National Golf Month, a nationwide effort to inspire more women to try golf this May and address golf’s gender imbalance, kicks off this weekend.
Free taster sessions exclusively for women are being offered by clubs, centres and pros across the country. New participants search for and book these taster sessions via nationalgolfmonth.com. Participants and clubs can use the hashtag #GirlsGetGolfing throughout the month on social media to share their experiences on course and in ranges across the UK.
Figures from Sport England, show just 14 per cent of players in England are female. Existing players are being asked to bring along family members and new players to their local clubs and centres to try golf.
Brian McFadden, a keen player who achieved global success as a member the band Westlife and is now part of the duo Boyzlife, is backing the campaign. He said, “I think it’s so important to stress that golf can be enjoyed in mixed groups – it’s one of the few activities which men and women can play together. Not only that, you can all club together and enjoy a laugh as you go around the course and hit a few balls. Boyzlife are well and truly behind #GirlsGetGolfing!”
Among the other celebrities to have added their backing to the campaign the BBC’s Dan Walker and Naga Munchetty. Ladies European Tour pros Charley Hull and Mel Reid as spokespeople, whilst broadcasters Henni Zuel (Sky Sports) and Georgie Bingham (TalkSport) have declared their support.
The campaign aims to showcase the social and health benefits from playing the game as a means of promoting the game. Research carried out jointly by the World Golf Foundation and the University of Edinburgh last year found that playing golf made you live longer. Among the findings:
- A total energy expenditure between 531–2467 calories can be achieved over 18 holes and a walking distance between 11,245 and 16,667 steps
- The physical activity benefits associated with golf, such as releases mood-enhancing endorphins, can help reduce the risk of anxiety and depression
- Golf could help women prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as breast cancer, heart attacks, stroke and diabetes
“The This Girl Can campaign has shown that women are willing to get active and try new sports. We’re saying: golf is the new Zumba – its great way of getting fit. This campaign is all about making the game more accessible, to more women and getting them to play more often. If we can boost the number of women who play the sport, then we can also revitalize the playing base of the sport through increased family participation too,” said Doug Poole, Project Director of National Golf Month.
It is hoped that this year’s campaign will address key barriers currently preventing women from starting the game in the first place, as highlighted by Syngenta’s recent research: the cost of taster sessions, easy access and the chance to try the game with their friends.