At many golf clubs it’s becoming more and more difficult to fill the role of Lady Captain, so here Women & Golf’s Kim Wild offers some suggestions that might help to encourage more ladies to take up the reins.
We’ve all witnessed it. The season is about to end and the Lady Captain approaches you with ‘that’ look on her face and says, “So, have you ever thought about being the next Lady Captain?”
What was once considered an honour has, in recent years, been perceived by many as a thankless task where you become the target for anyone who has a gripe with anything from the quality of soap in the showers to how much money is being spent on greens machinery. And so, the position is now seen as something to avoid like the plague.
Some of the reasons suggested for dodging the role are:
I haven’t got the time
It’s too expensive
I don’t like speaking in front of groups of people
I don’t want to be part of the management committee
My husband/partner doesn’t play
There’s no doubt that lifestyles have changed, and everyone wants to fill what spare time they have with things they enjoy rather than with something they see as a chore. But change presents opportunity and so here are a few suggestions, which W&G hopes might help should your club be faced with the prospect of not being able to attract someone to fill the Lady Captain’s golf shoes.
1. It’s essential the club’s management committee understands the problem and offers support. The sport’s governing bodies, including the R&A, have all accepted the need, indeed the requirement, to encourage women into golf. They acknowledge, as management committees should also, that women broaden the appeal of the game, not least by encouraging the youngsters in their families to play what has historically been seen as an old man’s pastime.
2 Current research confirms that women generally form around 15% of club membership - a significant number whose opinions are valuable in ensuring the club is a success for all. It’s important their voice is heard with regular, two-way lines of communication available with those with influence to exchange views on issues regarded as important to the well-being of the whole club.
3 Look at breaking down the current role and its responsibilities to ensure there’s no duplication and implement the use of modern technology where possible to make tasks easier.
4 Depending on the size of the task, form groups or enlist individuals to be responsible for a specific event or manage a particular job.
5 Ensure any financial outlay deemed necessary is covered - either by dividing the cost amongst those participating in an event or function or from an agreed honorarium from club or section funds.
6 We’re not all gifted with the ability to captivate an audience, but within any group, and provided they’re invited and prepared in advance, it’s likely you’ll find someone willing to say a few thank yous, present a prize or shake a couple of hands. And it doesn’t always have to be a member of the women’s section.
W&G doesn’t profess to have all the answers to this issue, but we hope some of these ideas might help you pave the way forward for life without a Lady Captain.
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