Forward-Thinking Littlestone Is One Of the First Golf Clubs To Support England Golf’s Women In Golf Charter
Littlestone (www.littlestonegolfclub.org.uk) has again proved itself to be one of the most forward-thinking golf clubs in England following the announcement that it has become one of the first clubs to support England Golf’s Women in Golf Charter.
Littlestone, a member of the Golf in Kent Partnership (www.golfinkent.co.uk), has already bucked the trend of most member-owned clubs and modernised the running of the club by dispensing with the role of secretary/general manager and bringing in a number of departmental heads and introducing a structure more akin to those operating in the commercial world.
At the same time, The Board at Littlestone has been discussing over a long period of time about how to increase the number of women involved in the business and to increase the female membership.
“So when we learned of the Women in Golf Charter, Littlestone was very keen to sign up to it as a way of rubber stamping the club’s commitment to enhancing the role and participation of women in the club,“ commented Sarah Saunders, Club Membership & Marketing Manager.
“We currently have over 150 women members although only around 60 play regularly whilst our girls’ membership is still quite low with just six girls although we have over 40 participating in our free school lessons on a weekly basis. This is something we hope to build on in the coming years.”
In order to attract more females into the game, Littlestone has been running outreach training programmes into local schools and ‘Girls Golf Rocks’ at the club which have seen an increase in coaching with girls of primary age specifically.
Although this has not led to massive influx into the Junior membership, it has seen a phenomenal increase in participation – Littlestone’s main goal – and most importantly, it has introduced the sport to those who may never have the opportunity to try golf otherwise.
Littlestone also runs weekly coaching and coffee mornings specifically for female non-golfers and improvers. This has the benefit of creating a more relaxed, social ambience around the game and introduces new participants to each other at the same time.
The current Lady Captain, Sheila Stirling, has been appointed as the first Women in Golf Champion and following her captaincy, she is keen to continue working with the club’s management to ensure its commitments to the Charter are met.
“At Littlestone, the Board is keen to ensure both sexes are represented equally and joining the Women in Golf Charter is seen as part of this process. We also hope that Littlestone will be a beacon for equality across the region and encourage other clubs to follow our example,” concludes Saunders.
Littlestone also recently became the first club in Kent to achieve SafeGolf club accreditation from England Golf following its commitment to promoting a safe and positive environment for all those participating, working and volunteering in the sport of golf.
Littlestone has two 18-hole golf links courses, The Warren and The Championship Links which will host The R&A Junior Open in July 2020.
Founded in 1888, this top 100 links course has seen its share of prestigious tournaments and welcomed the great and the good into its membership with Lord Balfour, Lord Asquith and Noel Coward among its most famous alumni. The club has hosted Open Final Qualifying on five occasions and is both excited and proud to have been chosen to host The R&A Junior Open next year.
The club has grown from strength to strength in recent years and, with a full membership, is one of a handful with an increasingly long waiting list.
Littlestone is a member of the Golf in Kent Partnership between Visit Kent and some of the county’s premier golf courses and accommodation providers that promotes the Garden of England as a golfer’s paradise, thanks to the excellence of its courses and off-course attractions.