09 Mar 2023 | Women and girls |
Rich River becomes first NSW club to sign
by Golf Australia
Rich River Golf Club, home to the upcoming NSW Open, is proud to become the state’s first club to sign the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.
The 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.
Shane Gloury, CEO of Rich River, is thrilled with the timing.
“Our aim was to show our commitment to women and girl’s golf by signing the Charter before the NSW Open,” he said.
“We believe this sends a positive message to the golf community and industry whose eyes will be on our club throughout the Open on the importance of, and opportunity that exists to grow our game by making it more accessible to more women.”
Gloury, who started with the club just over five years ago, recalls the milestones that have progressed the club to where it is today.
Embarking on his role as CEO, he found it hard to fathom that at the time women did not have access to play for most part of Saturdays, despite both men and women paying the same full-membership fee.
“I discussed this with the Board and from that moment, we have been slowly but surely breaking down barriers and traditional structures to ensure equal opportunity at our club,” he said.
The aim has not only been to provide equal rights, but to substantially increase female participation – a key growth area identified by the Board and senior team in a strategic planning session.
Like many clubs, membership had been ageing but the club was not catering the game to younger women, especially those working or studying.
An example of this disparity was the format of the traditional ‘ladies club championship’ whereby members compete over three mid-week rounds.
“The Charter has been an excellent tool to point out traditions built into our clubs without us even realising,” Gloury said.
“We are wanting to get more younger women and girls playing but are not running events at times that are accessible to them. It just doesn't make sense.”
Taking it one step further, the club has planned to combine the last round of its men’s and women’s championships on a Sunday in October.
“Hot off the back of the Australian and Vic Opens, we see this as a wonderful way to bring all our members together to celebrate our club champions, both men and women,” Gloury said.
The club is proud of the progress it is making and pays homage to the Charter as ‘a great platform to continue making change.’
“The process of becoming a Signatory to the Charter was really not that difficult and we were well supported by Golf NSW and Golf Australia,” Gloury said.
“It has been great to help us examine where we are at, and finding areas where we need to change.
“Our board is 100 percent behind this work and we are excited about looking to the future and what it may now hold.”
Steve Loader, Director of Golf at Rich River, is also excited by the opportunities that exist.
“We know women and girls are keen to engage with golf, however they have been intimidated to do so. We simply need to break down the barriers and offer them relevant ways to play and learn,” he said.
“We are excited to appoint Jody Fleming, a female PGA Professional on a part time basis to help us with our future Get into Golf Women’s programs.”
Stuart Fraser, CEO of Golf NSW, is thrilled to see Rich River GC sign-up and encourages other clubs to follow.
“It is wonderful to see one of NSW’s premier regional golf clubs lead the way with their commitment to the Women In Golf Charter,” he said.
“Increasing female participation and involvement in golf is critical to the future health of the game, and sustainability of clubs. Golf NSW looks forward to assisting other clubs in creating and promoting a female friendly environment through the Women In Golf Charter.”
The adoption of the Women in Golf 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 Australia will arrange a brief meeting with your local Golf NSW or Golf Australia representative.
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