26 Apr 2023 | Women and girls |

Blackwood GC ahead of the game with women

by Australian Golf Media

Blackwood GC committee image
Working together: from left Blackwood club captain Peter Schapel, committee members Helen Aylett, Nicky Govan, Wendy Turner, women's captain Jane Greening and president Chris Lemm.

By Jim Tucker

The most upbeat aspect of Blackwood Golf Club signing the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter is that the progressive club had already embedded the vision in its own actions.

The popular South Australian club at Cherry Gardens in the Adelaide Hills has a base of nearly 200 women enjoying golf’s modern direction.

“Blackwood Golf Club is excited to be one of the first clubs in South Australia to sign the Women in Golf Charter,” Club President Chris Lemm said.

“Women at Blackwood have equal playing rights, membership and championship prizes.”

For Jane Greening, Blackwood’s Women’s Captain, there is a very tangible measure of the club moving away from the traditional divide of men and women.

“The last round of our men’s and women’s championships were jointly played and celebrated on the same Sunday,” Greening said.

“Over the past few years, we have worked very closely to co-ordinate that field to enable a joint prizegiving. This has really improved camaraderie and relations.

“The men and women at Blackwood are now much more aware of what each other are doing.”

The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter doesn’t relate to just opening time slots on a weekend but placing high value on the involvement of women in leadership and every aspect of the sport.

The charter is “a statement of intent from the golf industry to unite and to focus on gender balance".

Importantly, it “commits us all to supporting measures to increase the number of women, girls and families playing golf".

The Blackwood club championships allow women to qualify on a weekday or weekend and all finals are on weekends. This has increased the number of participants including working women and girls at school.

The club’s constitution was updated in 2021 to include, amongst other changes, that the Committee of Management should comprise a minimum of three persons of each gender.

The club currently has three women (33%) on the Committee of Management. Women chair 63% of all sub-committees and, excluding the Women’s Committee, an additional nine women are members of various sub-committees.

Blackwood Golf Club’s General Manager Daniel Loveridge is proud of the club’s commitment to growing women’s golf.

“Becoming signatories to the Charter is another great step forward for the club,” Loveridge said.

“While we think we’ve moved a long way in terms of equal opportunity in recent years, there is always more to do and working through the Charter has helped us identify opportunities to further improve offerings for women and girls.

“For example, we are in the process of reviewing our participant recruitment strategy including how to attract more girls and working women to the club.”

Blackwood joins Glenelg, The Grange and South Lakes as the first South Australian signatories to the charter.

“We’ve been going ahead in leaps and bounds with equality for women at Blackwood. Signing up to the charter is a public statement to show our club’s commitment,” Greening said.

Greening said Blackwood is addressing the issue of women not being 'course ready' after a handful of introductory golf lessons – one of the big obstacles preventing women becoming integrated as club members and being able to play in club competitions.

“I am particularly pleased with the support the club provides to our six teams playing in inter-club pennants and our Play Better Golf program which is encouraging all our women to improve their golf skills and knowledge,” she said.

“We’ve introduced the Play Better Golf program to build and retain members. They are extra lessons on chipping, driving and so on as well as ‘classroom’ lessons on etiquette, scoring and rules.”

Having former Golf SA board member Susan Seja as a Blackwood member has been a huge positive with her rules experience at tournament level.

Golf Australia applauds Blackwood Golf Club on becoming a signatory to the R&A Women in Golf Charter. To find our more about how to become a signatory and to read our library of case studies of the signatories around Australia, click here.

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