This is how you get more women playing golf

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu July 11, 2017 11:01 Updated

Most golf clubs want to attract more women to the game but may not know how. Here, Kerry Cooper, an amateur golfer, details the extraordinary success she had when she decided to tackle the issue

In the UK there is a massive problem with getting women into golf and I have decided to voluntarily do something about it!

I am not a pro or a scratch player but I have been playing golf on and off for 30 years. Let me tell you about what I have actively been doing for my love of ladies’ golf.

After recently relocating to a new area in the UK I was very keen to play immediately and looked to see which golf club I should join. There was one common theme: a serious lack of lady golfers who I would be able to play with.

I’m in my 40s and this is still considered quite a young age to play golf. Plus, with working full-time Monday to Friday, the only days the (retired) ladies at the clubs were meeting were rigid morning slots where they would simply ‘play for fun’, and then have a spot of lunch. All very nice but, ideally, my time to play is a Saturday or Sunday – this is not what ladies do in the UK. This is when men play or there are competitions so any newbie like me joining would play alone or just get perplexed with the current trend and fade away from playing.

I decided to not fade away but to take action!

I want to play golf with ladies who think as I do – professional women in their 20s to 50s who are competitive and have no problem with teeing off in front of groups of men at weekends.

I approached my nearest club, Oundle GC, and met the chair, Veronica. She sat and explained the woeful journey she has had trying to change mindsets and get more ladies golfing. They only had 20 regular playing lady members in the whole club! Change was needed and fast.

I put myself under huge pressure and boasted I would host a ladies’ taster session within the month on a Sunday afternoon. I spoke with the club’s committee and the golf pro, and created a whirlwind of conversations. I started robustly networking with my business contacts to ‘make some noise’ about the taster session. I had zero budget for the marketing, so designed the poster (pictured) on my laptop and sent it out on my own social media on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I went on a local business radio show and handed out posters to shops / hotels / noticeboards and even spoke to my own business’s customers about it. I lived and breathed this campaign.

I roped in my teenage son, Antony, to hand out golf clubs and chat with the ladies. The golf pro, Richard, agreed to do a training slot on putting and how to swing a club, and two volunteers, Ray and Jimmy from the club, also offered to help out with the putting. My friend Jacqueline gave me moral support.

I emailed constantly reminding everyone of the session, used social media to the max and the day before I had 20 ladies saying they would come.

Heavy rain was forecast and the club said the session should be postponed. However, I had come this far – there was no way I was giving up.

Sunday morning arrived and it rained all morning, and with a sick feeling in my stomach I arrived at the club at midday with the taster session due to start at 1pm. On the stroke of the hour cars started to pull into the car park! I was overjoyed that anyone had turned up, and then more cars arrived, and more!

In the end 18 ladies arrived, the rain became a slight drizzle and the afternoon commenced. The talent was actually staggering, several took to it like ducks to water! We had a putting competition and there was a play-off with identical twin ladies! Can you imagine the fun and laughter over this?!

Ages ranged from 17 years to mid 50s.

We walked a few holes of the course and went into the clubhouse for a delicious calorie-bomb cupcake and coffee, and fed back on the afternoon.

The feedback was amazing and 11 of the ladies signed up for lessons! I almost burst into tears as I couldn’t believe the afternoon had generated such amazing enthusiasm for ladies’ golf, I can honestly say this was one of the happiest afternoons of my life. My only agenda was to get more ladies into golf, which I succeeded in doing.

There’s nothing better in life than making a difference and against all odds. I did!

I have since joined Elton Furze Golf Club in Peterborough and because I am now attracting attention from other golf clubs from my social media blogs I have been invited to a club in Milton Keynes to meet the pros and start an initiative in the community to attract juniors and women. I have also been invited to Aberdeenshire to attend a women’s golf day and be an after-dinner guest speaker. No money has been paid for any of my time or for future events – I just want to make a difference and get women golfing.

Number crunching the taster session

  • 20 ladies said they would turn up
  • 18 did; most had never swung a golf club before
  • 11 signed up for lessons
  • The club hopes to convert them all into members

If you’d like to chat to Kerry, email: cooperkerry@me.com

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu July 11, 2017 11:01 Updated
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2 Comments

  1. Svend July 15, 10:44

    This is great. It proves that it can be done when community entrepreneurs getb involved. We need so support all those people like Kerry Cooper who are trying to make a difference locally, often in isolation. Let’s create a network where they can learn from each other and share ideas and experiences.

    Reply to this comment
  2. David July 16, 18:35

    Very positive Jenny. Great to see someone taking the initiative
    Hope it continue to go well
    Have you emailed Leyland Golf Club
    If not please do

    Reply to this comment
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