Here's what happened when the Middlesex County Golf Union held a Women's Golf Forum to help support clubs who are looking to or who have already signed up to the Women in Golf Charter.

In October, Middlesex County Golf Union held a Women’s Golf Forum at Hendon Golf Club. The idea behind the event was to bring women from local clubs together to discuss the Women in Golf Charter. The event gave Middlesex golf clubs that had been early adopters of the Charter the chance to share their experiences with others. Also allowing the Union to find out what had worked well and what challenges clubs who had already signed up had faced and to encourage other clubs to sign up in 2022.

Twenty-one women from twelve clubs attended. The event started with nine holes followed by a presentation from the Middlesex Development committee. Then there was the chance for group discussions and the forum ended with a Q&A session.

Similar challenges faced across golf clubs

It was clear that the challenges were consistent across the clubs, whilst Covid had slowed down the process, many women still found it challenging for their golf clubs to prioritise and buy into the Charter. An example of this was a board being more concerned with having a full membership. Other issues had been the inability to set up Academies at clubs, so that there was a clear pathway for new golfers. The point was also raised that there was a need for more female PGA professionals to help attract more women and girls to play.

There were also positives to take away which included the proactive support that golf clubs had received at county level, whether that be financial or resource-based. Plus, it was noted that grants from England Golf had helped to speed up the process towards signing the Charter. For those who had been able to set up Academies, weekend lessons were popular amongst working women.

How to engage and retain new female members

Once the issues had been raised, the group discussions enabled the attendees to put forward solutions that could help others there and those from golf clubs that had been unable to attend. The main solutions raised were around engaging and then retaining new female players. These included:

  • To ensure that the club’s committee and board are fully supportive of any women’s development initiatives and the Women in Golf Charter.
  • To encourage from within the golf club and get involvement across all women’s membership categories.
  • To encourage all categories of women (not just full membership) and creating events for all.
  • To use the resources already available from the county and from England Golf.
  • To actively invite new women to roll-ups.
  • To embrace technology and use WhatsApp to create a community feel for new golfers/members.
  • To start up a buddy system to help new golfers/members when joining the golf club.
  • To have a pairs competitions with a more experienced golfer paired with a new golfer to help with understanding the rules and etiquette on the golf course

The forum was able to help those not already signed up to the charter to go back to their clubs confident, invigorated and ready to start their Charter journey. Most importantly with the knowledge that they would be supported along the way.

For those that had already signed up, it had also provided the opportunity to learn of new initiatives that they could use so that they are able to achieve their Charter commitments.

Building momentum in the county

Since the Women's Golf Forum, Middlesex now has 65% of clubs engaged with the Women in Golf Charter, which they are proud to report is above the national average. There are now 11 clubs that are accredited, two who are in process of accreditation and seven who have expressed an interest in becoming accredited.

Middlesex County Golf Union hopes to provide more networking opportunities in the future to keep building the momentum in the county when it comes to signing up to the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.

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We’d love to hear about your experiences with the Women in Golf Charter – do you feel you have received enough help from your County Union and National Governing Body? Drop an email to [email protected]