Lauren Spray, manager of women and girls at England Golf, says that while she is encouraged by the rising number of female golfers, she believes that more work needs to be done to encourage sustained growth in membership levels at clubs.
According to her, women make up only 13 per cent of the club's membership. Female members, on average, are 64 years old, 10 years older than male members.
Women on Par and Girls Golf Rocks are two programs run by England Golf, the national governing body for amateur golf, that aim to introduce young women (ages five to eighteen) to the game of golf in a positive and encouraging environment.
Spray thinks it's important to encourage women and girls to play golf by dispelling the stereotype that it's a sport only for men.
"Golf was one of the first sports to return back (during the pandemic), and in terms of having that accessibility to the sport, we have had a lot more women join because their lifestyle and habit changes have been impacted," Spray told the PA media.
“We have had a lot more younger women joining the sport and starting to get playing more confidently, getting out onto the golf courses, retaining scores and becoming members of golf clubs as well."
“Even in the last six months we have seen an increase in the number of affiliated members, but also across the sport playing at different levels of participation – whether that is going to a crazy golf facility or a driving range – there are many more women and girls taking part at each level of the game, which is great to see."
“The sport is in quite a healthy position. Obviously we have got a way to go in terms of having more women and girls into membership, but in terms of actually playing the sport it is in a positive place really. We are still continuing to grow and we are going in the right direction.”
Spray has high hopes for the next generation of female golfers, whom she hopes will be motivated to make a difference both on and off the course.
“It’s not necessarily all about just playing the game – there are lots of careers within the sport as well where you can also make a difference and to challenge those misconceptions around the sport,” she said.
“Yes, there are more men that play the sport – but we are trying to make it more and more welcoming for women and girls to play.
“Through our Girls Golf Rocks programme, which targets girls who are beginners to come into the sport and learn in a girls-only coaching programme, they are supported by existing girl golfers as well who act as our peer role models and ambassadors to support them into the sport."
“There are lots of opportunities – it is just about making them aware of them and seeing that this sport is for them too.”