Golf Australia

Equality guidelines set in stone


Click here to view the publication: "Guidelines for the promotion of equal opportunity for women and girls in golf"

New guidelines have been released today to ensure Australian golf clubs provide equal opportunities for both genders.

The Australian Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with Golf Australia, launched today a publication titled ‘Guidelines for the promotion of equal opportunity for women and girls in golf’.

The launch was held at Mt Derrimut Golf and Community Club in Melbourne’s western suburbs, a club which offers seven-day a week open access to all genders.

Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Commission, said: “The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes this opportunity to partner with Golf Australia on the development of these guidelines.

“They provide information on the operation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and practical guidance on how golf clubs can promote equal opportunity for women and girls.

“With its use of a unique handicap system, golf is particularly well placed to be an inclusive game for people of all genders, ages and abilities. A real opportunity exists to increase the participation rates for women and girls within golf.

“The guidelines provide an opportunity for golf clubs around Australia to revisit their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Act, and to address these issues. The guidelines are particularly timely given the current momentum in relation to the participation of women in sport.”

Golf clubs can minimise the likelihood of a successful discrimination claim and promote equal opportunity by:

  • •  ensuring membership categories are gender neutral
  • •  providing open access to the course at all times for women/girls and men/boys
  • •  maximising the participation of women and girls in competitions
  • •  facilitating the inclusion of women and girls in governance arrangements.

Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt  said: “I would like to express GA’s sincere appreciation to the Australian Human Rights Commission for agreeing to produce this publication for the game of golf.

“To this point there has been a clear gap in the guidance we have been able to make available to clubs on two significant issues that relate to equal opportunity for women and girls.

“Firstly, the consistency of various golf operational practices with the federal sex discrimination law, which has been in force since 1984; and, secondly, what it is that clubs can do to implement policies to promote equal opportunity for women and girls in golf.

“We believe this document will go a long way towards filling this space.”

Pitt strongly encouraged all clubs to work through this publication and follow the guidance of the Commission.

“We believe it to be particularly important in assisting clubs to meet their legal obligations and, where there is any doubt as to whether a certain practice complies with the law, we would urge clubs to focus on maximising the inclusion of women and girls and where appropriate, seek legal advice,” he said.

“This approach will help to minimise the risk of a discrimination claim, against a club or an official, under the Act.”

Empowering Australian golf clubs to ensure they are gender inclusive is a hallmark of Golf Australia’s ‘Vision 2025: The Future of Women & Girls in Golf’ strategy.

Pitt said that supporting clubs to follow the Commission’s guide will help further develop the inclusive nature of golf.

“Everyone who loves our sport should be excited about this latest step we are taking with the Commission to deliver a friendly experience for all golfers, regardless of their sex,” he said.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, the governing body for golf in all areas of the world except the United States and Mexico, said: “We commend Golf Australia for taking the initiative to provide such useful guidance on discrimination and equal opportunity legislation to its member clubs.

“Golf has a duty to ensure that those joining clubs are treated equally and equitably and do not suffer discrimination on grounds of gender, race, religion or nationality.

“The R&A works with 157 affiliated organisations worldwide, including Golf Australia, and we encourage national federations to highlight examples of best practice. I am sure others will recognise the issues raised in this guide and consider providing a similar resource in their own countries.”

Click here to view the publication: "Guidelines for the promotion of equal opportunity for women and girls in golf"

Chyloe Kurdas, Kate Jenkins, Stephen Pitt
L-R: Chyloe Kurdas (Female engagement senior manager, Golf Australia), Kate Jenkins (Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission) and Stephen Pitt (Chief executive, Golf Australia) at the launch of the guidelines at Mt Derrimut Golf and Community Club.


Posted by Norma at
12/05/2019 12:08 PM
Awesome to see that guidelines are finally being put in place. Now perhaps all club championships including the women's need to be played on weekends, so that working women can play in them too. Also fair access to the course to accommodate all women's interest in playing Saturday's needs to be looked at by all clubs in the 21st century. Allocated token slot times need to go! We all pay the same fees and we all work, so priorities really need to change.
Posted by John at
10/03/2019 10:34 AM
I am totally in agreement with the principles of equality in sport and elsewhere. As part of our committee we have exhaustively, over a number of years, reviewed and worked towards developing a gender neutral environment for all golfers. We will know when we have succeeded when we no longer refer to "women and Girls" in policies. There are still many challenges ahead and positive communication and discussions will ensure a good result for all golfers.
Posted by Ray Morrison at
07/03/2019 08:57 AM
Our club has gone a long way towards meeting these guidelines, however we still offer an all women’s competition and an all men’s competition day. All competitions outside these two days are open to everybody. I believe the women members would not wish to lose this exclusive competition day. A difficult situation.
Posted by Jacqui smyth at
06/03/2019 06:18 PM
Great initiative . We've just fought for and got gender neutral membership at our club so hopefully this makes it easier for others... It took us 2 years to get there!
Posted by Julie Chater at
06/03/2019 03:03 PM
Congratulations to all involved in this project. Keep up the good work.
Posted by Jack at
06/03/2019 02:00 PM
Well I guess it will create some efficiencies when we only need to run one set of tees and one Club Championship.
Posted by Jay at
06/03/2019 01:38 PM
A huge leap forward for golf! I have refused to join a few clubs in Sydney purely because they don't allow women to play on a Saturday, or only let you play after all the men. Hopefully, things will change.
Posted by Nic at
06/03/2019 12:25 PM
Finally. I need access on Saturdays as I work 6 days a week. Why should I pay and not be able to play?
Posted by adam at
06/03/2019 12:24 PM
this is great news, i do wonder however how the ladies will react to losing their ladies day, which there are many great things to. I also hope that with equality we see more women on the committee's fundraising events, gardening crews, behind the BBQ and bars that keep golf clubs alive
Posted by Susan Britton at
06/03/2019 09:59 AM
A pleasing result for women and girls. Our golf club has just introduced gender neutral membership categories with some help from certain women members!. Hope all goes well.
Posted by sue cross at
05/03/2019 05:44 PM
Great to see something finally being done about this. It is time for golf to come out of the dark ages and confinements of male dominated thinking and control. Would be nice if current women members are asked for feedback on what they see as problems and suggestions on improvements.

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