Faced with dwindling membership enquiries from women and with many current members opting to move towards non-playing categories, Royal Perth Golf Club knew they had to act.
Committee members at Royal Perth acknowledged that their current approach to attracting women members was not working so they set about identifying the problem and forming a solution.
Through conversations with existing members, the Club discovered that many women are keen to try golf, they just do not know where to begin. Enduring traditional stereotypes and complex rules often present as barriers to entry for many women.
This initial discovery phase was pivotal in recognising that a welcoming, accepting and encouraging environment was key in targeting and retaining new female members.
The program entitled ‘Intro to Golf’ took women on a holistic journey that aimed to produce confident golfers who would progress to taking their place in the field at Royal Perth.
Royal Perth’s program is a comprehensive, multi-faceted 26-week journey that takes women from beginner golfers to valued club members.
The Intro to Golf course begins with five weeks of lessons on the range with Brad Logan, Royal Perth’s PGA Professional. These foundation lessons introduce women to the basics of the golf swing as well as chipping & putting.
Jody Byun was a participant in the program and noted, “It is such an easy way for anyone that has an interest in golf to start. By starting the program, it boosted my confidence, energy and was a great way to fit exercise into my life.”
Once new members have mastered the basics, they begin to take their first steps onto the golf course. Existing club members act as mentors for participants to ensure they feel comfortable both in and around the clubhouse and on course. The role of these mentors is a critical part of the program in introducing new golfers to the basic rules and etiquette of the Club. The Intro to Golf program covers all aspects of golf including how to repair a divot & pitch mark, stableford scoring and basic rules.
Another important factor of the program is that participants are encouraged to progress at a pace they feel comfortable with. Some participants are confident enough playing nine holes while others only venture out to play a few holes during their first time out on course.
Regular on-course experiences with mentors and access to the course on non-competition days allow participants to develop friendships and a support network within the club and amongst existing members. Real-world experiences enable participants to grow their skills each week.
“The program allowed me to make lots of new, amazing friendships, we have such a great time both on the course and at the club. I definitely recommend it for anyone who is wanting to start golf,” Jody Byun said.
At the completion of the 26-week course, participants have learned the game and rules of golf, gained handicaps, and become familiar with the golf course. More importantly, these women are now confident playing members of their new golf club and having fun!
The success of Royal Perth Golf Club’s program is highlighted by the 36 women who became playing members within a two-year period of completing the course. For a club that was facing declining female membership, this is a fantastic outcome.
Encouraged by results, Royal Perth now runs two intakes of the Introduction to Golf course each year and has expanded its offering to include both male and female participants. The emphasis of nurturing and supporting new golfers to become valued members remains the same.