When professional golf players are considered, names such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jack Nicklaus come to mind, but what about female golfers?
The progress of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has exceeded all expectations, but does this transfer to participation in girls taking up the sport?
Although there has been a push to increase the number of girls taking up golf, structures and programmes need to be sustainable for the true success of these programmes to be realised and achieved. Popular and widely used strategies include free taster sessions with qualified female members.
The time requirements of golf can often have a negative impact on new comers to the sport, as spending 3-4 hours on a course can seem long and daunting. A strategy that is proving positive from England Golf is offering a shorter form of the sport to try to entice girls and women to the sport.
Golf is a sport that involves mainly fine motor skills shown in the swing of the club and being precise enough to hit the ball. This requires practice and training to be able to hit the ball 200 yards like the professionals.
Using different forms of golf to gain interest can also work to increase participation, these include pitch and putt and crazy golf. These popular forms of the game should be used to spark an interest in the sport, as the motor skills required are less specific and require fewer hours of training while maintaining the core principles of golf.
Statistics from 2012 published by England Golf show that only 16% of golf members are female. However, golf clubs have reported an increase of 40% in female membership between 2010 and 2012 and half of this increase is from junior girl members.
The numbers of young people involved in regular golf are not as high they could be if it was included in the national curriculum. Golf is a sport that has connotations with higher social statuses in society with some golf clubs conducting interviews for new members to see if they are suitable for the club.
Women’s golf, both professionally and amateur, has seen an increase in participation and interest over recent years. However, work is still to be done to try to increase that 16% of golf members who are women up to a similar number to their male counterparts.