It’s just two weeks to go until Women’s Golf Day. This global initiative spans 46 countries and will see hundreds of clubs offering events that will hopefully inspire women of all abilities to put their reservations to one side and come along to play golf. Support here in the UK has been terrific with the media, Tour players, brands and high profile venues getting behind the movement. We spoke to the people involved to find out more.
Women’s Golf Day (WGD) is one of several campaigns this year which are specifically targeting women and girls. What is remarkable about WGD is its reach – it is arguably the single largest initiative to address barriers to participation in any sport. One day, 4 hours. That’s it. Simplicity itself.
David MacLaren, Head of European Tour Properties, explains why he and European Tour Properties are supporting WGD for the second year, “As the sole male in a family of three female golfers, all of whom play better than me, I have been a keen observer of the development of women’s golf and also the obstacles that still sadly exist. Whether because it is the right thing to do in order to redress this balance, or as an opportunity to welcome new golfers, European Tour Properties are extremely proud to support, for the second year in succession, Women’s Golf Day. Many of our 24 Venues, across 19 countries and 3 continents, will be activity organising events, as part of our clear philosophy to partner with Clubs and Resorts that are inclusive and welcoming, as well as offering world-class facilities to all guests.”
Editor of Women & Golf Alison Root believes in WGD because it is giving golf the opportunity to show a side of the game that most outsiders don’t see, “There is currently a huge focus on encouraging more women and girls to the game, not only in the UK, but around the world, so there is no better time to embrace a specific day dedicated to women’s golf. It’s a great opportunity for golf clubs and other facilities to open their doors and demonstrate the fun side of the game in a relaxed and inclusive environment.”
Fun is definitely at the heart of the design and delivery of WGD events and what differentiates it from other initiatives. “The events run in conjunction with Women’s Golf Day have to have a social aspect to them,” explains UK Country Ambassador for Women’s Golf Day, Emma Ballard. She continues, “The social element can take any format, but having the opportunity to meet likeminded women and have a chat about golf is really important to building a relationship with the clubs involved.”
Making golf more sociable isn’t a first but WGD sees it as a vital factor in developing Women’s Golf, as has proven in other successful campaigns such as Ladies Love Golf. Since its launch, Founder, John Cheetham, has delivered golf to hundreds of new ladies at the 3 Hammers Golf Complex. By incorporating a social element to his lessons, he has been able to break down some of the barriers that prevent women from getting involved as he explains, “With golf historically being a more male dominated sport, creating a social, relaxed environment has been the key to breaking down existing barriers and attracting more ladies to the game. This social element has been the backbone of the success behind Ladies Love Golf and why we are supporting Women’s Golf Day.”
As one of over 50 participating venues the 3 Hammers Golf Complex is in good company. Love.golf is holding events at 12 locations across the country, 2019 Open venue, Royal Portrush and the European Tour’s London Club are just two of the big names supporting the day. The Ladies European Tour has also been a great advocate for WGD helping to grow awareness at its tournament destinations and getting its players to raise awareness.
It’s not only the roster of locations that is noteworthy, American Golf is partnering Women and Golf to bring a free event and fashion show to High Legh Park Golf Club. Daniel Gathercole Head of Marketing at American Golf is keen to encourage the industry to get behind WGD because of the potential that growing the number of women playing could have on the game in general, “By increasing the numbers of regular female golfers we create a family environment at the golf club which can have a significant impact on retaining membership. As an industry we need to support movements like Women’s Golf Day. They understand the barriers to participation and are developing a format that appeals to thousands of women across the globe.”
Emma Ballard concludes, “Getting women to the Women’s Golf Day events should mark the beginning of their journey into golf. The clubs who are involved need to engage with them and inspire them to stay. I am lucky that when I started to play again I was with a great group of ladies who have supported each other and have been brought into the club by a fantastic Pro. I just hope that the women taking part on 6th June have the same great experience I did.”
For more information on Women’s Golf Day and for a full list of events in the UK visit www.womensgolfday.com
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