial, elitist and slow-play barriers.  Key to this, is the encouragement of female participation.

At Golf Like A Girl we get women involved in golf because, at 95% of golf clubs, golf is celebrated as a social game for all.  As an outdoor past-time in often breath-taking natural environment, it’s a compelling, wonderful shared experience with friends and family.  Women come to Golf Like A Girl precisely because golf can be an intimidating sport to take up.  Golf clubs can be intimidating places to visit.  Golf rules can appear impenetrable.  We celebrate women’s want to socialise and enjoy each other.  Golf helps to help bring our women together.

At heart, Golf Like A Girl works because we have a laugh at our events.  Golf Pros, club staff, Golf Like A Girl participants come together to find out how inclusive the game can be.  How refreshing it can be to take up a new activity and share it with friends.  Far from worrying about clubhead speeds or the appropriate jacket to wear for lunch, Golf Like A Girl will forever work to inspire women simply to *enjoy* themselves and enjoy golf.  We encourage and love the stories of our women participants playing with families, female and male friends alike.  There are thousands of venues around the UK and throughout the world where women can enjoy golf.  No need to worry about the keeping the company of one so-called ‘honourable’ membership.

Is golf finally ‘getting it’?

TGP1604News in this week’s edition of The Golf Paper suggests that golf’s governing body, the Royal & Ancient (R&A), is moving to “revitalise the image of golf” by launching a new 9-hole team tournament, as well as staging a high-profile joint event between men’s and women’s European Tours.  This is welcome, and long overdue news.

Golf has faced an increasing image challenge while its primary means of participation is a 4+ hour round of 18 holes – generally resulting in half a day / day out of precious weekend time.  For many this is no trouble (and desirable for some)!  But for those balancing increasingly busy family lives – men and women alike – this has led to challenging participation numbers.

Tennis has long been able to engage men and women alike in mixed competitions.  Football and rugby are working hard to extend participation among women and girls.  So what a relief it is for the R&A to be thinking about promoting not only mixed events, but also 9-hole events.  At Golf Like a Girl, we actively target clubs that provide a 9-hole option.  We find that clubs that offer 9 holes are, frequently, open to other creative ideas about encouraging newcomers into golf – good news for golf clubs and participants alike.

There’s nothing wrong with the all-day, all-weekend or even all-week golfing holiday for devotees!  But for those of us also keen to get out more regularly for a quick round, we’re delighted that the R&A looks like promoting both mixed and 9-hole golf in a more active manner.

Announcing the Golf Like A Girl franchise

Golf Like A Girl is ready to expand.  We are ready to promote Golf Like A Girl as a franchise business – offering those interested in running their own lifestyle business who are motivated to inspire women to enjoy golf.

We want to give other like-minded entrepreneurs the opportunity to run their own business within the safety net of an established business model.  We know that with the right level of enthusiasm, franchisees can take the Golf Like A Girl model out to their local areas and launch a profitable, lifestyle business.

Why now? 

Twelve months into Golf Like A Girl, we are thrilled by the growth of activities and positive feedback we have received:-

  • Our primary reason for expansion has been the positive feedback from Golf Like A Girl participants. As we enter our second year, we are thrilled at the experiences we’ve created and shared with a mix of beginner and returning golfers.  Our Golf Like A Girl participants keep on coming back, and keep referring other women to our events.
  • Queries from potential participants from across the UK. We have heard from women from all parts of the UK who are keen to join a Golf Like A Girl event.  So far, we have been limited to events in the South East of England – but our expansion starts here…
  • Interest from golf club pros. Many golf clubs have launched ad hoc initiatives to encourage women into the game.  Pros have contacted us to find out how we can help to initiate and/or build on stalled momentum to get women along to their golf club.
  • National sports and media organisations and sponsors have been tremendously supportive already. Many organisations have recognised the potential in the Golf Like A Girl brand, and now we are ready to work with those passionate about women’s health, well-being and participation in golf.

