Last week saw a record number of people taking part, to discuss "Women in golf – is now the time to broaden the horizon?" To broaden the conversation, guests Carin Hjalmarsson (professional player), Fanny Sunesson (caddy), Heather Mulley (Manager of Enville Golf Club and GCMA 2019 Manager of the Year), Jackie Davidson (Assistant Director, Golf Development, The R&A – Women in Golf Charter), joined host Kari Haug AEIGCA and Giulia Ferroni MEIGCA.
Carin Hjalmarsson’s passion for bringing more women and families into golf shone through. She believes it is important to make golf fun as well as challenging for everyone, whether long or short hitter, male or female, young or old, so everyone feels welcome into the golf community. Also, that the golf course, as well as the atmosphere in and around the clubhouse, have a lot to do with how the game is experienced.
Heather Mulley gave valuable insights from the club management perspective and took away some fresh thinking on the retention and recruitment of new members … along with thoughts on the layout of the courses at Enville.
Fanny Sunesson brought the perspective of her international career and talked about how she started as a caddy, including how she got her first few bags on the Tour and learned the techniques to develop yardage books from fellow caddies.
Kari Haug AEIGCA chaired the Clubhouse and drew out stories about the changing equality in the game. From Carin’s point of girls and boys learning golf side-by-side without gender segregation, to Heather telling us about a recent reversed recruitment situation in which the children in a family joined first, then the Mum, followed by the Dad. As EIGCA’s Equality Advisor, Kari sees the discussions as a positive step towards fulfilling EIGCA’s Women in Golf Charter commitment to recruit and retain more female golf course architects.
Giulia Ferroni MEIGCA, sums up the thoughts of many in the Clubhouse, that to "encourage and retain women’s participation, there needs to be thoughtful golf design that makes the game enjoyable for everyone, rather than penalising high handicaps and short hitters. A course design that does not set up properly for the women’s game makes the sport more difficult and discouraging for women to play."
On the range of views and initiatives discussed, the final word goes to Jackie Davidson: "It is heartening to hear we are all trying to do the best to secure the future for the sport."