24 Jan 2020 | Amateur golf |

Victoria Golf Club’s Women’s Success

by Golf Australia

Vic women's pennant 2019_image

Women Pennant players at Victoria Golf Club closed out 2019 in remarkable fashion.

After winning Division Two in Women’s Pennant and Division One in Friday Women’s Pennant back in April, they achieved the trifecta when a team of young girls won their first ever Victorian Junior Pennant in December.

The results are the culmination of initiatives taken by the club over many years to conduct a comprehensive junior girls program, to build female membership, and to review their practices to ensure Victoria Golf Club meets the Equal Opportunity Guidelines outlined in Golf Australia’s Vision 2025.

The Junior Girls Program was initiated many years ago by enthusiastic female members, but really thrived when Jan Jelleff, long time club member and Volunteer of the Year in 2013, co-ordinated a program for young girls.

Under the supervision of female members, girls began to play 9 holes, gained a handicap, and at the same time had fun while learning golf etiquette and the rules.

These days, the girls are divided into different groups based on their age and ability, and they pay a minimal amount each week until they are sufficiently committed to join the club.  When they become members, they can pay off the halved joining fee each year until they turn 31.

The winning Sunday Pennant team included six girls who had come through the junior program.

“More often than not many of these girls started on a handicap of 45,” Sue Hosking, Victoria Golf Club President said.

“Some of the girls joined the club after learning golf elsewhere as they wished to play with other young girls and they also wanted the opportunity to play top level competitive golf”, she said.

“It is also true that other clubs now have the benefit of having former Victoria Golf Club junior girls in their pennant ranks.”

While the average Australian percentage of club women members stands at 20%, Victoria Golf Club has a female membership of approximately 33%, most of whom live locally.

The club overhauled its membership categories in 2013 opening all categories of membership to both sexes. The higher joining fee for full membership was temporarily waived and as a result approximately 70 women now have Saturday playing rights.

A major priority for Golf Australia is to increase women’s participation and to make golf more accessible to more women more often, as well as attracting younger people to the game in innovative and more accessible ways.

“Victoria Golf Club’s foresight has proven fruitful; they now have a strong women’s membership base, and are achieving wonderful top-level interclub results,” Therese Magdulski, Golf Australia’s Victorian State Manager said.

The club has also pursued an active non-golf program to encourage members to remain at the club at the end of their golfing years.

Off the course, the Board of the club has included three women in a nine member Board since 2014 and recently elected the first woman to an executive position in the club’s 116 year history.

Despite these successes, Victoria Golf Club faces challenges experienced by many other golf clubs. Women are increasingly becoming time poor and many of the club’s junior girls go on to non-playing or leave golf altogether due to the demands of study, work and other interests.

The hope is that the club can develop programs and policies which keep young members engaged with the club in some capacity, as well as programs that might bring family members and friends into golf, a game for life.

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