Coming direct from the PGA Merchandise Show, we take a look back at the 2024 Women's Golf Day panel discussion
Last week the annual Women's Golf Day panel discussion returned to the Orange Country Convention Centre in Orlando at the PGA Merchandise Show.
Sarah Bennett former PGA Captain 2022, Golf Monthly UK Top 50 Coach and current WPGA Chair formed part of the trio of women invited to discuss the importance and positive impact women have on the golf industry both financially and from a participation perspective.
Over 25 visits and 30 years of PGA membership made Sarah, a former tour player on the Futures and Ladies European Tour, coach and volunteer, a perfect addition to the panel to relay her knowledge to the diverse and professional audience in attendance.
Women's Golf Day founder Elisa Gaudet had also extended an invite to Kim Alexis, a supermodel from the 1980s who had appeared on popular magazine covers such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated.
As a relatively new golfer, Kim spoke about her experiences, highlighting the challenges but also the enormous benefits that golf provides.
Sarah explained in more detail about what was discussed:
“The varied challenges and perceptions new golfers face in the UK are the same worldwide, there were many points raised such as on course “playing numbers” which is an interesting concept. Kim felt additional forward tee placements to accommodate first time course players would be advantageous.
"I would like to see minimal rough ahead of the forward tees enhancing confidence for the new golfer, to my point too much time is spent in the range working on the technicalities rather than learning to “play the game”.
"One area I spoke about touched upon the retention of new golfers which is the area, in my opinion requiring new fresh ideas and implementation by golf clubs. The academy membership is critical to ensure a structured approach going forward, as are role models at all levels."
The main topic headline of the panel discussion was centred around the economic impact women have on the game and how we can continue to link the activities within this sector.
On this, Sarah added;
"One key area for me is my Women’s Golf Schools which I have been organising and delivering for over 15 years. It’s vital for players whatever level to strive for a target. The economic spend on this activity alone is substantial with many other spends associated with golf as a family activity."
Rachel Carter Senior Director of Membership from the National Golf Course Owners Association, made up the trio on the panel and spoke at length about her experience. One area that Rachel and Sarah agreed on was that when they speak to businesswomen, there is a lack of golfing opportunities being offered in the workplace for women.
They also noted that they had seen an increase in women interested in participating in what has historically been male-dominated corporate golf days. A real positive step in the right direction as we are all aware of the impact this can have on the working environment.
Sarah's parting advice was:
“Don’t be shy to shout out and share your success stories, we should and need to support each other.”
Women’s Golf Day is week-long event celebrating girls and women playing golf and learning the skills that last a lifetime. This year it will be celebrated from May 28 - June 4, 2024. Find out how to get involved and register your golf club to join in via WomensGolfDay.com