The PGA is embracing Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign by striking out with a bold bid to get more women playing golf.
It has launched its own This Girl Golfs initiative starting off with a unique collaboration with the Birmingham Rep which has seen local PGA pros and clubs engage directly with theatre goers.
The PGA is supporting The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice – a play about the empowerment of women – with the aim of bringing golf to a new audience that might previously not have considered golf as a leisure or sporting activity.
Aims of the campaign including breaking down the myths and misconceptions that might deter women from picking up a club and giving golf a go.
During the play’s two week run from May 15-30, which stars former Coronation Street duo Vicky Entwistle (Janice Battersby) and Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow), local PGA pros and clubs have climbed on board by meeting audience members prior to the curtain going up while as part of the campaign they have also teed up an array of taster and starter sessions to encourage women to take that first step.
The PGA is hosting an official launch at the Rep on Thursday, May 28 where it has invited leading figures from sports bodies and local businesses to showcase the This Girl Golfs campaign and how it is spreading the message that golf is a realistic sporting and leisure choice for women.
Kyle Phillpots, The PGA’s joint chief operating officer, said: “I’m sure theatre goers might be a bit surprised to see golf being promoted at the Birmingham Rep but the whole point is that golf is actually a very accessible, welcoming and enjoyable environment and we want to get that message across to women who may not have considered golf as an option.
“This is a great opportunity to both raise the profile of golf, break down myths and misconceptions and to actively encourage women of all ages to see golf as a realistic choice – whether that is for personal, professional, business or social reasons.
“Moving forward we will be using this unique project as a launchpad to bring more women into the game.”
Craig Thomas, the Golf Academy in Wolverhampton, one of the PGA pros who has been greeting theatre goers prior to the curtain going up, is used to a more traditional golf environment but has given the initiative the thumbs up.
“I’ve always been a fan of trying something different, golf has got to try different things and we have to take the game to people rather than wait for them to come to us,” he said.
“It’s been an interesting experience here at The Rep and it’s certainly been a conversation starter.”
To celebrate the launch of the campaign five women golfers took part in a video and promotional shoot at The PGA’s Belfry headquarters, showcasing a range of stories from a lapsed golfer to a retired assistant headteacher who only took up the sport at 60 with the prompting of a PE teacher colleague.
The innovative project complements Sport England’s recently launched This Girl Can campaign which is encouraging women to get more activity through sport.
The PGA has been supporting the campaign with YouTube videos telling individual stories plus a social media campaign utilising the #thisgirlgolfs hashtags aimed at engaging women and pros into showing their support for the initiative.
Golf has been in the spotlight in recently years with concerns over falling participation but The PGA and its members, through its involvement in England Golf’s Get into Golf campaign and Sport England’s This Girl Can Coach initiative, is playing an active role in recruiting new golfers, particularly women.
And research by The PGA reveals that golf ticks many of the boxes that women are looking for when it comes to an activity, particularly the emphasis on the social side and being able to play a sport with friends and enjoy a drink and a chat afterwards.