27 Sep 2022 | Women and girls |

Keysborough sign Women in Golf Charter

by Golf Australia

Christie Bell, Keysborough Golf Club's Director of Golf, conducting a free women’s clinic.
Christie Bell, Keysborough Golf Club's Director of Golf, conducting a free women’s clinic.

Committing to improving the sport for women and girls, Keysborough Golf Club are the first Melbourne-based club to become a signatory of the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.

Sue Arnts, board member at the club which is based 45 minutes south-east of Melbourne’s CBD, is one of many club members and staff who have worked together to kick-start the journey which led them to signing the Charter.

“It all really started when the women’s committee which I sit on began to talk about how we can attract more girls and women to the club, along with retaining members,” Arnts said.

“This was last year when just 14% of club members were women.”

The committee started the process by researching what resourses and case studies were available to them, and this is where they came across Golf Australia’s Vision 2025 - a strategy to address a fundamental imbalance in the game and draw more women and girls to golf.

“Vision 2025 was our springboard to get started,” Arnts said. “Our committee put together a discussion paper and invited key personal at the club to attend our meeting and discuss what we could do as a club. These people included our Director of Golf, General Manager, Club Captain and Club President.”

With support early on, the extended group identified projects they could implement together before taking this to the governance committee for further input.

It was here a recommendation was put to the club’s board to use Golf Australia’s Even Par checklist to review policies and practices connected with gender equality.

There was no dispute from the Board, who recognised the need to engage more women and girls, and from there a Vision 2025 working group was formed to manage the review.

Arnts was elected chair of this group and after communicating to club members and staff about Vision 2025 and the work planned to enhance and grow the club, 12 people from numerous sectors of the club (staff and members) joined up.

“There are so many great resources on the Golf Australia website we used to support our work,” Arnts said. “Another great support was Golf Australia’s Megan Carr who provided additional guidance and support.”

Carr, Women and Girls Operations Manager at Golf Australia, along with other golf industry staff work to support clubs using Sports Australia’s club health tool called Game Plan. A module-based tool which Golf Australia uses to assist in the development of an action to attract and retain more women and girls in all aspects of golf.

This resource assists clubs in making their commitment to the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, which Keysborough Golf Club have now achieved.

Keysborough's Board members and Vision 2025 work group members meeting with Megan Carr.
Keysborough's Board members and Vision 2025 work group members meeting with Megan Carr.

“Working through Game Plan has been a great process to undertake,” Arnts said. “We as a club now have a clear understanding of what we have achieved, where we are at, and where we are going.

“We have started a wealth of exciting work including the launch of an introductory membership for women. This is a discounted membership that includes a mentoring program and weekly clinics run by the club professionals.”

Momentum has started with 165 new women members joining the club over the past month!

To resource this intake, the club has employed a member (pathway coordinator) who works a few hours each week to administer the mentoring program and pathway.

Other focus areas for the club include:

Revision of the women’s committee terms of reference using Golf Australia template;

Review of equal prize money for men’s and women’s competitions;

Integration of gender equality initiatives into the club’s new strategic plan;

Gender balance on committees; and

Encouraging juniors to join through the work of our Community Instructors in schools (MyGolf - Sporting Schools Program).

“We have quickly realised that women want to play, we as an industry just need to better cater to their needs and provide additional support,” Arnts said.

This includes the club’s potential relocation so it can better accommodate for the next generation of players and members. Relying on a re-zoning of the current course, the club aims to create more facilities (such as a par 3 course and driving range) to introduce more women and children to golf in a supportive environment.

“The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter initiative is a wonderful way for clubs to come together for a common goal and learn from each other. I hope to see many more clubs, regional and metro-based become a signatory soon,” Arnts said.

To submit an expression of interest for your club to become a Women in Golf Charter signatory, please register here.

From there Golf Australia will arrange a brief meeting with your local Golf Australia Regional Development Officer or Clubs and Facilities Support Manager, and the Women and Girls Engagement Team.

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