The Vines Golf & Country Club has become the latest WA facility to become a signatory of the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.
The Charter outlines a set of principles that signatories commit to implementing to promote gender equality in golf. These include measures to encourage more women and girls to play golf, improve access to facilities and coaching, and create more opportunities for women to work in the golf industry, including in leadership roles.
Following in the footsteps of Gosnells, Busselton, Sun City and Lakelands, The Vines becomes the fifth WA club to sign the Charter – something that General Manager Sam Hodge believes is an important element in projecting an inclusive image of the club to both existing and prospective members.
“We committed to the Charter to promote the message that The Vines Golf Club respects equality,” Hodge told GolfWA. “We also want to encourage more women and girls to play golf and to provide better support to women, girls and families within the club membership structure.”
The Vines worked closely with Golf Australia over several months to deliver a Women & Girls action plan, which has already seen several changes in how the club is governed.
“Changes included looking at gender balance on our board and committees, adopting gender-neutral tees and updating our policies and prize payouts,” Hodge explained.
“We’ve also made changes to some of the traditional roles within the club. For example, we no longer have ladies’ or men’s captains – just one captain and vice-captain for the club, regardless of gender.”
Hodge admits that these changes did cause some ‘bumps in the road’ along the journey that had to be navigated carefully.
“Getting buy-in from the board, committees and key men and women within the club was crucial,” she added. “These people are key to spreading the word within the membership that the club is one club and focussed on equality for all members.”
Despite the early resistance, Hodge is in no doubt that becoming a Charter signatory is a positive stride for the club.
“I would definitely recommend other clubs consider becoming a signatory,” Hodge added. “For us, the process and action plan provoked strategic thinking within the club. It made us more aware of gender imbalance and encouraged us to review policies and procedures, improving our governance structures.
“In the longer term, I’m confident it will attract more golfers of all genders to regard our club as a friendly, cohesive and equal place to play golf.”
Could your club be next?
WA clubs looking to become signatories of the Women in Golf Charter will work with Golf Australia and GolfWA to develop a tailored action plan that supports the specific needs of each club and its members.
To express your club’s interest in becoming a signatory to the R&A Women in Golf Charter, complete the expression of interest form online or contact GolfWA Chief Executive Gary Thomas on 08 9367 2490.