360 km north of Perth lies Dongara Golf Club, an 18-hole grass green course and one of the few grass green clubs that continues to be maintained solely by voluntary members. A not-for-profit organisation, community and accessibility are evidently a key focus at Dongara.
Like many Golf Clubs, Dongara Golf Club has limited female participation, both in competition participation and club membership. This lack of participation is a global trend, with many factors being cited as barriers to more women playing golf including lack of time and a bit of trepidation of being a member of a golf club.
The WA Golf Foundation is working closely with clubs like Dongara to support them in breaking down these barriers and getting more women involved.
Throughout 2018, Dongara Golf Club (DGC) ran a series of clinics, in an effort to raise the profile of female golf amongst the Dongara/Denison population as well as making it more accessible for beginners. To achieve this, DGC implemented skills clinics/education sessions run by a professional, obtained three sets of golf clubs to be kept at the club and used, and making online courses available for those interested in further developing their skills.
Clinics were run by Daniel Bennett, a golfing professional from Geraldton GC with the ability to educate new players and beginners. The initial lessons that were run attracted 28 women, with another 17 signing up for an additional four weeks.
Not only are these women improving their basic skills, but some are making even more of a commitment to the sport.
After hosting the lessons, the club had two new members join, and saw an increase in the number of 9-hole competition players, rising from four to nine.
The clubs that the DGC acquired have been used by women in the 9-hole competition, and an additional 3 sets of clubs have been purchased as a result of the clinics. Access to equipment makes it easier for women to take part in the sport, and assists in breaking down preventative barriers.
Online courses are in the process of being made more accessible to offer lessons in a different format.
Seeing the number of women playing golf at Dongara growing is just another sign of good growth in the sport, and the WA Golf Foundation looks forward to continuing to support DGC in their development programs.