Taking place from 16 – 22 August, Women & Girls Golf Week celebrates the successes of women and girls in golf. Lauren Spray, Women & Girls Manager, England Golf, tells us exactly why initiatives like this are so integral to the future of women’s golf.
Now in its fourth year, Women & Girls Golf Week returns from 16 – 22 August; a campaign that aims to promote female participation, unite the golf industry and challenge negative perceptions of the game.
And it’s no coincidence that the campaign takes place the same week as the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie.
Because what better time to celebrate the successes of women and girls in golf when the eyes of the world are firmly focused on the women’s game?
Covering seven core themes – from careers and volunteering to health and wellbeing, the online campaign is all about sparking new, positive conversations about women in golf.
It’s smart, it’s inspiring, and it’s integral to the future of the game. Lauren Spray, Women & Girls Manager, England Golf, tells us why …
What are the main objectives of Women & Girls golf week?
It's all about uniting the golf industry and dispelling the myths and misconceptions around the female game.
Throughout the week we’ll showcase the incredible opportunities and benefits that golf can offer. And we’ll prove that it's not just about playing the game – there are so many other areas to it that you can get involved in.
For us, it's not just England Golf leading this campaign. It's the industry's campaign; a chance for everyone to get involved, to show the depth of the sport and champion the fact that golf has so much to offer people.
What events or activities take place during the week?
Each day of the week has a different theme.
Monday starts with careers. That’s when we’ll be celebrating women who work in the industry and showcase all of the different career opportunities there are within the sport – even if you don’t play golf.
One of the highlights of Monday is that BIGGA will be holding a webinar that is aimed at encouraging more women to get into greenkeeping.
Tuesday is all about volunteering. We’ll be sharing the experiences of some incredible volunteers – our unsung heroes – who give up their time to support the game at a grassroots level and talk about the really important work they do to encourage more women and girls into the game.
On Wednesday we’ll be focusing on health and wellbeing, and all of the physical and mental benefits of playing golf. We’ll also be speaking about really important topics that don’t get the attention they need – like periods and menopause. We want to spark conversations about topics that might be a bit taboo but are actually really important for clubs and businesses to think about.
Thursday is all about competing and we’ll be hearing from amateurs and professionals about the buzz of playing and competing. There'll also be the PGA members' education webinar.
Looking towards the end of the week, Friday is all about role models at all different levels of the sport – the people who are really making a difference in the game. So that’s people like Ellie Perks, a dwarf golfer who is just so inspirational and is doing so much for disability golf and golf in general. We’ll also hear from a lovely lady who celebrates her 101st birthday on Sunday and is still playing golf, as well as Helen Skelton who told us her kids think she’s really cool now she plays golf!
Then we have the newbies on Saturday, and that’s all about people who are new to the game and coming through the ranks. We also want to use Saturday as an opportunity to educate people about the England Golf Trust. It’s an independent charity that provides grants to young people who don’t have the financial support to be able to continue playing golf.
And finally, Sunday’s theme is “join the club”. It’s about showcasing and celebrating all of the different communities there are within golf and the golf industry. Whether you choose to become a member of a golf club, start at an academy or join our independent golfer scheme, there is a place for everyone and everyone is welcome.
How important are initiatives like this for women’s golf?
It's hugely important.
This isn’t just England Golf saying “look how great golf is”, this is real people within the game and in the industry sharing real experiences.
Women & Girls Golf Week is a platform for people to be able to share their inspiring stories, and use those stories to keep growing the game.
Every year the campaign gets bigger and better, with more and more people – women and men – getting involved. So we’re excited to see what this year holds!
It would be easy to argue that women’s golf is getting more attention than ever. Do you think there’s still more to do?
We’re definitely moving in the right direction, but yes, I think there is still more to do.
Rather than focusing so much on how many people are playing golf, I think we need to start working towards creating a much more equal split of men and women in the game. And that starts with creating equal opportunities to get involved in the sport.
Whilst we are making good strides, it's important to have campaign weeks like this to celebrate how far we’ve come but also to shine a light on the opportunities we have as an industry.
What do you think golf clubs should be doing to attract more women and girls to the game?
For me, it's all about communication: what are we telling women and girls before they join and what are we doing to make them feel comfortable when they come to the sport as a newbie.
It’s about making sure our shop window is advertising the fact that golf clubs are a fun and welcoming place for women and girls.
I’m generalising but lots of clubs are great at showing beautiful images of manicured greens and stunning scenery, but there's nobody actually having fun! There are no smiling happy faces, they're just empty courses.
Clubs need to be really upfront and clear about all the things they offer; are you running a women's academy? Do you offer flexible membership options? What is like to be a member at your club?
Also having mentors and buddies to support new members through the process. So helping them understand the inner workings of golf clubs and just generally having a friendly face to help answer those “silly” questions we all have when we first take up golf.
What does the future of women’s golf look like do you think?
Big and bright, I really do.
We know there are lots of opportunities, so we just need to keep pushing forward to make the most of them.
This year’s Women & Girls Golf Week coincides again with the AIG Women’s Open. Why is that important?
During the AIG Women’s Open, the spotlight will be shining on the world’s best female golfers; the eyes of the world be watching.
We want to leverage that to really celebrate women’s golf but also to showcase all of the opportunities we have as an industry.
Who’s your money on to win the AIG Women’s Open?!
I'd love to see Mel Reid take the title this year. She’s already done so much for women’s golf, speaking out on important topics and generally being a real advocate for equality in the game. A win at the Women’s Open would be amazing for Mel and I have no doubt it would be great for the game too. She’s a fantastic role model and I’d love to see her lift the trophy!
A sneak peak of this year’s Women & Girls Golf Week
Can’t wait to see what’s in store? Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect.
How to get involved
There are three ways to join the conversation and get involved!
- Use #WhyIGolf on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and tag England Golf
- Clubs and facilities can sign up to access a range of assets
- Send photos and videos of what you’ve been up to during Women & Girls Golf Week to [email protected]
To find out more, please visit EnglandGolf.org.