Golf continues to break down barriers and old perceptions about the sport – with one Lancashire club electing its first lady president.
Hard on the heels of Scottish club Muirfield voting to accept lady members for the first time, Lynn Hepworth takes over as President at Nelson Golf Club following their recent AGM.
Lynn will lead the club through an exciting phase in its 115-year history as it looks to create a modern approach to looking after its members, attracting new players and developing the 18-hole course, which includes the appointment of a new head greenkeeper.
She is a fantastic example of how you are never too old to take on a new challenge in life.
Explains Lynn: “I was a very keen tennis player until a serious back injury in my late 50s stopped me from being able to run and change direction quickly, which put a stop to me playing.
“I was presented with a set of golf clubs for my 60th birthday and told to go and learn how to play. I booked a course of lessons, fell in love with the game, and joined Nelson in 2008.
“I am a firm believer that one is never too old to take up something new. All you need is a bit of determination and a healthy acceptance of the fact that, unlike juniors who just seem to get better and better with time, some days my golf will be better than others! But it is a great way to keep active and have a super social life.”
Lynn, who was a teacher for 40 years, specialising in maths for the 11-18 age group, says the club has made her feel very welcome: “We have a super Ladies section, and they have been very supportive in my early days over things like playing in competitions, rules and etiquette. I was very proud to be elected Lady Captain in 2014 and Vice President in 2015 – and am looking forward to some exciting times for the club.”
Nelson GC – which can be found in King’s Causeway, Brierfield – is an enthusiastic supporter of the national getintogolf.org campaign and is offering a three-month trial membership scheme for those interested in giving golf a go.
Lessons with the club professional Sam Punchard are included – and the club even offers sets of clubs to borrow to help make it even easier to start playing. Club mentors also help newcomers feel at home both on and off the course.
A special free taster session event held at the club on Friday, June 16, from 6pm-8pm with PGA professional Sam offering tips and advice is expected to be the first in a series of monthly events across the summer. The club has embraced a wide-ranging approach to promoting the event including using social media as well as a leaflet drop in the surrounding area at places ranging from schools, to gyms and hairdressers.
The club is actively looking to build its junior section further, following the success of last year’s free summer camps, which it hopes to repeat, along with creating links with local schools and community groups. The course recently hosted the Lancashire County Boys Championships as part of its commitment to junior golf.
The club has also introduced a new Membership and Marketing Committee, under the chairmanship of Phil Wright, which aims to raise awareness of the club in the local community as well as improving the member experience and lines of communication within the club.
Says Debbie Barber, development officer for the Lancashire Golf Development Group: “It is great to see a club like Nelson proving that the old images of golf are changing fast.
“They are taking a proactive and modern approach to looking after their members in the right way and attracting new players of all ages.
“Golf is a sport with a proud history and many of the traditions, such as sportsmanship and respect, are what makes it such a valuable model for life. But clubs need to adapt to the demands on people’s time in the 21st century and provide the kind of experience that they expect. Nelson is one of many clubs in Lancashire who are taking this kind of change on board and embracing it.”
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Nelson Golf Club http://www.nelsongolfclub.com/