Kate Monserrate from Simplify Consulting explains how their company charity golf day became a driver for them to invest in golf at all levels of the game
My business partner Carl and I set up Simplify Consulting eight years ago, after deciding to leave big corporate life and go out on our own. In the past five years, we've seen significant growth on which we like to draw parallels from our business to the charity golf day that we organise every year.
Every year the business has been operating, we've run a golf day. It started small with our first golf day having 24 people who turned up and we raised around £400, compared to earlier this year, where we had 164 people and we raised nearly £20,000 for charity.
All the money raised from the golf day goes to charity.
We liken the way we prepare and run our charity golf day to our business. The values and behaviours that golf brings really resonate with our company values of professionalism, tenacity and integrity.
We involve the whole team in the golf day, where they are either helping the players or playing golf themselves. There’s a real family feel to the event and we don't limit it to you needing a certain handicap, we welcome all abilities, all ages and genders.
But sadly, over the past eight years, we've only had a handful of women. Last year, we didn't have any female players, which is a real shame, especially from my point of view as a female golfer.
Investing in golf
Because of this, we thought about what else we could do to invest in the sport. This led us to sponsoring three professional golfers, one of which is a woman, all in the early stages of their careers. We then invested in Wellow Golf Club, sponsoring their junior section. It’s where I am a member and where my daughter has learned to play golf.
We could both see the junior section there had real potential to grow with young girls there who wanted to get into the game. They've now got around 70 juniors, and a thriving girls section.
Financially supporting professional golfers is not about getting our name embroidered on shirts, or on caps but it's about giving them a helping hand and for them it’s being part of the community and supporting the growth of golf.
One of the things we do is that we get all the professionals to go to Wellow to take the juniors out onto the course and play a round with them. Explaining some of the intricacies of golf, looking at hazards etc. It is really awe-inspiring for the juniors to watch and we absolutely love the feedback we get.
If I think of my own experiences, I was a member at Wellow for about three months before I got the courage to actually go and play. You're so worried about what other people think of you. But then you just get over that because I think the more you play and the more you see people play you realise that everyone will have tough shots, shank one and do a brilliant air shot! It doesn’t even matter what your handicap is, it can happen to anyone. It’s about being brave.
Women need to be brave
Recently we did a gender gap white paper in financial services, which has the title “Change Starts with Bravery”. Financial Services is still a male-dominated industry, especially when you get to senior level. The whitepaper asks women to be brave, and men to actually support women to get to a more senior level. I think golf follows a similar mantra, we just need to be brave, get out there and have a go.
At Remedy Oak, where Carl is a member, their approach to tees is not gender-specific. They are based on ability, there is no competition tee, men’s tee and ladies tee. You play from the tee that your ability and handicap enables you to play from. It’s really refreshing to get away from women must play off the red and men must play off the whites attitude, making it an even playing field and using the handicap system to make play fair. I think golf clubs can make a massive difference in encouraging women to play on a level playing field with men, if they just did away with that whole kind of historic approach.
If you can find the right club, those who are genuinely very welcoming and happy to have anyone, regardless of ability but just because they love golf and want to see their facilities being used. We need to embrace that and get more women playing the game. Our hope is to find that pathway to getting women more confident to attend an event like our charity golf day. If anyone knows if that exists then we are absolutely interested in that.
Simplify Consulting are a practitioner led consulting business, delivering consulting services in Life & Pensions, Wealth Platforms and Asset Management.
For more information about Simplify Consulting please visit www.simplifyconsulting.co.uk