02 Aug 2021 | Women and girls |

Marvellous mindset at Medway

by Golf Australia

VOTY July Medway Golf Club
5 for 5 players enjoying socialising after 5 holes play at Medway Golf Club.

Our July Visionary of the Year winner has been chosen...

Congratulations to the team at Medway Golf Club for developing a seamless participation pathway that now ensures a steady stream of new women signing up to the club every year.

Medway Golf Club has won a $500 Drummond Golf voucher and are now in the running to win up to $10,000 worth of products from the latest Callaway REVA product range, designed specifically for women. Our overall Visionary of the Year will be voted upon and announced towards the end of the year.

This month, there has been a lot of coverage and gratitude for Ben Crowe, Ash Barty’s mindset coach as Barty won her first Wimbledon title.

Rightfully so, as a person’s mind-set ultimately affects their output - limits present new challenges, and challenges present opportunity and growth. The story of Medway Golf Club and the mindset of its people, demonstrates the power of having a positive and aligned belief.

“We are here to stay,” said Brett Scothern, General Manager at Medway GC, upon being asked about the longevity of the club’s Vision 2025 sub-committee.

“The creation of this committee is our way of saying gender equality is important and ensuring we never become complacent – always thinking about how we can improve.”

Upon attending a Golf Business Forum in 2018, Scothern, by chance, was in the auditorium when he heard a presentation by Golf Australia about gender equality in golf.

“Like most clubs, we had a considerable imbalance of female to male membership,” he said.

“It was at this time that I was really inspired to do something about this - plus, it really is a no-brainer that women are an untapped market.”

At the same time, Golf Australia were recruiting clubs for its Even Par program - a program that aimed to support golf clubs to facilitate gender equality in golf and the broader community.

For some, the buck would stop here due to a lack of key drivers to bring inspiration to fruition.

But there has been a team of people at Medway, including Jill Gillingham (former women’s captain) Jenny Kelly (current women’s captain), Stacie Gull (board member) and Alex Pitty (PGA Professional) who have ensured this important work has gone ahead.

With nothing but support from the Board, the club signed up to Even Par and the club’s Vision 2025 sub-committee was formed.

“The mindset of the club, it’s leadership, members and PGA professional has been remarkable,” said Sharna Faralla, regional development officer at Golf Australia.

“Medway have always shown such a positive outlook in doing what they can to increase participation.

“Importantly, it has been a whole-of-club approach and they have no qualms in engaging key stakeholders and accessing extremal resources and services to help bring their vision to fruition.”

The Club’s Even Par Vision … ‘growing women’s golf and providing a pathway for new women golfers.

“Being an ex-PGA Professional, I felt I had a fairly good understanding about the experiences of women starting golf - how intimidating it can be, and common stages women tended to drop off,” said Scothern.

“But working with Stacie Gull who sits on our Board and Jill Gillingham, who was Women’s Captain at the time, was an invaluable experience as they provided additional insight to a women’s golf journey.

“Together we mapped out how our entire participation pathway will look, from women learning the basic skills through to full membership.

The team identified common barriers women face along the pathway and worked to ensure plenty of nuances along the way.

“We know that cost and equipment can be a barrier to getting started. And then, many women tend to not progress past clinics as the step to on-course play and membership is too daunting,” Scothern said.

“So, we introduced a 4-tier pathway that is all showcased on our club website. This step-by-step pathway is all mapped out with information about activity associated with each level, costs involved, golfing ability associated with that level and how long a person remains at that level in general.

“It takes women on a journey from clinics to an on-course mentoring program, a trial membership and then traditional membership. Women can take up to three years to work their way through the levels before joining full fee memberships.

“We figure 3 years is a good amount of time for someone to get to know how the club works, foster friendships which is often the thing that keeps women at a club and feel comfortable at the club.”

VOTY July Medway Golf Club
Jill Gillingham accepts the Club’s Even Par certificate from Sharna Faralla.

Key nuances the club has adopted to ensure women are supported, made to feel welcome and catered for include:

  • Clinics are offered at various times throughout the week, including out of office hours

  • Equipment is provided throughout levels 1-2

  • Current female members are involved to foster friendships and familiarity at the club

  • An exceptional trial membership is offered

  • When women are ready to sign-up to traditional memberships and play competitions, equal access is provided.

Medway has developed a seamless and strong pathway with 80 women going through clinics (level 1) in the past 3 years, 50 progressing into the on-course mentoring program known as 5 for 5 ($5 for 5 holes) and 33 women signing up to the trial membership.

“We put a time-limit on each level to ensure women continue to transition,” Scothern said.

“So, come October when it is time for women on trial-membership to progress to full membership, we hope to get good buy-in. Early indications looks like we attract 6-8 new female members every 6 months.”

This constant stream of new female members is attributable to the sustainability of the program.

The club plans to start a series of clinics every Spring and Autumn and cleverly are linking in with their local council’s “Active Maribyrnong, Get Active” campaign.

“We recruited 40 new women to our first series of clinics by linking in with Maribyrnong City Council’s “Get Active” campaign that encourages local women to get active. We plan to continue doing this as it is a great way to connect with women outside of our club,” Scothern said.

Most importantly, the pathway is now ingrained within the club with full support from the board, club members and the PGA professional team.

With an estimate of 30-50 new women coming through the program each year, the positive and aligned mindset of so many people at Medway Golf Club is now paying off.

Key Learnings:

  • You need support and buy-in from everyone at your club to ensure sustainable and successful change – your General Manager, PGA Professional, Board and members.

  • Tap into Golf Australia resources such as Even Par and local support staff to start enhancing your gender equality initiatives.

  • Form a relationship with your local council and link into relevant grants and promotion campaigns.

  • Think about the ‘little things’ that really make a person’s experience at your club enjoyable and make them want to stay such as fostering friendships with existing members, doing up the women’s change rooms etc.

  • “Make sure you have reasons behind what you are doing”, suggests Scothern. “You will get better buy-in if you can clearly present a plan and outcomes.”

  • “We are always looking at how we can improve. Reading the other Visionary of the Year stories is helpful.”

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