04 Feb 2020 | Women and girls |

Golf’s visionaries are lauded

by Martin Blake

Golf is changing, slowly but steadily. The momentum has shifted, unequivocally. Gender equality is coming to the game in this country.

For examples, you needed look no farther than today’s launch of 2025 Visionaries, an assortment of 15 case studies in gender equality at a host of clubs, published in written form and also through four videos. The booklets and videos are available to all interested clubs, and were officially launched at 13th Beach today.

They showcase the outstanding work done in the past 12 months under the Even Par program set up to support golf clubs in their endeavours to promote gender equity and – as an extension of that – promote female participation in golf. A cluster of clubs who completed the Even Par program in the past year were presented with acknowledgement certificates.

Even Par is the instrument of Vision 2025, Golf Australia’s national strategy to engage women in the game, launched in 2018 after the rate of female participation fell to just under 20 percent – the lowest figure ever recorded. The program was piloted in Victoria through support from the Andrews State Government, but it is being rolled out nationally this year.

“In 1970, one in three community golf club members were female,’’ said Chyloe Kurdas, Golf Australia’s senior manager – female engagement at today’s launch. “Now it’s barely one in five. So we’ve got a real issue. In 50 years, things have really changed.

“The problem doesn’t sit with women and girls with their lives. The problem sits within golf. Golf hasn’t changed according to the needs of women’s lives, and we’ve just expect women to keep doing what they’ve always done. The problem exists in golf. We need to evolve and keep revamping how we do golf.”

Some of the examples today included Bannockburn Golf Club in south-west Victoria, where the club changed its constitution, dissolved the women’s committee and reformed the board including women. They included Huntingdale and Kew golf clubs, where club championships are now offered up on weekends to cater for women who work or study midweek, and Northern Golf Club, where the club sought a government grant and ran a ‘This girl can’ campaign.

Even Par is not about Golf Australia telling clubs to make change, although GA has made it clear to clubs that they need to be very aware of the Human Rights Commission guidelines released in 2019 around gender equality in golf clubs and facilities. Moreso, it is an instrument built to help clubs who want to introduce gender equality, according to Kurdas.

“There’s a strong focus in the (Vision 2025) workshops about collaborative learning, walking side-by-side, taking down those club fences so that we can help each other find solutions to unique challenges or problems they might have in their own clubs or facilities,’’ she said.

Click here to view the case studies.

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