Last month, Golf Australia announced that they plan to focus heavily on what many consider to be golf’s greatest imbalance – female participation.  GA’s “Vision 2025: The future of women and girls in golf” plan (see story on page 6) is aimed to get more women playing this great game, by improving the culture at clubs across Australia.

One of the key points in the plan is to encourage clubs nationally to provide equal access for both genders on all days, and for clubs to take on more female board members and senior executives.

For years, I have been fervently encouraging clubs to eschew many old-fashioned, outdated practices. And whether it’s changing the antiquated attitude about on-course attire, archaic membership models, ridiculous course set-ups, shunning social golfers, ignoring juniors and women, etc., my recommendations have proven to be popular (and overwhelmingly successful) from the many forward-thinking clubs that keep their eyes fully focussed on the future.

For a few closed-minded boards and clubs out there, however, my recommendations often fall on deaf ears. Especially when it comes to women’s golf. Too often, I hear about clubs which continue to give women golfers little regard. It’s an attitude that has, unfortunately, become deeply entrenched at many clubs (often populated by older, male members), to their clear detriment.

Well, it seems that our governing body is stepping it up, and echoing the sentiments of the global golf industry: make women (finally) feel more welcome! In essence, they are reiterating what most of us have believed for years: women should have equal access (and rights) to men (both on the course and off). Weekend tee times, membership privileges, board seats and the lot should all be completely equal. A member is a member is a member.

It will come as no surprise, then, that I wholeheartedly welcome the announcement by Golf Australia, and I applaud their efforts.

It’s time to make our clubhouses, courses and memberships feel less like “men’s clubs” and more like “golf clubs”, where all are welcome (and equal).

So for those of you out there who are aggressively “digging your heels in” and refusing to change, it’s time for you to wake up and pay close attention (although, for many of you, the unfortunate reality is that it may already be too late).

The world is changing. Clubs need to adapt with the times. Otherwise, you will surely be left behind. Trust me on this one.

See you on the (equal opportunity) fairways

Richard

 

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