20 Mar 2024 | Women and girls |

Red Cliffs wins Visionary of the Year

by Martin Blake

Red Cliffs GC image
Red Cliffs has found a way to engage with the local community.

Red Cliffs Golf Club on the Victoria-New South Wales border has been honoured for its effort it bringing the local community together by winning the 2023 Visionary of the Year competition.

The extraordinary story of the club’s engagement with the local Pacific Islander community saw a nomination for Golf Australia’s coveted award in June, 2023.

The national Visionary of the Year award, started in 2021, honours outstanding initiatives within the golf community that show leadership towards gender equality while inspiring, educating, and empowering others to follow.

The three finalists included Woodlands in Victoria and Windaroo Lakes in Queensland, but Red Cliffs came out on top, with World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, who sits on the women’s and girls’ steering committee, delivering the news to Red Cliffs’ committee member Deanne Davis.

The club receives $10,000 worth of Callaway Reva products designed specifically for women.

The Red Cliffs area hosts a large community from the Cook Islands and around 18 months ago, the golf club took the challenge of engaging with them.

While a few Cook Islander locals were already playing golf, the club was told that its facilities were not suitable for the broader community.

A playground was built for children thanks to a government grant, and barbecue facilities added so that families could populate the club. Red Cliffs soon found itself as a hub for Pacific Islander people.

More women are playing golf, too, with a new Get Into Golf program introduced including clinics for Cook Islander women.

Karrie Webb praised the club’s broad thinking.

“I think you’re going to be a great example for a lot of rural golf clubs in trying to engage with their community and trying to get a different demographic out to their golf club,” said the seven-time major winner.

“Which increases the membership and also makes the golf club a community hub.”

Deanne Davis said the new equipment would be invaluable for the beginner women and girls Red Cliffs was aiming to draw in.

“It’s just wonderful,” she said. “Our clubs that we give to beginners are basically hand-me-downs from members. Hopefully a lot of other clubs take our lead.”

Davis said the immigrant community had been “easy” to engage with. “It’s great seeing their families involved.”

Webb drew on her Queensland country origins to hand out praise. “I grew up in a rural community and I grew up in a rural club.

“I don’t think I would’ve had an interest in golf if it wasn’t for such a welcoming atmosphere at the Ayr Golf Club. I can see what you’re trying to achieve or continuing to achieve with everyone in the community.”

Watch a video of the presentation here

See a video presentation of Red Cliffs' work here

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