06 Jul 2023 | Industry news |

History made with first woman captain at Kooyonga

by Martin Blake

Zoee Dolling golf shot image
Zoe Dolling strikes the ceremonial tee shot as captain of Kooyonga.

At venerable Kooyonga Golf Club in South Australia, history has been made with the appointment of Zoee Dolling as the first woman as club Captain in its 100-year life.

Dolling struck the first blow for Saturday competition with a hickory club from the first tee on the weekend, complete with the ringing out of a shotgun blast for the traditional ‘firing in ceremony’ for a new Captain.

An engineer and project manager who is already a committee member at Kooyonga and a past chair of Golf South Australia, she came to golf a few years ago after taking on the role as head of volunteers at the Women’s Australian Open. She is well and truly smitten with the game.

Her appointment – along with Imelda Lynch’s elevation to become Captain of nearby Glenelg, and Nicolle Rantanen Reynolds’ recent election as President of Grange – is being hailed as a massive cultural change for golf in South Australia if not the whole country.

Outgoing Captain Crawford Giles said: “We have moved past gender at Kooyonga. Committee and members agreed that Zoee Dolling was the standout candidate with the suitable skill sets to lead our club.”

Dolling acknowledges the historical nature of her appointment although her agenda is for a gender-neutral future. She told members when elected at the Annual General Meeting last Thursday night: “We now move into the next century of Kooyonga’s history, and I have no doubt we will look back with pride at the transformation we have achieved.”

The response to her appointment, she says, has been overwhelming. “Members are embracing the change because I think they can all see that diversity strengthens our club and enriches the experiences of all our members.

“I highly encourage women to get involved in the management of their golf clubs. There are so many opportunities to help drive change, and it’s been such a rewarding experience. There are really strong support networks out there, and we’re all here to help in any way we can.”

Giles added: “Whilst it is nice for Kooyonga to have its first female Captain, Zoee has the role because she is the best person to do the job at this point in time.

"She has outstanding commercial experience as an environmental engineer including considerable understanding of water tables, she has served at Golf SA including as Chair and understands the industry and has embedded herself with the membership at Kooyonga initially in the women’s golf and social program but more recently in the past three or four years choosing to upgrade to Category One membership and participating in the major club events and social programs.

“Her contributions on committee have been considered but also at times forthright, albeit at all times balanced and her delivery has always been very respectful. I am very confident that the club will move forward under Zoee’s leadership and look forward to supporting her and the full committee from the sidelines.”

Zoee Dolling captain image
Zoee Dolling with Kooyonga's photos of past captains.

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