10 Mar 2023 | Women and girls |
Roseville’s remarkable record of female membership
by Dane Heverin
Roseville Golf Club in Sydney’s North Shore is one of the leading clubs in Australia for female playing members.
For the club which is in its 100th year, 41 percent of their full playing members are women, and this is a number that has stayed relatively stable across the past ten years.
Roseville’s members have been committed to women’s golf for several decades and the club’s impressive number of female golfers can largely be traced back to a club-run women’s golf clinic which began in the 1970s.
“We get 40 to 50 women every year – there is a waiting list to join – and the particularly special thing about it is that the women membership volunteer to support that clinic,” Roseville president Nerida Campbell said.
“The volunteers go out on course as the clinic participants start playing and it’s an opportunity to interact, explain the basics of the rules of golf, explain golf etiquette and other things like where to park your buggies. It’s all done in a really fun and supportive environment.
“A lot of the women that come through each year form really great bonds. They often still go as a group on golf trips together and they socially combine really well. We also assign them buddies once they join the club to help them integrate and get to know other people.”
Roseville’s clear focus on attracting and supporting new women to the sport has been maintained by the constant presence of women on the club’s board and various committees.
There are currently four women on Roseville’s board – Campbell, women’s captain Susannah Fortin, the chair of the membership experience committee Seonaid Colderick and director Pat McVean – who all boast three to four years of experience in their roles.
Campbell took on the club presidency in April 2022 and in doing so, she became the first female president of Roseville.
She joined the board in 2019 and served as treasurer until she became president, and she is incredibly proud to carry on the club’s legacy of dedication to women’s golf.
“When you start to get a certain percentage of women in any organisation, the culture changes,” Campbell said.
“Roseville has been quite fortunate to have some amazing women involved in the club and who have been on the board. Women members have always been active in the various committees of the club so there has always been female representation. The club has been at it, and made a commitment to it, for a really long time.”
Throughout the past decade there has been at least two women on the board, and in 2019 it was enshrined in the Roseville constitution that the board must have a minimum of two women, one of which is the women’s captain. Likewise, a minimum of two men are required, one of which is the men’s captain.
The equity extends to the club’s full playing members with both men and women holding equal playing rights, equal voting rights and paying the same annual subscription.
Roseville offers two women’s competition days, two men’s competition days, social play for all on another weekday and every day after the comps have finished. Weekend competitions are available to all members.
The equal opportunities presented follow the club’s primary goal of continuing to foster a great environment where women enjoy both golf and the social aspects of being a member of the club.
That objective means that they are also determined to be adaptable in modern times.
“We are so fortunate that we’ve had a great group of women historically in the club who have built what we’ve got. It’s up to us to keep going with that and it’s important to keep in mind what younger golfers and what golfers today want – which is different to what golfers wanted 20 years ago,” Campbell said.
“We’re trying to think about what we can do on a weekend to grow the number of women that play through coaching. It is a challenge around resources but we’re fortunate that we have two fantastic golf professionals.”
Roseville’s PGA professionals Min Cheng and Ben Gear are much-loved amongst the membership with Cheng – who joined the club in 2017 and became Head Professional in 2022- taking charge of teaching the junior program which brings girls into golf every year.
Gear on the other hand only started at Roseville in October last year but has taken on a lead role in the women’s clinic, and the pair work together on coaching the club’s women’s pennant teams.
In addition to looking at weekend options, twilight nine-hole competitions for women during the summer months are also utilised to attract working women, and the club is eager to bring more women from the demographic into the fold to continue to grow its membership.
Nevertheless, Roseville is extremely proud of the work they have already done.
“It is a great place to be,” Campbell said.
“The members are very friendly and supportive. It’s a fun place to play golf and our clubhouse terrace is a brilliant social setting with some stunning views.”
March is the inaugural Women and Girls Month with Australian Golf’s peak bodies – Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia and the WPGA Tour of Australasia celebrating women and girls, championing their participation in, and contribution to golf for the entire month.
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