Golf Australia

Gove girls buck the trend

Gove Country Golf Club
The girls from the Gove Country Golf Club.

At the recent ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Golf Australia announced ‘Vision 2025: The future of women and girls in golf’ – a blueprint that sets out how golf in Australia can become a sport in which women and girls are inspired to participate, and are welcomed, nurtured and developed to achieve their goals.

During the Tuesday press conference, Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt made it clear that, while the vision is there to inspire, initiatives are already under way to redress the imbalance that exists between males and females at all levels of golf.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northern Territory, where Gove Country Golf Club is attracting previously unachievable numbers of girls into its MyGolf programs.

“For the first time, we have more girls than boys participating in MyGolf,” said Esther Rika, the club’s junior co-ordinator. “We have 22 girls and 20 boys registered for our Term 1 programs, which is a record for our junior club.”

The formula for success will not surprise anyone familiar with grassroots sport – national and state sporting organisations aligned and committed to the cause, allied with a welcoming club environment and passionate, friendly, skilled program deliverers.

Amber Ellem, general manager of marketing and communications at the PGA of Australia, is greatly encouraged by what she sees at Gove Country Golf Club.

“To see MyGolf programs with girls making up more than 50% of participants is an absolute joy,” said Ellem. “At a national level, girls make up only 23% of MyGolf participants. Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia are committed to emulating the results at Gove Country Golf Club around Australia.”

Gove Country Golf Club has made great use of the marketing collateral and content provided by MyGolf, which is piloting girls only programs in 14 clubs and facilities around the country. The girls-specific videos, flyers and posters have been very helpful to the club, but its proactive approach to engaging its communities is probably the standout feature of its success. The club is demonstrating that golf is for everyone.

Danny Bowerin, Marketing Director at Golf Australia, is aware of the challenge facing golf and wants clubs and facilities around Australia to take note of what’s happening in a small community in the Northern Territory.

“Women’s sport is booming in Australia, and we know that we have to work hard to battle perceptions – particularly among girls – that golf is slow, boring, uncool and played by old men,” said Bowerin.

“One of the great things about Gove Country Golf Club is its female role models and mentors. Junior golfer Katelyn Rika, who is a community golf instructor, has teamed up with her sisters Naomi and Hannah to show all the newcomers how much fun golf can be for girls, and that it delivers the fun and friendship it promises. They were MyGolf participants themselves not too long ago, and it’s great to see them giving back to the game in such fine style.”

The MyGolf program will continue to work hard to address its gender imbalance through delivery environments, partnerships, pathways, role models and ambassadors. If Gove Country Golf Club is an example of how Australian golf clubs and facilities will grasp the nettle, Vision 2025 will prove to be a reality.

Inspired by this story? Eager to get more girls into your programs? Access marketing collateral here.


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