Raising the profile of women’s golf is a key concern to many involved in the sport, with participation rates of women remaining significantly lower than that of men. To combat this, initiatives such as mentoring and development programs are run all over the state to encourage more women to get involved in the sport and further develop their skills.
Since 2014, the Lower Great Southern Women’s Golf Association (LGSWGA) has run clinics and competitions for beginner and higher handicap women golfers throughout regional and rural areas such as Mt. Barker, Bremer Bay, Albany and Walpole.
LGSWA ran a project, Gone to Golf, throughout 2018 to encourage women to try golf out, assist them in improving their skills and encourage them to join their local golf club. Clinics for beginners and high handicappers were run by community coaches and mentors, allowing women to be taught and mentored by other women with experience in the game.
The project had fantastic reach, with a total of 26 mentors/community coaches involved in the project and 53 new or longer handicap players. Clinics were run in 6 locations including Kendenup Golf Club, Borden and Broomehill.
Three clinics in Mt Barker were run by a professional, which was requested by women who had reached a higher level of competency and required a higher level of instruction. These women were past participants of the project, a testament to how the clinics can help continuously build the skills of women in golf when run continuously over a number of years.
By running clinics for women, participants can be encouraged and mentored by other women in golf to build their confidence. One of the participants at a 2016 clinic said, “Thanks very much for offering ladies golf. It certainly helps when you know most people are at the same level as you. It’s actually an encouragement to keep working at the game of golf. ”
Building a sense of community and a welcoming environment within women’s golf is a key part of increasing the numbers of women participating in the sport. Another 2016 participant said that “It is such a great way to meet excellent women from around the district in a relaxed and easy environment.” Creating a community aids in the social component, further reason for women to stay involved in the spot.
With so many new players involved with the project, the clinics have had positive long-term impacts, with a number of women who participated joining their local club; in Broomehill alone four women joined their club, bringing their previous total up from zero!
The Western Australian Golf Foundation supports a number of programs and initiatives that are designed to get women involved in the sport, as well as improve their skills and build the community of women in golf.