When women’s golf is fortunate enough to receive media attention, often the subject matter is not always positive. For example, we’ve had years of highlighting inequality, then there’s the dress code debate, and how can we forget the ‘gimmegate’ saga at the 2015 Solheim Cup? This is why I want to take the opportunity to share a positive story.
Since I began working in golf many moons ago, I cannot tell you the number of times I have written about female participation and how best we can encourage more women and girls to take up the sport, and more importantly retain them. For one reason or another, it’s not an easy task to attract women to golf at a rapid rate, especially those in the 20-30 age bracket.
However, last week I was invited to attend golf simulator venue Pitch in Soho for an event in partnership with Adidas and popular social media influencer Mia Baker. I was absolutely blown away when I walked downstairs, as I had never before been in an area that was packed with 100+ young women who were there to chat about golf and give it a go. Despite suddenly feeling quite old, it was refreshing to see!
Mia has a great ability to promote golf to a younger audience in a fun and appealing way, so it came as no surprise to find out that many women in attendance were there because they follow Mia on social media, while others are keen to learn to play golf because their partners play.
What struck me in conversation was to hear how much their golfer boyfriends want them to play, so it is a pastime they can enjoy together. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that all men have previously been unsupportive of their partner playing golf, but let’s be fair, traditionally men have wanted to keep that part of their life separate, which has in turn led to the segregation in male and female sections at golf clubs that we still face today. It’s apparent that this new generation of golfers are definitely up for playing more mixed golf!
This was the first of many events that Pitch x Adidas is planning for female golfers and shortly they will award 100 academy memberships to include 5 lessons, 7 practice sessions, as well as Adidas kit, to the lucky women that have applied for this over-subscribed programme.
Not all these women will stick it out, and as we know, the stepping stone from beginner to becoming a golf club member is a fairly big transition, but that’s a whole other story! At least initiatives like this along with the positive impact of social media are helping to increase the visibility of women's golf and provide a pathway to attract young women to the game who might have otherwise dismissed the sport completely.
Onwards and upwards!