101 days ago, Brandie Deignan, CEO in NHS Primary Care joined the board of Wales Golf with a particular responsibility for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Having hit the ground running, Brandie reflects on her first 100 days, and the strides being taken across Wales to make golf a game for everyone.

Words by Brandie Deignan
Picture this: a pristine golf course somewhere in Wales, meticulously manicured greens, and a clubhouse bustling with members. Yet, within this picturesque scene lies a deeper narrative – one of inclusion, equality, equity, belonging and diversity…now that picture is my visionary reality.

It’s day 101, my first 100 days have just flown past as a Wales Golf board member with a special focus on Equality Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I). I embarked on this journey with one aim; to redefine the landscape of this much-loved sport (which by the way – I don’t play, before you ask).

The journey began with listening to and appreciating what has already been done, and visualising what we could do. There have been a lot of voices, a lot of perspectives, a lot of will, a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm from the team at Wales Golf and beyond.

There are 80,000 adults playing golf in Wales and 53,000 of those are members of golf clubs, including everyone from seasoned pros to newcomers to the game. To understand the experiences within the golfing community and to ensure it’s a sport that belongs to everyone, we have to begin our journey with the end in mind. Golf has barriers, yes, but in my first 101 days I have learnt that these barriers can be broken. So how do we enact change?

Wales Golf has worked tirelessly to implement policies, procedures and education that promotes inclusivity, and ensures every golfer, regardless of race, gender or background, feels welcomed and valued.

We have already spearheaded a lot of initiatives to increase access to the sport and we will continue to break down logistical barriers that hinder participation. And of course, through partnerships with local community organisations, schools and Welsh citizens, we will continue to introduce golf to new audiences, fostering a love for the game in all untapped communities.

There is so much that Wales Golf are focusing on: 

Our Youth Panel is flourishing.

 13 young people under the age of 18 from across Wales have been selected 

We are elevating our commitment to blind golf.

Our Blind and visually impaired beginner and improvers sessions, in partnership with England and Wales Blind Golf organisation, have begun. The team are working with Toptracer to provide the technology in audio format so participants can listen to the information, coached by our inclusively trained golf pro, and securing guide volunteers. 

Our Midnight Ramadan sessions are always a roaring success.

Over 80 participants took part in this year’s Ramadan sessions, with a number of those carrying on with follow-on coaching and taking up golf. 

We are committed to increasing women and girls in the sport.

In the lead up to the AIG Women’s Open coming to Wales in 2025, we are investing in multiple beginner programmes and club support to make it easy for women and girls to try out the game. 

We have invested in educational webinars.

The Wales Golf board has undertaken additional ED&I training and Transgender Inclusion training and our wider team are taking part in three-day anti-racism training. 

We are looking to establish a Living Experience advisory group.

The purpose of this network is to listen to people who have had a wide range of experiences within golf, to inform our decision-making, to help golf to continue to progress and grow the game.

Still much work to be done

We have done a lot and we are doing a lot, however, our ambition does not stop here. We will continue to advocate for diversity within the leadership, the team, and the community, recognising that true representation is essential for creating a culture of belonging. We will continue to push for diversity training programs and continue to challenge barriers and foster more inclusive environments, both on and off the course.

As I reflect on my first 100 days (on day 101), I am proud of the strides Wales Golf has made and continues to make, but I am also very clear that the journey is far from over.

There is still so much work to be done, conversations to be had, and more barriers to be broken. But with the vision, the plan and as a community united by the love of the game, I am sure that we will continue to push forward, forging a future where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. That, my friends, is the legacy I hope to build with the team at Wales Golf, one swing at a time.