Editor Emma Ballard talks to PGA Professional Molly Moore about a new mentoring and coaching programme that she is launching called Girls Golf Excellence
As an industry, we are making great strides in getting more girls into golf. With initiatives such as Girls Golf Rocks and active recruitment at club level, we’ve seen an increase in girls playing golf over the last 10 years. But are we retaining these girls as they hit puberty and senior school age? It’s something that is concerning PGA Professional Molly Moore who believes that the dropout rate in this age group is too high.
Molly took up golf when she was eight, quite literally falling into the sport after breaking her arm twice whilst taking part in her first passion of horse riding. She played as a junior at Hawkstone Park Golf Club in Shropshire and went through the county and regional circuit, getting down to a handicap of six. Not having any aspirations to play professionally, Molly looked to other ways to work in golf and ended up on the Applied Golf Management Studies degree at Birmingham University.
A passion for girls' golf
After graduating Molly based herself at Surrey Golf Lab at Reigate Hill and has been there for nearly three years. Whilst building a client base, Molly was able to work on a new project which is launching this March. Girls Golf Excellence was born through Molly’s passion for helping to retain more girls in the sport:
“The real passion for me was creating a support network for girls playing golf, because we’ve got a dropout rate which is currently too high. I’ve done a lot of studying around how girls react differently in different environments to boys, not just in golf but in society as a whole. I believe that the majority of girls would rather not attempt something than be seen to fail.
“A good example of this would be when I am teaching a mixed country squad, ask them to perform a lob shot, the boys will put themselves forward, even if they can’t do it, whilst the girls remain silent.”
Launching Girls Golf Excellence
Girls Golf Excellence are the UK’s first academy which is dedicated to supporting girls’ development and maximising their potential in golf. Molly wants to bring girls from across the UK together to not only work on their golf game but to learn more about the other aspects of golf and life which can impact their game.
Molly explains: “Our events are about bringing girls together to be able to train, but not necessarily just training on their short game or putting. Whilst we’ll spend time on the technical side of the game we’ll spend half the time on things around their golf experience. We can sit down and talk about different scenarios they may find themselves in. For example, they have a GCSE exam coming up or a coursework deadline, how can they manage their time better? We’ll cover topics that aren’t talked about enough such as periods which can affect their performance both physically and mentally.
“We’re passionate about supporting these girls outside of their golf game, so that they stay in golf and achieve what they want to achieve regardless of whether that is to be the next Charley Hull or just to continue enjoying playing the game. So it doesn’t matter what their goal is, we just want them to achieve their potential.”
First training camp taking place in March
The first Girls Golf Excellence event will take place on 26th March at Reigate Hill Golf Club in Surrey. The programme is open to 10-17 year olds and there is no cap on ability level.
“If you're 36, handicapper and you'd love to play off 18 come along, if you're an eight handicapper wanting to get to scratch, come along. The point is everybody there is on an even keel, it's okay if you get things wrong and there is no judgement on what you play off, or how tall you are, how small you are. Everyone is just there on a fresh page and they are all there for the same reason. Which is to get better and enjoy their golf more.”
Molly is keen to emphasise that the programme is not here to replace a player’s home coach. Girls Golf Excellence is there to be an addition, the same way a county programme works. They want to liaise with coaches to be able to do what's best for the players, to build trust and make it a two-way system, putting the player first. The academy will also help the girls form wider friendship groups and support network within golf.
For anyone interested in signing a player up to the first Girls Golf Excellence training camp, they can do so via the Facebook and Instagram pages or contact Molly Moore directly via email.
Molly hopes to see the programme grow and is looking forward to collaborating with other coaches and industry leaders so the girls will have special guests on webinars and in person to help them navigate being a female golfer and ultimately keep them in the sport for life.