Women & Golf Editor Alison Root received a tweet this week that made us all feel a bit more positive about the future of golf – and women’s participation in it ...

Junior girls Cumberwell Park Golf Club Junior Academy

Women & Golf Editor Alison Root received a tweet this week that made us all feel a bit more positive about the future of golf – and women’s participation in it. So, we just had to find out what the secret is …

By Charlotte Ibbetson

“How amazing is that – a 15-year-old girl going to golf to have a giggle with her mates!”

That was just part of the tweet that Alison received about a group of teenage girls who attend weekly coaching sessions at Cumberwell Park Golf Club. At an age when the game loses a lot of girls, it was refreshing to hear that the opposite is true at this Wiltshire club. They’re obviously doing something right, and we wanted to know what it is.

PGA Professionals Ben Lloyd and Paul Morss from Cumberwell Park told us, “we run the Junior Academy programme after school on a Monday and we are now in our 12th year. The format has changed over the years, but it’s now a combination of long and short game sessions. We also run on-course competitions regularly during the season.”

“In 2016, Cumberwell Park opened a new par 3 course. It’s a brilliant, ‘proper’ short course, and we’ve used it a lot over the last couple of seasons,” the pair continued.

“The short course allows all juniors to compete and succeed, no matter their age or gender.”

“This season we had over 40 juniors, including 10 girls, take part on over 42 different sessions. Unusually, most of these girls are of secondary school age, a time in which golf loses a lot of girls to other sports, pressures or interests.”

And the way they’ve been able to keep the girls interested in golf? Simply by keeping the sessions fun and fresh.

“We make sure that each session is different and delivered in line with the clubs family atmosphere. The quality of our facilities helps massively with this, but we also have three enthusiastic coaches, all with lots of experience and new ideas to keep sessions fun, engaging and fresh.” 

“Understanding the environment in which the girls have most fun has also been really important."

"We have a core group who are all really good friends and naturally they like to compete and play together – and we are more than happy for them to do that.”

Through the programme, the club are helping newbies with the transition from weekly coaching sessions to long-standing members. “The juniors have the opportunity to play at very reduced rates in their own time, which many do. This will be something that we hope will help to transition them into full members.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in girl participation over the last few years, the par 3 course will definitely help the transition into full membership too, but for now, as long as they’re having fun and using the facilities at the golf club, then we’re happy.”

And we’re happy too. It’s so encouraging to hear about golf clubs who are doing everything they can to make golf exciting for beginners, particularly junior girls. Here’s hoping a few more clubs follow suit in 2020 …

What is your golf club doing to attract new women to the game? Tell us your story by emailing [email protected].


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