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Swing Fit in great shape in Sydney

Botany GC SF

When I started at Golf Australia 18 months ago, I could sense a degree of cynicism about Swing Fit, Golf Australia’s new national introductory golf program for women. This cynicism existed despite the fact the research upon which Swing Fit was developed was clear. Golf needed a fun, social program with a clear health and fitness component to attract new women to the game and make their first experiences of the sport as engaging as possible.

I thought it was important to see Swing Fit in action as soon as possible. I wanted to see the experiences and the reactions. I attended sessions with a variety of groups across three states over the summer of 2016-17.

It didn’t take long to convince me that, whilst Swing Fit faces many challenges and exists in a competitive market, it is a fantastic product. Since then, I’ve also seen some great research (for example by Vic Health) and numerous quotes from participants that have reinforced this point of view. 

In sports participation in Australia, there’s a lot of emphasis on (and support for) product development, but often precious little to spend on marketing and rollout, whilst delivery can be hindered by governance challenges.

The tendency is to dismiss products that don't deliver an instant impact. The easy thing to do is to stand on the outside, throw stones and pick products apart.

To me, Swing Fit shows that we need to be more careful, and last Friday at Botany Golf Club shows why.

52 Swing Fit graduates came together for an on-course experience and end-of-year celebration. This was just over half of the 100+ women that Andrea McGann, a community golf instructor based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, has welcomed to the game over the last 12 months.

For many of them, it was their first on-course experience, but they were made to feel comfortable by Andrea, the environment she had created, and the sense of camaraderie generated by everyone being ‘in the same boat’.

With the course booked for the group, everyone could relax. The Ambrose format further emphasised the importance of having fun, and it wasn’t long before the sounds of laughter and cheers rang around the golf course.

As is the case with the Swing Fit program itself, the ‘drink and debrief’ part of the day was just as much fun as the golf. Local clubs and shops had donated golf-related prizes for a lucky draw, so there were winners both on and off the course.

After the round, the clubhouse was full of women planning their next golf experiences, with contact details and availability shared so that these rounds could be organised.

What Andrea has done with Swing Fit over the last 12 months should highlight to Australian golf’s governing bodies, clubs, facilities, PGA professionals and community golf instructors that we can be successful with Swing Fit.

However, we need to do more and better marketing (that one’s on me) and make sure we create fun, welcoming and social learning environments where women feel comfortable, happy and safe. We also need to connect people and encourage them to share their new passion. That’s what Andrea has done, and last week she got to enjoy the fruits of her labour.

Congratulations Andrea, we wish we could clone you!

Despite Andrea’s wonderful work, it is irrefutably true that we have a long way to go to make our sport as inspiring and welcoming for women and girls as it needs to be. However, we have a great strategy in place ready for 2018, and we're in market recruiting for a National Female Participation Manager, so come and join us if you think you can help: https://lnkd.in/g9tUfH7.

For further information on Swing Fit visit swingfit.com.au. You can also check out @swingfitau on Instagram and Facebook.


Comments

Posted by Piret Elmassian at
14/12/2017 03:02 PM
Great article Danny...and well done Andrea - what a star!

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