Many golf clubs throughout our region are introducing proactive measures to entice more women into the sport and a package introduced this year by the City of Newcastle has certainly been a success.
The lady captain at the City, Janette Fellows, explained: “I wanted to do something to attract new members. Although we have a very active ladies section, I was keen to attract new members and contribute to maintaining a healthy future for the club.
“Joining a golf club can be a very daunting experience, especially if the new member has no prior links with the club and is a beginner to the game. It is also a considerable financial commitment after only one introductory session.
“I am also aware that many working women would like to play golf but cannot find the time to learn so at the beginning of the season, we held a free taster session where women and girls had the opportunity to try golf with tuition from our club professional Steve McKenna and find out what we had to offer, which included a monthly introductory package from May to October.
“We distributed 1,000 leaflets advertising the Taster Session to local businesses and organisations. Information was displayed around the clubhouse and on the website. I contacted senior women managers in several large organisations asking them to circulate details to their female staff.”
The initial ‘Taster Day’ held at the end of April attracted 40 women and girls and proved to be a very successful day. As a result, 15 signed up for the introductory package which included unlimited use of clubhouse, one group coaching session per month with the club professional, seven holes walk and talk on the course with a lady member, 2 x 7 holes of golf per week, four vouchers per month for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, lady member mentor/point of contact of to discuss any queries/issues and free hire of clubs to get started – all for £30 a month!
As news of the introductory package spread, a further nine ladies signed up, swelling the numbers to 24.
Janette added: “Club professional Steve McKenna held three coaching sessions a month. I attended most of these and when I wasn’t available my vice-captain Anne Gibbons or another committee member went along.
“We have been delighted with our efforts. Some ladies had never hit a golf ball before while others had some lessons but had not followed them up.
“To date, 12 women from the package have joined the club as full members. There were four girls who joined our Junior Academy and one of them Emily McLintock, has just been selected for Junior County coaching.
“And the feedback we have had has been very positive. People have told us they were made to feel welcome, the ‘taster session’ was organised in a professional manner and the monthly fee was attractive.”
Janette’s captaincy has finished and one of her final duties was the organisation of the club’s ladies Pink Day. She said: “We raised £150 from our golf competition and from the ladies of the committee who decided to dress me up in pink items and make a donation for each of the items.
“During my year as ladies’ captain I raised £525 for the Charlie Crowe Scanner Appeal for the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“My captaincy finished last week and I am now looking forward to reducing my handicap as I have had a few busy years.”