Established in 1912. Pinjarra Golf Club is quickly establishing itself as one of the most progressive and innovative clubs in Western Australia.
Office Manager Tiffany Franklin and PGA Professional Matthew Heath are two of the driving figures behind the revitalisation of this wonderful club. Their enthusiasm and passion are palpable, and their hard work is paying dividends.
Declining membership numbers and a lack of female participation are two areas of concern that every golf club faces.
Despite their stature as a smaller club on the outskirts of the Perth metropolitan area, Pinjarra is addressing these issues head-on with a combination of initiative, enthusiasm and pure grit.
Many women are ready and willing to give golf a go, they just don’t know where to start.
For ‘non-golfers’ looking in from the outside, golf can appear intimidating. Complex rules combine with centuries of tradition and etiquette to create a culture that prevents many people from ever picking up a golf club.
Pinjarra Golf Club identified these barriers to entry and sought to change this perception of golf.
Matt and Tiffany created Friday ladies’ clinics to attract new women to golf and new members to the club. These clinics offered an hour of structured drills and individual tutoring in a relaxed and welcoming environment.
Pinjarra Golf Club is never afraid to try new things and in order to augment their ladies’ clinics, they applied for a local government grant to fund an onsite creche at the golf course.
This onsite creche was vital in breaking down barriers for mums who were interested in trying golf but just didn’t have the time or resources to make it a reality.
Research shows that postnatal exercise can improve mood, reduce depression and anxiety, maintain fitness and promote a sense of belonging.
“I received a lot of feedback from mums expressing their interest in learning golf, but they were at a loss as to who will look after their kids. The creche provided the perfect opportunity for these women to try golf in a fun and relaxed environment whilst knowing their kids were being looked after,” Matthew said.
The hour-long sessions are then followed with lunch in the clubhouse. This social interaction helps to break down barriers and adds to the laid-back and welcoming vibe that Pinjarra Golf Club exudes.
Speaking about the initiative, Tiffany said “Ladies golf is a very social outing, golf is only one component. Being a mum myself, I know how hard it is to go and meet other mums and participate in a social activity, as you feel a little isolated at home looking after children. So, with our offer of a free creche for a couple of hours, mums can forget about being just a mum and feel like an adult again.”
Gemma is just one of the ladies who was inspired to participate in the first 5-week clinic. An ad in a local primary school newsletter caught her attention and with a little convincing her and a friend signed up to the course.
“Once I picked up the club, I felt right at home. It is great to see Pinjarra Golf Club trying innovative ways to reach new audiences, it really helps to keep people engaged.”
Gemma emigrated to Australia several years ago and had been reluctant to play golf due to the traditional views of having to play 18 holes.
“The relaxed nature of the club, the provision of a free creche, going with a friend and the ability to play a quick 9 holes was a huge drawcard for me,” Gemma said.
Each participant in the beginner clinics received a free 4-week membership. Two women have already committed to extending their memberships into the future and Tiffany hopes that more will follow suit as the season progresses.
The beginner clinics have proved so popular that existing lady members were soon enquiring about clinics of their own. Matt and Tiffany are now catering for lady members with a Friday afternoon clinic.
Michelle, a long time Pinjarra Golf Club member and an annual player of the Bowra and O’Dea Women’s Classic, has thoroughly enjoyed mentoring new ladies and teaching them course etiquette in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Michelle has been a member at Pinjarra for 20 years and feels the current direction of the club is extremely exciting.
“Tiffany and Matt have been a breath of fresh air at the club and current members are excited about the prosperity and future direction of the club,” she said.
Now that the initial round of funding has finished, Tiffany and Matt must reapply for future funding. Given the initial success of the creche, they are hopeful that the initiative can continue well into the future.
Pinjarra Golf Club is a prime example of how initiative and creative thinking can help to strengthen and grow a golf club.
As more clubs face the prospect of declining membership numbers and an ageing member base, they need only look at Pinjarra to learn how to revitalise and rejuvenate their club.
The WA Golf Foundation offers funding that can help your club grow and expand. Please go here for more information on WA Golf Foundation funding applications.