Fifty Australian golf clubs – including three in WA – have become signatories to the R&A Women in Golf Charter since it launched Down Under in late 2021.
The Charter, which is endorsed by GolfWA and dovetails with our ongoing strategic goal of raising participation rates in all forms of golf, outlines a set of principles that signatories commit to implementing in order 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.
The Australian milestone of 50 signatories was reached in May and is seen as a significant achievement by Golf Australia’s Women and Girls Operation Manager, Megan Carr.
“It’s really pleasing to hit that mark, but even more pleasing to us is the actual change within clubs that the Charter is driving,” said Carr.
“The Charter has helped raise awareness of the need for greater gender equity in golf and sparked important conversations about how the sport can become more inclusive and welcoming for women.”
Amongst the Australian signatories, a range of positive changes have been implemented to club operations, including: –
- Dozens of clubs changing their women’s club championships from a midweek-only offering to a multiday structure that allows working women and girls at school/university the opportunity to compete
- Increased number of women on boards and succession planning strategies aimed at increasing leadership opportunities for women
- New gender-neutral constitutions and by-laws
- Equal prizes for men and women
- Changing access on traditional men’s days to ensure women can complete 18 holes of golf aligned to their membership offering
- Increased number of women undertaking Community Instructor training to support and nurture women and girls into the game
How your club could benefit
So far, four WA clubs – Gosnells, Lakelands, Busselton and Sun City – have signed the Charter, with several others in varying stages of completing the process.
For clubs uncertain whether the Charter is the right step for them, becoming a signatory can have several benefits, including: –
- Increased participation: By signing the Women in Golf Charter, golf clubs commit to creating more opportunities for women and girls to play and engage with the sport. This can lead to increased participation and a more diverse membership base
- Improved retention: The Charter also encourages signatories to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for women and girls. This can help improve retention rates, as women and girls who feel comfortable and supported in the golfing community are more likely to continue playing
- Positive reputations: Signing the Women in Golf Charter can demonstrate a commitment to gender equality and diversity, which can enhance the reputation of golf clubs. This, in turn, can attract new members and sponsors who value these principles
- Access to resources and support: The R&A provides signatories with access to resources and support to help them implement the principles of the Charter. This includes guidance on how to create more welcoming and inclusive environments, as well as examples of best practices from other signatories
- Contribution to a global movement: By becoming a signatory to the Women in Golf Charter, golf clubs can join a global movement towards gender equality and inclusivity in golf. This can help to create a sense of community and shared purpose
Gary Thomas, GolfWA Chief Executive, encouraged all clubs to give due consideration to becoming signatories. “There’s general recognition that we can all do more to encourage women and girls to get into golf and there’s a lot of good work going on across the industry to help achieve that, as evidenced by recent participation data that shows the demand for golf amongst women and girls is strong and growing,” he said.
“One of the barriers has been the perception of golf as being a sport that is less welcoming for women and girls. Becoming a signatory of the Charter is a clear way for clubs and facilities to show that they are inclusive and welcoming places for women and girls to learn to play golf.”
Take the next step
WA clubs looking to become signatories 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.
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