Chiltern Forest Golf Club in Buckinghamshire is planning to spend a grant it has received from HS2’s Community & Environment Fund on upgrading its women’s changing rooms.
The HS2 Community & Environment Fund and Business & Local Economy Fund have been operating on Phase One of the HS2 route between the West Midlands and London since 2017, with the aim of benefitting communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2.
Chiltern Forest is the only 18-hole golf club in the area which was able to demonstrate that it is committed to being accessible to the whole community by being a Community Amateur Sports Club, thus qualifying for the grant.
The £27,326 grant will be used to help fund the major refurbishment of the club’s women’s changing rooms. This is part of an overall project the club is launching to increase the participation of women in golf in general and at Chiltern Forest in particular. At present only 15% of golfers nationally are women, at Chiltern Forest this figure is even lower.
Like many golf clubs in the UK, Chiltern Forest has enjoyed a significant boost to its membership over the last two years, but the facilities are in urgent need of modernisation to make it more welcoming to new members, especially women. Besides golfers, the clubhouse facilities are widely used at events organised by local community groups and by passing visitors. Improvements to the changing facilities will benefit many other users.
Ron Fisher and Peter Barron, Joint Chairs of Chiltern Forest Golf Club, said: “The members of CFGC would like to thank HS2 for providing us with funding which will make a real difference to us and to the local community and will improve greatly our facilities for women golfers and visitors. This investment, together with funds provided by the club, will allow us to build modern facilities that will greatly help us in our mission to increase the number of women who can access our facilities for social, fun and competitive golf at Chiltern Forest Golf Club.”
Jacqueline King, Women’s Golf Captain of Chiltern Forest, said: “The changing room improvements and the other initiatives we are making for women visiting socially or playing the course will be a big improvement. I’d like to thank HS2 for the opportunity this gives us to greatly improve the offer to women at CFGC.“
Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of HS2 Funds, said: “Chiltern Forest Golf Club has provided leisure and sport facilities to the local people for decades and their successful application to HS2’s Community & Environment Fund highlights the important role they play in bringing together the local community.
“Their plan to use the funding they have received to improve the changing facilities on offer to female golfers, combined with some key member-run initiatives like the Women’s Golf Academy, will bring them one step closer to achieving their important goal of increasing the participation of women in the sport.”
In addition to the enhanced facilities, the club is setting up a Women’s Golf Academy, run in conjunction with its club professional based at Bierton’s Dynamic Driving Range, where women will be able to learn the basics of Golf in a fun and low risk environment. This initiative mirrors England Golf’s ‘Get Into Golf’ national campaign promoting the sport as a fun, sociable way to grow confidence on the golf course.
All club competitions at Chiltern Forest are open to both genders, and the club runs mixed gender team events and has recently introduced roll up slots for women who just want to play golf with other women. The club is also introducing gender-neutral tees, allowing women and men to play from any of the tees.