19 Oct 2021 | Women and girls |
Mt Macedon makes a move with Get Into Golf Women
by Golf Australia
Mt Macedon Golf Club – a small club in regional Victoria – recently decided that they needed to change the demographics of their membership.
Among the club’s 120 members was only one regular competition playing female member and they were determined to swing things around.
Like many clubs looking to introduce women into the game, the first few questions they had to ask themselves was how could they make change? What are we going to offer? Does this offer suit our target audience?
In 2020, the club was fortunate to receive a state government grant that was focused on engaging women and girls in sport, and they used this great opportunity to work on putting a plan together.
The club secretary Marcus Ward and co-ordinator Bruce Fraser identified that to bring new people into the club their offering had to remove any perceived barriers.
“We wanted to remove the equipment barrier first by using the grant to purchase a couple of sets of clubs,” Ward said.
“Then our thoughts turned to the offering, an opportunity for women to just come down and try it.”
The sessions soon went live on the Get Into Golf website and the response took everyone by surprise.
24 new women attended the come and try session, and 18 women continued on with the four-week Get Into Golf Women’s program.
“By the end of the four weeks, we had a core group of 13 that arrived no matter the weather, four of which have subsequently become six-month summer members,” Ward said.
The club’s clever use of social media, local newspapers and word-of-mouth to promote the program was essential in engaging the Macedon Ranges community. They also identified early the need for a retention piece, an offering that would keep the women going.
“To keep them engaged with golf, we gave each participant four free rounds of golf and the opportunity to use the women’s clubs that we had secured through the state government grant at no cost. Many have taken advantage of this offer,” Ward said.
A second cohort of 20 women have since commenced through new October programs. The month of November will also see the return of the first cohort ready for some further development sessions.
“Our co-ordinator, Bruce Fraser, is already looking to offer summer golfing sessions in the new year. There is that much interest,” Ward said.
Golf Australia’s Regional Development Officer Sharna Faralla, who has been working with the club for a number of years, highlighted the synergy of the whole club as a key driver to their success.
“With the support of the club board, its members, and community instructors Bruce Fraser and Marcus Ward, the drive and passion for increasing female participation in a club that has been male dominant for many years is to be commended,” Faralla said.
“It is amazing to see the smiles on the women’s faces and hear the laughs and cheers on the course as the women enjoy their newfound passion for golf.”
All participants were invited back into the club rooms after each session, where volunteers at the club opened the bar and offered tea and coffee. The women spent a lot of time socialising in the club rooms and making connections with the other participants and members.
“Most arrived with a friend, and within two weeks a member of the group had developed a ‘WhatsApp’ for the group in order for the women to co-ordinate their tee off times,” Ward said.
The club will continue its work with Sharna to further strengthen its involvement with Get Into Golf.
They have already started developing and rating a new beginner short course, yet another step towards becoming a more inclusive and accommodating course for everyone.
For more details about Get Into Golf visit: www.golf.org.au/getintogolf
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