In their own words: Wales Golf CEO Richard Dixon

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu May 28, 2018 14:09

The chief executive of Wales Golf, Richard Dixon, writes exclusively for The Golf Business about the work his organisation is doing to encourage more women and girls into the game. 

Women and girls in Welsh golf is an area to have received a big boost thanks to a new appointment, while we have also recognised the work of volunteers and our Youth Panel.

Wales Golf has welcomed Simon Lu on board as our new development officer for women’s and girls’ golf, a post part funded by The R&A.

As we were the first of the golfing unions in the UK to merge the men’s and women’s games, we have long tried to live up to our vision of the sport as ‘Everyone’s Game, Anywhere.’

Simon’s arrival is another key step forward in that direction, building on the progress so far.

There is no doubt that at times of change in golf clubs, attracting more women and girls to the game is one way of bucking trends of declining traditional membership.

We work hard with the clubs in Wales to spread the game, for example participation in Wales Golf schemes is up year on year, 1,500 people per year participate in New2Golf schemes, half of those are female and more than half go on to become club members.

Girls’ affiliation went up three per cent overall last year, but it went up 60 per cent at Wales Golf girls’ hub clubs.

Where alternative forms of membership are available we have found around a third are taken up by females, compared to 13 per cent of traditional club membership.

Driving home the message that golf can be flexible and inclusive, including individuals with a disability as well, is certainly something we have worked very hard at in Wales Golf with big thanks to the development team.

Welsh golf is changing, there are female club captains at several clubs, there are changes at some of the traditional ones such as Newport who have a female president this year.

The lady captain at Senior Open qualifying course Pyle and Kenfig came through New2Golf, while The Vale Resort’s Rachael Lewis has been headhunted by St Andrew’s as their first ever female PGA professional.

More clubs are moving towards the model of Derllys in Carmarthenshire where all weekend club competitions are mixed, while we are working with clubs to promote family membership.

As one example of the changing face of Welsh golf, our Volunteer of the Year at the Wales Golf Awards at Celtic Manor, sponsored by One Golf Network, was 17-year-old Shauna Lyons of the North Wales Golf Club.

She is junior club captain at the Llandudno club and helps to run five junior sessions a week with players ranging from four to 17 years-old.

Our Junior Club of the Year was presented by members of our Youth Panel, who have made a tremendous contribution over the last couple of years.

They have helped out at junior events as well as contributing ideas on how we can run them in ways that will appeal more to young people. We have made several changes thanks to their suggestions.

Hopefully the process of being on the Youth Panel, along with some of the training we have provided, has helped them as they prepare to move forward to the next stage of their lives.

 

To find out more on how the Wales Golf can support your club, visit www.walesgolf.org

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu May 28, 2018 14:09
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