Honiton Golf Club won Golf Club of the Year at the Club Mirror Awards. Member Wendi Abraham shares the club's story.
In 2024, Women & Golf want to share the women and girls' golf success stories and case studies from across the UK and Ireland.
We're starting the year by looking back to the work done by Honiton Golf Club in Devon. How in 2023, an evaluation of the ladies' section, combined with the ambitions of the Lady Captain led to a new pathway for women and girls and was topped off with a national award.
Words by Wendi Abraham - Honiton Golf Club member
It's timely that the new report from Syngenta and Ipsos confirms there is still much to overcome when looking at reputational issues relating to golf. This completely mirrors the objectives which activated all the work our Lady Captain and Lady Vice Captain have delivered in 2023 at Honiton Golf Club, and will continue to deliver over the next 5 years and beyond.
Their three key objectives were to:
1) Promote golf as a game for all.
2) Encourage women and girls to try out the sport in a friendly, safe, inclusive and fun environment.
3) Break down the pre-conceptions of the sport.
Case Study: Honiton Golf Club
The Lady Captain took a close look at the ladies section and quickly recognised that not only were we not growing as fast as we would like, it was also apparent that the average age of our female players was rising.
This led to the club working closely with England Golf in order to utilise the Women on Par initiative to encourage women to come into the sport, which resulted in the launch of a free social "Gin & Swing" evening.
Attendees were able to find out more about the sport and the numerous benefits from playing. It was also an opportunity for the attendees to meet existing members and hear first hand what Honiton Golf Club could offer those women. This provided the springboard for them to join the Golf Access Programme, which ran for 10 weeks.
The response far exceeded our expectations and led to the creation of a two year Academy membership pathway, supporting new players who want to join the club and understand more about the game.
In addition to the Women on Par and Golf Access events, the club secured accreditation for England Golf Girls Golf Rocks programme, as it was important for us to encourage girls into the game, as well as women.
For those that visit Honiton Golf Club, it is repeatedly described as a "friendly welcoming" club. But what about the majority of the local demographic that may never have either played, or visited the club? We knew that if we could create an environment and positive experience for women and girls - where they felt welcome and valued, the club and sport would do the rest.
Our subsequent success with these programmes and pathway contributed to us winning Club Mirror, 2023 "Golf Club of the Year" (Under £1 million turnover). Interestingly, Bush Hill Park Golf Club, won the (Over £1 million turnover) category and doing equally great things for women and girls.
After receiving the award from ex-England goal keeper Peter Shilton, Jayne Jackson, Lady Captain said:
"When Honiton Golf Club was announced, we could not believe it, we were in shock! To have won a National Award on this scale is something that we could not believe was possible!
"When I took on the Captaincy in January 2023, I wanted to encourage more women to get in to golf and grow our Ladies Section as, like many golf clubs, we have a high age demographic and it is important that we safeguard our future
"Our hard work has paid off and I am immensely proud of what our team has achieved!’
Congratulations to Honiton Golf Club and thank you to member Wendi Abraham for taking the time to share the club's success story.
Has your golf club had success in attracting more women and girls to the sport? Maybe won an award like Honiton Golf Club. We would love to share your club's story and showcase the hard work that is taking place across the UK and Ireland in the women and girls golf space - drop Women & Golf an email.