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 Women & 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.