A ‘women’s charter’ to change the way golf is run has been launched

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 29, 2018 10:58

The R&A has unveiled a ‘Women in Golf Charter’ to increase the number of women and girls participating in golf and to encourage more opportunities for women to work within the golf industry.

The governing body for golf throughout most of the world, which last year merged with the Ladies’ Golf Union, says the charter will require national federations and other golf bodies to build on current initiatives and develop new projects that will focus on encouraging more women and girls to play golf and stay within the sport as members of clubs.

It will also invest £80 million in developing the game for women and girls over the next 10 years.

Signatories of the charter already include the European Tour, the Ladies’ European Tour, the European Golf Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the European Disability Golf Association, Golf Australia, Golf Canada, the Golfing Union of Ireland, England Golf, the Irish Ladies Golf Union and Scottish Golf.

Speakers Chyloe Kurdas (Golf Australia), Hazel Irvine (BBC), Sarah Stirk (Sky Sports), Nick Pink (England Golf), Liz Dimmock (Moving Ahead) and Martin Slumbers (The R&A) at the launch of the Women in Golf Charter staged at The View from the Shard, London

The charter’s five goals are:

  • To strengthen the focus on gender balance and provide a united position for the golf industry
  • To commit national federations and organisations to support measures targeted at increasing participation of women, girls and families in golf
  • To call on signatories to take positive action to support the recruitment, retention and progression of women working at all levels of the sport
  • To set individual targets for national federations for participation and membership and annual reporting of progress
  • To develop an inclusive environment for women and girls within golf.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, outlined its plans to work in collaboration with its affiliated organisations, partners and the wider golf industry to achieve these goals at a launch event at The View from The Shard in London.

Hosted by Hazel Irvine, the event featured presentations and panel discussions with speakers including Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf and Sky Sports’ Sarah Stirk.

Slumbers said, “We are asking the golf industry to recognise the real importance of increasing the number of women and girls playing golf and empowering more women to enjoy successful careers at all levels of the sport.

“The charter is a strong statement of intent from the golf industry that it has to change and a commitment on behalf of all of us to take measures designed to achieve positive change for women, girls and families. This is crucial to growing participation in the sport in the years ahead.

“We ask our affiliates and partners around the world to pledge their support and commitment to achieving this vision and to help us ensure that we have a thriving sport in 50 years’ time that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can enjoy.

“The R&A plans to increase our overall investment in women’s, girls’ and mixed golf to £80 million over the next ten years, a clear indication of our determination to develop the game in this area.”

The R&A has provided an initial three-year funding package of £375,000 to its affiliates in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support the appointment of new development managers to work on increasing participation by women and girls.

Tracey Crouch MP, minister for Sport and Civil Society, said, “We are committed to creating an environment where women and girls can succeed at every level of sport.

“Interest in women’s sports is at an all-time high, with increased global interest and record attendances. I welcome The R&A’s strong commitment to encourage more women into golf and nurture future generations of talent.”

Liz Dimmock, founder of Moving Ahead, said, “The case for a more balanced and inclusive culture for golf is clear and a real cultural shift is required within the sport to create a more equitable participation base that reflects the demands of current and future generations.

“Women are also under-represented at every level of the governance and business of the sport and this needs to be proactively addressed. The Women in Golf Charter is a signal to the industry that change is required, which can be achieved with a strong, positive vision for golf.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 29, 2018 10:58
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  1. FedUpFemaleGolfer November 27, 19:55

    At my golf club in Scotland when I suggested merging the mens’ and womens’ sections and moving to mixed-gender competitions because, due to low numbers the ladies’ section can’t hold as many, the men went mad and so did some elderly, bolshy women who don’t want change. I’ve given up hope. It’s not a sport where women are welcome. I’ve been a member of several golf clubs and they’re all the same. Believe me, the men are always top dog.

    I’d be amazed if the R&A enables their handful of female members to compete in the same number of competitions as the men, even though the new mixed-gender format makes this possible. It wouldn’t surprise me if they offer no competitions for their few female members to enter.

    In golf it is beneficial in practically every golf club in the UK to be born a man and sadly I don’t see things changing any time soon.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Coach Lydia June 5, 11:20

    A critical mass population of potential future golfers is being ignored and virtually omitted from the G-O-L-F conversation.

    They are female athletes at the high school level choosing golf (or would like to choose golf) as their spring sport.

    I refuse to allow circumstances beyond my control to define me or my abilities.

    In 2002-2003 I was the first USGA covergirl featured on the cover of both The Rules of Golf and The Decisions on the Rules of Golf.


    Shortly thereafter, an undiagnosed Vector Borne disease robbed me of my intended professional golf career. I did keep my promise to participate at the Women’s World Amateur Games in 2004 but by then I could barely walk or manage the pain and in the end had to post a DNF for Lithuania. Although we managed to raise the flag at the ceremonies,my dream of turning pro after the games was over.

    I am not telling you this lightly or for sympathy but rather as a point of fact.

    The facts are: I need measurable support from persons outside the high school sports realm in a timely fashion as in N-O-W.

    I believe it is attainable for me to reach someone in the golf (and/or not golf universe) who will read about the LACK of competitive equity in the high school sports golf team arena.

    I have contacted that Womens’ Sports Foundation , LPGA Tour, LPGA Womens’ Amateur Golf Network, Womens’ Golf Day, PGA Tour, Womens Metropolitan Golf Association, National Golf Foundation, New Jersey Golf Foundation, the R& A and the USGA.

    One response thus far from WSF:too busy and short-staffed as there are too many females being discriminated in too many sports but good luck and thank you for your service and dedication to female athletes.


    Reply to this comment
  3. Charles June 1, 13:58

    I have no connection with the company http://performance54.com/ but if you look in to the people who are associated with the company you will see some of the most followed YouTube.com golf bloggers in the UK – I would suggest Performance54 have more idea on how to market golf than the R&A.

    If the R&A are genuinely interested in promoting golf in the UK rather than making lavish videos, that they spend some time with the guys who are behind Performance54 and see where that might take them.

    Ditto EnglandGolf.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ashley May 31, 11:58

    Perhaps the R&A should start by considering it’s policy on membership for women considering there have been no new memberships extended beyond the initial token number a couple of years ago and some of them have died.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ian May 29, 13:06

    This is great. Yet £375k across 5 countries, over three years isn’t going to make a difference.

    This sentiment is playing to the gallery.

    If you really want to make a difference, then put some serious money behind a serious and well thought or plan.

    Reply to this comment
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