Surrey golf club welcomes Muslim women as taster tour begins

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 6, 2022 10:38

One of the most traditional and prestigious golf clubs in the world has welcomed Muslim women for a taster event.

Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, which has counted four prime ministers, including Winston Churchill, among its members, and where King Edward VIII was a former captain, welcomed the women at the end of May.

“We’re female, we’re women of colour and some of us are women who cover,” said participant Ambereen Khan.

A Muslim Golf Association taster day powered by love.golf from earlier this year

Khan was taking part in a series of taster sessions aimed at Muslim women at golf courses in England and Scotland this summer. The women’s taster tour has been organised by Amir Malik, founder of the Muslim Golf Association, and is working in association with love.golf, which teaches the game to women and will provide female coaches for the taster tour.

“Most Muslim women have never had the opportunity to play golf. But it’s the perfect sport for them,” he said. There is no physical contact between players, and modest clothing and head coverings are no impediment.

Within a few days of launching his taster roadshow online, 180 women had signed up. Another 500 are on a waiting list to take part.

At Walton Heath, the club chef offered to prepare a halal meal. “They made us feel really comfortable,” said Khan, who had signed up for the session with nine friends.

She had never hit a golf ball before. “We were all pretty quiet at the beginning, but by the end we were throwing around golfing terms.”

Shabana Gadit went with her sister. “I’d been thinking about having some lessons but I felt a bit daunted. This was a chance to have a go in a welcoming environment.” Both women have since signed up for a six-week course.

A Muslim Golf Association taster day powered by love.golf earlier this year

“Sport should be accessible to all, we need to break barriers down, and all should be welcomed,” said Gadit.

Malik said: “My mission is to get women in niqabs on golf courses. This is a sport that is ripe for disruption.”

Alex Woodward, chief executive of Walton Heath golf club, said: “We are fully committed to growing participation in the game. Every golf club should reflect its community regardless of ability, age, gender or religious belief. It was wonderful to see these ladies dipping their toes in the golf water.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 6, 2022 10:38
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