We are ready to share our passion and profitable business model with a team of franchisees.  If you’re interested in joining us as one of two ‘pilot’ franchisees, read more here, and get in touch by eMailing tanya@golflikeagirluk.com today.

More than lip service

What a refreshing change to read the piece by Naga Munchetty (@BBCNaga) – a passionate and respected golfer in the public eye – talking directly to golf clubs about the need to remove barriers frequently put in front of women who might be interested in taking up the game.

Naga’s piece in the March/April edition of NagaGolfWomen & Golf Magazine spells out the challenges for women considering golf:  time-poor women heralded by ‘five minute wonder’ campaigns to lure females into golf, only to face archaic club restrictions on when and where they can play (or even sit!); exaggerated demands for joining fees and restrictive handicap requirements, as well as attitudes (even from many lady members) that highlight more about what they can’t do at the golf club than about the possibilities.

These barriers are at the heart of why I set up Golf Like A Girl.  Despite an off-putting introduction to the game many years ago, I returned to golf to realise some of the most wonderful times with friends and family, on and around courses that have generated fond memories forever – from spectacular scenery on holidays to proper belly-laughs with girlfriends in the clubhouse.  Yet, just the other day I arrived in the car park of a renowned UK golf club and felt distinctly uncomfortable by everything from the ‘Members Only’ restrictions to various entrances to the foreboding “welcome” I received from the stern club secretary asking what I was looking for, as I toured the clubhouse to find a new female friend I was seeking to join for a coffee.  We know that there are many golf clubs, golf club pros and club managers working hard to encourage women into the game. Without keen attention to the issues raised in Naga Munchetty’s article, however, these ambassadors for women’s sport will remain the exception rather than the norm.

Golf Like A Girl exists to work every day to encourage women into fun events on and around the golf course, to make taking up the game easy and attractive.  We can’t wait to hear more from Naga, and other respected influencers who are both passionate about women’s golf and prepared to shout out home truths that some golf clubs need to hear.  Golf clubs are struggling for members and revenue.  Naga’s concluding points are spot on:  women in golf is a ‘win-win’ for clubs; golf pros; the golf industry generally and for male golfers who get to play more golf on family holidays.  Golf Like A Girl will continue to work hard, each day, motivated by those such as Naga who demonstrate their passion and excitement for the game, and motivated by our mission to inspire women to enjoy golf.

Overcoming obstacles

Here at Golf Like a Girl we are excited to witness so many women enjoying our events.  Whether participants are complete beginners, improvers or existing golfers looking for a social, fun way to play the game, the feedback has been fantastic.  Our aim is to continue to grow and support increasing groups of women coming together, enjoying golf.

As well as the women we have enjoyed meeting, it is always great to receive emails or social media messages from new contacts across the UK.

We hear regularly about common obstacles that women face when thinking about getting into golf, or looking to develop their game.  Just this weekend I’ve been in contact with a woman in her 20s who has been introduced to golf recently and loves the game!  She has been struggling to encourage her immediate group of friends to give it a try.  This leaves her in a position where she’d love to be playing more and enjoying a social life connected to her new hobby, but feels a bit stuck right now.

I can relate well to this story, as I faced similar hurdles myself.  In fact, I gave up the game for 10 years for these reasons, before returning to try again.

One of the reasons that we’re expanding Golf Like a Girl throughout the UK, is to invite and include women who are looking for more than just an isolated ‘lesson after lesson’ experience.  So please don’t give up if you can’t find someone to play with immediately, or if you’re put off by the need to commit to significant golf club membership fees.  Golf Like a Girl recognises that sometimes you just want to ‘try it out’, hence our approach to set up events that you can join whenever you can make it.

We love that our community of amazing women is growing from strength to strength, on and off the course, in person and online.  Do get in touch if you’ve made resolutions to get active in 2016 and/or expand your social connections.  We’d love to introduce you to Golf Like a Girl.