Pilot project to get women golfing has been huge success

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams November 22, 2017 16:02

A pilot project involving golfing challenges and a novel scoring system on short courses led to a large number of women joining golf clubs in 2017, its organiser has said.

Academy Away Days, run by England Golf, trialled in three counties in 2017 and included all participants teeing off at the same time so they finished together and could socialise in the clubhouse afterwards, attracted over 300 players – with 60 per cent of them going on to become golf club members. It will be extended to eight counties in 2018.

The scheme was pioneered in Hertfordshire where clubs wanted to retain women who had taken Get into golf beginner courses. Clubs in Durham and Cheshire also got involved.

Outings were organised on par three and short courses and the players used a new scoring system which focuses on rules and etiquette rather than the number of strokes taken.

Over nine holes the women completed a series of challenges such as successfully hitting the green in one shot, raking the bunker correctly and shaking hands on the final green when they had completed their game. Everyone also tees off at the same time to ensure there’s the opportunity to socialise afterwards.

The success of the scheme is highlighted by the results of a survey of women who took part in the summer, which indicated that almost 60 per cent have taken out some form of membership.

Next year the scheme will run again in Hertfordshire, Durham and Cheshire and will also be extended to five new counties: Northumberland, Worcestershire, Suffolk, Devon and Hampshire.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn to play with others who are at the same level,” said one of the players.

“I was a little nervous about the overall day but the experience was good,” added another.

“It’s given me the confidence to play on the course and improve,” said a third.

Lauren Spray, England Golf’s women and girls’ participation manager, commented: “The Academy Away Days have proved a great way for women to make friends, to build their confidence and to have fun while they improve their skills and keep playing golf.

“The feedback from the players has been so positive and I’m looking forward to seeing even greater success as it grows into the new counties.”

England Golf has also piloted the Sunday Slam this year for women aged 18 to 35 and the concept will be further tested next season.

The Sunday Slam offered a series of monthly stablefords to women who may only be able to play at the weekend and want to get together with other women of a similar age for competitive yet social golf.

Events were held at Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, Belton Park in Lincolnshire, Radcliffe on Trent in Nottinghamshire and The Leicestershire in Leicestershire.

Currently only 15 per cent of club members are women and just one per cent are girls, but research shows there’s a huge appetite for playing the sport.


Emma Williams
By Emma Williams November 22, 2017 16:02
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  1. Liz Browne November 29, 18:32

    Where could we find out what the rules and scoring system were. It sounds like a great idea.

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