23 Aug 2023 | Women and girls |
Murrumbidgee joins the movement
by Golf Australia
By Serrin Bertino
It has been a momentous year for women and girls’ advancements at the Murrumbidgee Country Club after it became the first club in the Australian Capital Territory to sign the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.
Furthering their commitment to women and girls, the club has also released its 2023-2028 strategic plan where female participation is one of the key priorities.
With an 18 percent increase in women’s membership over the past financial year, it is onwards and upwards for the club now focused on its next steps.
“We are incredibly proud of our club becoming a signatory,” club General Manager Scott Elias said.
“Aligning with the criteria quite easily, really confirmed we are on the right track.”
Upon commencing his role at Murrumbidgee just less than one year ago, Elias was happy to learn that the club was in the process of pursuing the charter.
This commitment initially came from the women’s captain, Donna Chalmers.
“I read about the charter in the ‘Inside Golf’ magazine and immediately thought we should be doing this,” she said.
Chalmers was pleased to encounter no roadblocks within the club with fellow committee members, the board, and Elias instantly supportive.
Everyone acknowledged that this aligned perfectly with the recently developed strategic plan priority focusing on attracting, retaining and supporting women and girls in golf.
“It was timely,” Elias said. “We were happy to learn that we were already doing a lot of things right.”
Some of these points included:
• More than 40 percent female representation on the board • Providing an attractive interim membership for beginner golfers • Having a dedicated member of the women’s match committee facilitate and encourage the pathway from clinic to playing on course and attaining a handicap • AGF Girls Scholarship program in place • Creation of a welcoming clubhouse environment where golfers can enjoy the company of like-minded people.
“Saying that, it has been valuable to learn about best practices and where we can still improve,” he said.
Chalmers is also appreciative of the value the R&A Charter provides and credits Brendan Higgins from Golf NSW and Megan Carr of Golf Australia for the support and guidance provided to the club during the process.
“Brendan and Megan have been a wealth of knowledge. I have also found the reading material very useful – it has given us a guide to what is possible,” she said.
Elias said the club had further plans for the future.
“Our new ‘interim membership’ for women graduating from clinics, and who are ready to start playing is working well,” Elias said.
“The support Donna and the women’s committee provide women to obtain their handicap is outstanding.
“Our aim, however, is to revise the club’s constitution so we can introduce further membership categories that meet current consumer needs.”
The team at Murrumbidgee encourages other clubs to investigate becoming a signatory.
“The charter is a great opportunity to evaluate what you currently do and learn about what else you can do to grow women and girls’ participation,” said Elias.
Donna Chalmers agrees with this sentiment.
“It will never happen if you don’t make it happen,” she said.
“The Charter has shown us how much good work we are already doing, and what exciting change we can make from here to grow our club.”
The Women in Golf Charter, developed to create a more inclusive culture for women and girls in golf, is backed by the R&A and the Australian golf industry.
The adoption of the charter in Australia provides an excellent opportunity for clubs, organisations and communities to join forces and collectively attract more women and girls to golf.
To submit an expression of interest for your club to become a Women in Golf Charter signatory, please register here.
From there, Golf NSW will arrange a brief meeting with your regional manager and provide ongoing support in conjunction with the Golf Australia Women and Girls Engagement Team.
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