12 Dec 2023 | R&A Charter | Women and girls |
Where the grass is greener | Greenspace signs R&A Women in Golf Charter
by Andrew Young
Golf facility management group, GreenSpace Management, has become a signatory to the R&A Women in Golf Charter, becoming the first off-course provider to do so – publicly stating their commitment to improving the sport for all women and girls.
With over 80 years' worth of experience in the global golf industry, GreenSpace provides golf management, maintenance and consultancy services to a range of clients. They directly manage four public access golf facilities throughout Victoria and South Australia, with more on the way nationwide.
Through their work with councils and public facilities, it became clear to GreenSpace National Operations Coordinator Matthew Doran, that the business had a wonderful opportunity to enhance the golfing experience for a generation of women and girls.
“Our commitment to the game includes being an ambassador for all golfers at our facilities,” explained Doran. “We know that we have an opportunity to break down barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in our game.”
Particularly relevant at a grassroots level, Doran and the team at GreenSpace are aware that they can help shape golfers’ first impressions of the game.
“Public golf courses are where the vast majority of people have their first experience of our game; and we need to make sure that the first and lasting impression is outstanding.” Said Doran.
It is why GreenSpace has been so considered in designing a detailed Statement of Intent, which outlines the actions they are committed to in support of the Charter.
Aligned with four key pillars, the statement addresses innovation, grassroots golf, consumer positioning and pathways.
Committed to designing programs that set out a clear pathway for women and girls to become regular golfers, as well as providing consistent facilities and amenities to help everyone feel as comfortable as possible, GreenSpace is playing a pivotal role in driving change.
GreenSpace is also implementing gender-neutral tees, as well as offering products and designing spaces to suit more women than ever before.
They are all developments that have impressed Acting Head of Clubs and Facilities at Golf Australia, Megan Carr.
“It has been wonderful to see GreenSpace be as proactive as they have here,” said Carr. “Ultimately, we would love for them to play a pivotal role in the growth of women and girls playing the game.
“Across their different facilities, they have worked out the best way for them to go about making changes and hopefully this sets a precedent, and other management companies and golf facilities jump on board as well.”
Committed to progress in the long term, GreenSpace has also developed a project group to ensure they can affect real change. The group, which was established after they became a signatory to the Charter, exists to open discussion and help plan ideas and programs that maintain signatory status and ultimately provide a better outcome for women and girls.
GreenSpace Managing Director Peter Vlahandreas also appointed an eminent person to the project group, to ensure they consider a perspective from outside of the golfing industry.
“Our project group is the engine that drives our commitment to the Charter and ensures that programs and projects are rolled out effectively across all of our facilities nationally.” Vlahandreas said
Pleased to have taken the first steps to making a real difference for women and girls, Doran and the team at GreenSpace acknowledge that the golf industry is making progress but knows the journey has just begun.
“We feel that one of our biggest challenges is being open and real about the fact that there are a lot of intimidating factors within our game. Through our commitment to the Charter, we can change this.”
Head of Venue Development at Golf Australia, Tony Craswell is confident it will and hopes that others will soon follow in the footsteps of GreenSpace.
“We applaud GreenSpace for their enthusiasm to drive change for women in golf,” he said. “The importance of women and girls being welcomed across all golf formats is very important.”
“GreenSpace operate Mini golf and driving ranges as well as on course facilities. This will showcase how The R & A Women in Golf Charter can apply to all of golf and highlights how all of us can be golfers.”
A sentiment echoed by Carr; she believes GreenSpace’s action will help to start a trend throughout the entire industry.
“It has been our first step in a different direction, and we are already getting more expressions of interest from off-course venues. It helps to set a standard for these kinds of arrangements.”
For more information on GreenSpace, click HERE
For more information on the R&A Women in Golf Charter, click HERE
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