Lauren Blease - How to encourage more women to play golf

One thing I am particularly passionate about, is encouraging more women and girls to play golf. There has always been a culture in golf that it is seen as an old mans game and it is a very exclusive, but it doesn’t need to be that way. In my opinion, in order to encourage more women and girls to play, we need to change the culture within the golf industry. We need more positive role models, not just from the playing perspective but also from the operational and coaching side of the game.

Recently I attended a Women in Golf Leadership Group hosted by the GCMA, which was an amazing experience for me. I was able to meet other women in the industry who were highly successful in their fields and doing a wonderful job of promoting women within golf. We discussed a range of issues, but the main focus was how to attract and retain more women into the game; whether that be the playing side or working within golf.

Some of the main thoughts that I came away with from that meeting, were that rather than always dwelling on the past and thinking of the negative side of golf and how it used to be, we need to start implementing a positive change and being pro-active in encouraging more women to play. This can be done through numerous ways. One suggestion that I think we could do, would be to adapt courses to be more accommodating to women. Especially in the winter, having the option of moving the tees further forward will help with pace of play as well as women feeling more comfortable with their game. This will take a major monetary commitment by clubs to build/extend new tees but ultimately if it brings in more women and juniors to the game then this can only be a good thing. The money spent on new tees can be recouped from future membership fees, money spent in the pro shop and in the bar and all future spending within golf of the women and juniors they are attracting.

As an industry, we all need to come together to encourage more women and families to play as if more women are playing then there is a higher likelihood that their children will play too. At Foxhills we have decided to host a Women’s Golf Day to help to encourage more women to try the game. It is aimed at female beginner golfers who have either never played before or are just getting started. The day will be a great way to meet people and socialise with other women with similar interests and at a similar ability level. Hopefully the day will be a way for women to see that golf is fun and there are other women out there to play with and it is not an intimidating environment to be in. My hope for this day is that it will be part of this huge movement by the golf industry to encourage more women to play golf. We need to keep the momentum going and keep pushing forward and making golf a welcoming experience for everyone.

Golf is an amazing game and my wish is for as many people as possible to play and become involved in the sport. Golf has given me so many wonderful memories and allowed me to make friends all over the world as well as play a game I love with my family. The game is definitely starting to change and starting to evolve but everyone needs to adapt and come together to make it an inclusive game for all. If every person who played golf and every golf club did just one thing, no matter how small, to encourage even one more woman to play, would be a great thing. Let’s all work together to change the industry and encourage more women into the game.