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First female captain at Cranleigh

Heather Kitson has been named as the first female club captain in Cranleigh Golf & Country Club’s 32-year history earlier this year. The 64-year-old retired teacher is the first woman to become club captain and has revealed she received overwhelming support from her male counterparts.

While some golf clubs continue to live in the past in terms of the traditional positions of power, the forward-thinking club has become a standard-bearer for gender equality. “In this day and age, it should not be about one sex having more power than the other one. Women can do as much for the club as the men. I think we need to all work together to find the best way to spend our leisure time,” she commented.

“Basically, we were struggling for a club captain. The previous captain Peter Symonds asked upwards of 25 people who didn’t want to do it, so I offered to do it. I felt the club was stagnating and we had to address the problem of not having a willing captain. But I’ve had very little opposition and indeed I’ve had the most surprising amount of support from the men. The feeling I get is that they are pleased someone is addressing the issues in terms of getting their ideas heard.

“I just wanted to inject a bit of enthusiasm. I would like to see a much more equal gender balance in the way the club is governed so we are working on a few ideas to change the way we find our captain each year. But why shouldn’t the club captain be a woman?

“I’d like to think we as a club are leading the way for some others and we have to get away from the attitude of ‘we’ve always done it this way so we can’t change’. I think we are doing that here. Our motto for the coming year is ‘Transparent, inclusive and accountable’. You hear of some clubs where they can be quite stuck in their ways. That’s not the case here.”