The R&A launched their ‘Women In Golf Charter’ today at The Shard in London, a set of guidelines with the aim of encouraging more females to participate and work in golf.
The sport and the R&A are seriously playing catch up on female golf and you can tell.
This Girl Golfs, Golf Girls Rocks, Drive Women’s Golf, We Love Golf are all initiatives focused around female golf and even England Golf’s Get Into Golf campaign seems marketed towards and is largely full of women-only ‘Women On Par’ sessions.
And there is nothing wrong with this. It’s fantastic to target a demographic that has previously been ignored, victimised and underserved.
The R&A today unveiled a new Women in Golf Charter as part of the organisation’s drive to increase the number of women and girls participating in golf and to encourage more opportunities for women to work within the golf industry.— The R&A (@RandA) May 29, 2018
But are golf’s major players focussing too tightly on one issue, missing greater problems the game has and not casting their net wide enough?
For anyone who has followed us or read stuff for a while you’ll get bored of this one but the average age of golfers has gone up dramatically in a very short time.
The Financial Times reported work by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS INC) stated that ‘in the UK, the average age of golfers is up from 41 in 2009 to 45, while that of ‘avid golfers’, those who play at least once a week, is up from 48 to 63.’
It’s both boring and shocking in the same way and has lots of implications us golfers see up and down the country every day.
Despite these stats I have not seen one initiative or barely a nod at increasing the interest of 16-40 year old golfers, instead all we get are excuses that people have less time or less money.
We don’t get initiatives exciting or talking to younger people.
Female initiatives are great PR. Every sport and major organisation are hammering it at the moment and that’s fine but does it get results?
Get younger people into golf clubs and they are by their nature more open and inclusive in their view of the world, they get more involved in the golf clubs and the problems we have with lack of people from certain races, classes or sexes are helped by this.
Let the average golfer keep getting older and these issues go nowhere or get worse.
These age trends are being played out in politics and societal opinion across the world in 2018 in almost perfect correlation. It’s fairly obvious.
These female golf initiatives are great but in my humble opinion the age demographic is a bigger issue and one that has the ability to transform golf up and down the country.
Speak to young people.
Tell them golf doesn’t have to be expensive. Doesn’t have to be time consuming. It can be a laugh.
Tell them you don’t have to wear silly clothes or be looked down upon. You can be welcomed no matter what background you come from, or the colour of your face.
Tell them about the young superstar golfers. About the handicap system or the positive impacts golf has on mental health. Tell them about Rudimental playing at a golf tournament.
Tell them all these things and young people will change golf more than you can imagine.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.