Here are the first UK golf clubs to sign up to The R&A’s Women and Girl’s Charter

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 12, 2019 18:57

A number of UK golf clubs have signed up to The R&A’s Women and Girl’s Charter – something that has interested the secretary of state for sport.

Conwy Golf Club in Wales, host venue for the 2020 Curtis Cup, the top transatlantic competition for lady amateurs, was the first in the UK to sign up to the commitment to establish an inclusive culture across the club for members, guests and staff.

Boldon Golf Club, based in Tyne & Wear, is the first English club to sign, followed by commitments from Open venues Royal Portrush, St Andrews Links Trust and Carnoustie Golf Links.

Fulford, venue for the Girls Under 16 Amateur Championship, has also committed, along with The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Blairgowrie, North Berwick and Royal Dornoch.

Conwy GC

Conwy aims to use the 2020 Curtis Cup as a catalyst for growing the sport for the next generation of women and girls golfers, working alongside Wales Golf to ensure the sport is open for everyone.
Jackie Davidson, Assistant Director – Golf Development, at The R&A, said, “We are delighted to have Conwy’s support as the first golf club to sign-up to the Women in Golf Charter.

“It is so important for the charter to break through at club level, as we aim to increase the number of women and girls participating in golf and to encourage more opportunities for women to work and volunteer within the sport overall.

“Conwy’s commitment to a range of initiatives is a great example to other clubs.”

Conwy general manager Matt Parsley explained signing up to the Women and Girls Charter was a way of building and expanding on the good work already being done at the club.

“We have a large ladies’ section, 100 strong and growing who are established club golfers.

“However we want to develop and enhance our New2Golf and Back2Golf offering by providing a clear structure for beginner and/or previous women and girl golfers.

“We want to ensure that women and girl participation and development sits firmly and highly within the club’s strategic plan.

“We are exploring how the club can encourage more participation by family groups.

Conwy GC

‘We will be working alongside Wales Golf and the local education authority to educate and inform school pupils in the locality of the history and significance of The Curtis Cup, whilst using the hosting of the event as a catalyst for the development and growth of women and girls participation.

“It is great we have come out and pledged ourselves to this charter, we believe this backing for women is good for the industry.”

The move was also welcomed by Wales Golf. “We are pleased to have a Welsh golf club leading the way on this,” said Wales Golf women and girls co-ordinator Simon Lu.

“Equality is at the heart of Wales Golf. We were the first of the home unions to merge the governance of the male and female games, it was a commitment made at the start of the century as part of bringing the Ryder Cup to Wales.

“We will continue to work closely with Conwy to help them meet the commitments they have made to The R&A and we look forward to seeing other clubs in Wales joining them in making this pledge.”

Conwy GC

Meanwhile, Boldon Golf Club has made a series of pledges which include running events to encourage more women and girls to play golf, to have at least three female board members and to create even better community links.

It has also appointed women’s member Alyson Chapman as its ‘charter champion’ to support and help new players and members.

Alyson, who has previously won a Durham award for her efforts to get women involved in golf, commented: “I’ve had a huge amount of pleasure out of golf and I enjoy sharing that with other women and girls.

“Golf isn’t just about competing. Women and girls at Boldon really value the social and friendship groups – and we’ve got a growing group who holiday together, with ages from 20 to 70-plus! Golf is a really great hobby and it’s got the extra plus of lots of health benefits.”

(From left): Mike Greener, England Golf club support officer for County Durham; Steve Watkin, club manager; Alyson Chapman, charter champion; Alan Pearson, club captain; and Chris Pascall from the Durham Ladies’ Association

Diane Lilley is a new member and she commented: “The club has been amazing and helpful. I’m one of 12 women who joined, from a group of 20 who started with Get into Golf. We’ve got a social media group to keep in touch and we have a lot of fun. We often place a bottle of Prosecco in the hole during coaching sessions – first to putt or chip and hit the bottle wins it! There are non-golfing activities at the club as well, such as women’s keep fit in the winter months.”

Lauren Spray, England Golf Women and Girls’ Manager, commented: “Boldon have been wonderful to work with. They have set realistic targets and it is fantastic to see them looking at everything from leadership positions to recruiting new women into their club.

“As the first club in England to adopt the charter I am sure they will encourage many more to pledge their commitments to the Charter and support the continued growth of women and girls’ golf.”

Currently Boldon has 42 women and six girl members, including seven who are following the club’s pathway to full membership. The target is to increase this by five during 2019.

It’s already got a great track record with its Get into Golf sessions for women, which are supported by Alyson. It has also run family days which attracted boys and girls to the junior Wee Wonders programme. Boldon also gets involved with community activities such as a local scarecrow event where it successfully promoted golf to women. These activities are all back in the 2019 calendar.

Club manager Steve Watkin commented: “It was an easy decision to support the charter and to embed our activities and commitment into our business plan. We are excited to be recognised as the first charter signatory in England.”

Chris Pascall from the Durham Ladies’ Association added her congratulations: “What a fantastic achievement for the whole club and county.  It just shows that there is lots of great work going on within clubs to support women and girls’ golf.”

“Gaining the support of national associations and organisations was the first phase of our plan,” said Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A. “We have also worked closely with them to collectively agree a process to support individual clubs in adopting the charter and gain real momentum.

“The national body is the point of contact and will directly liaise with clubs in determining commitments to the charter should a club wish to become a signatory.

“We would like national associations, with the involvement of clubs, to set targets for participation and membership as we look to increase the number of women, girls and families playing the sport.”

Jeremy Wright MP

And the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, has praised efforts to bring more women and girls into golf.

The All-Party Parliamentary Golf Group Co-Chair Craig Tracey MP raised the work that is being done by organisations across the sport to encourage more women and girls to play golf.

“As co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, I’m very proud that we were one of the first signatories to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, which commits to the sport developing a more inclusive culture.

“Will the secretary of state join me in welcoming this initiative, and will he meet with me and major golfing bodies to discuss what we are doing, but also what more can be done to encourage more women and girls to enjoy the sport.”

The secretary of state responded: “I am happy to join my honourable friend in offering those congratulations.

“That is a significant step forward, and we want to see more.

“I’m sure that either I or my honourable friend the sports minister would be happy to meet to discuss these matters further.”

Speaking afterwards, Tracey added: “The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter has been a significant step forward for the sport, and I’m delighted that the golf industry has committed to measures that will foster a more inclusive culture.

“I look forward to meeting with the government and golf bodies to discuss the positive steps that the sport has taken across the United Kingdom in the past year, but also what more we can do to allow women and girls to flourish and maximise their potential at all levels of the sport.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 12, 2019 18:57
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