Golf Australia’s March Visionary of the Year winner is Mount Macedon Golf Club who have taken a whole club approach to get women into golf.
Many people think that it is up to women to stand up and advocate for change in golf. But the truth is that it is up to both men and women to work together for change, and this is the case when it comes to the story of Mount Macedon Golf Club, which achieved an incredible 600 per cent rise in female engagement over the past year.
The club north-west of Melbourne has 10 male committee members who have shown an exceptional example of how men can be powerful allies in the pledge for making golf a sport for all by working with new women at the club.
Marcus Ward, secretary at Mount Macedon Golf Club said:
“As a small club, we are always looking to grow. In the past we had relied on our current market, primarily men, to bring in new members. Most commonly this was in the form of dads bringing sons or mates bringing mates. Coincidentally over the years, we had dropped to only 10 female members.
“Our board, who are all men, were aware that we were not tapping into 50 per cent of our potential market. This desire to bring more women to the club - ensuring it was a welcoming and inclusive space where women could enjoy golf at their own pace was really the catalyst for adopting our Get into Golf program.”
Using external resources
For some clubs, especially regional volunteer-based clubs with no resident PGA professional, setting up a participation program and pathway can be as daunting as moving a mountain! But the team at Mount Macedon demonstrates how tapping into external resources can help.
“We sought support from Golf Australia’s Regional Development Officer, Sharna Faralla, who helped us to understand our target market and the changes that the club needed to make to attract women and girls to the club.
“It’s not as simple as just bringing women to the club to play. They need to feel safe, supported and nurtured throughout their journey. Providing an opportunity for participants to socialise is critical as friendships made through clinics is really what keeps them coming back.”
The club needed a softer introduction to golf and working with Faralla to implement Get into Golf was the perfect answer.
“Our focus was on women simply being engaged with golf and go (and grow) from there. If we make their first experience with golf as fun and social as possible, they will want to continue to play and enjoy the benefits of ongoing participation.”
At that point, the club had no equipment to run clinics nor sets to hire or lend out.
“We applied for an equipment grant though The Victorian Golf Foundation and tapped into our local Gisborne Bendigo Bank community grant scheme. These grants enabled us to purchase equipment to support our clinics and programs.
“Bruce Fraser, a fellow committee member and I put our hands up to complete Golf Australia’s Community Instructor training. This training provided us with the resources and skills to introduce beginners to golf. A dozen other members also offered to support the program.”
Get Into Golf sign-ups beyond expectation
In a regional town of just more than 1000 residents, the club’s aim was to attract 10 women to the first series of Get into Golf Women clinics by advertising through the local newspaper, club Facebook page and flyers at local supermarkets.
They quickly received 20 registrations, and in the space of a year, 15 women have now joined the club as new members. A substantial figure given there were previously only six female members who were playing socially.
To encourage ongoing participation, all Get into Golf graduates were given four free round passes and free club hire to encourage play. Participants who are interested in membership have the $40 cost of Get Into Golf clinics deducted from the membership fee.
The club also introduced couples’ membership packages.
For the remaining 45 women who are either yet to become members or do not wish to join, the club is ensuring they continue to engage.
“Our priority should not just be getting members. We simply want more women playing golf in a way that suits them.”
Golf Australia applauds the outstanding efforts made by male-volunteer counterparts to get more women playing our wonderful game. Some key learnings from their experience include:
- It’s about fun. Don’t make your priority obtaining members. Ensure women enjoy their experience and are supported to progress in their own time.
- Crawl before you can walk. Don’t take on too much all at once. Try one thing and let things evolve from there.
- Ensure a social element is included in your offerings. Often this will be the first thing that women get hooked on.
- Work with your local golf industry staff member to support your efforts.
- Use Get into Golf and Community Instructor training to enhance your program.
- Tap into local, state and national grants, along with golf specific funding such as the Victorian Golf Foundation. Many are designed to support women and girls in sport.
- Learn more about Visionary of the Year and read other monthly winning stories here. Nominations for the remainder of the year are still open. Click here for the nomination form.
- Keen to get some women’s Get Into Golf programs up and running at your club? Over 9900 participants and 265 clubs & facilities have been involved with Get Into Golf over the last 12 months!
- Click here to find out more and sign-up
- Click here to complete the Community Instructor online course. Support Grants are currently available to MyGolf and Get Into Golf centres to help assist with the training of Community Instructors at your facility. Apply here.
- Learn more about ‘Champions of Change’, including Golf Australia’s involvement here.
Mount Macedon Golf Club wins a $500 Drummond Golf voucher and is now in the running to win up to $10,000 worth of products from the latest Callaway REVA product range, designed specifically for women. Golf Australia’s Visionary of the Year will be voted upon and announced towards the end of the year.
Read the original article via Golf Australia’s website here.