THE second staging of Women and Girls’ Golf Week proved another social media success across Great Britain and Ireland, as well as raising engagement and participation at club level, organisers have claimed.
The recent awareness week, timed to coincide with the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn, generated more than 12 million Twitter impressions through its #WhyIGolf hashtag to surpass the 2018 campaign.
Women and Girls’ Golf Week was again delivered by England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf and The Irish Ladies Golf Union, designed to unite the industry and promote and grow women and girls’ golf.
The R&A, the European Tour, the Ladies European Tour, the Professional Golfers’ Association and the Golf Foundation were also among the bodies supporting the activity.
The campaign told stories of women and girls involved in different areas of the sport, celebrating their successes and challenging perceptions.
Online content featured a theme for each day, including careers, volunteers, health, participation and performance.
More than 800 people contributed and were involved from across Great Britain and Ireland, as well as further afield, including Australia, Canada, the USA and Europe, most notably Germany and the Netherlands.
Campaign video content generated in excess of 274,000 views, while the most popular day was that dedicated to health and wellbeing.
The campaign was highlighted on Sky Sports during the AIG Women’s British Open, while other notable supporters included broadcasters Sarah Stirk and Naga Munchetty, and leading Tour professionals such as Georgia Hall, Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew and LPGA star Lexi Thompson.
Nick Pink, chief executive at England Golf, said: “Women and Girls’ Golf Week again proved a great success online, as we all look to inspire more females into the sport at all levels.
“From an England perspective, we saw a rise in the number of clubs engaged in the week – both from a supporting standpoint and those who ran specific women and girls’ activity during the week.”
Clubs across the Home Nations were heavily involved, promoting participation activities they are running for women and girls.
At Exeter Golf and Country Club, a series of #WhyIGolf social media video clips raised the profile, while a dedicated #WhyIGolf event was led by the club’s up-and-coming junior girl members.
Placing an emphasis on fun in a non-competitive and relaxed format, it saw 26 per cent of participants take out an academy membership.
Exeter’s golf director Darren Everett, who oversees a 160-strong female membership, said: “The young girls were brilliant and act almost like ambassadors for us.
“We have a slightly ageing membership so for the girls to help encourage more women to enjoy golf here – perhaps to meet new friends or achieve a release from work – is great.
“We work hard at promoting female and family golf and our #WhyIGolf event was another example.”
Meantime, at Stafford’s Ingestre Park Golf Club, 36 girls have been involved in the club’s Girls Golf Rocks programme over the last two years. They recently held a fun-filled girls camp together with Whittington Heath Golf Club.
Women and Girls’ Golf Week helped the club to place renewed focus on their activity, achieving strong early interest for their forthcoming ‘We Love Golf’ taster sessions for women and girls in conjunction with The PGA.
Ingestre Park’s assistant professional Ben Smith said: “We have been pushing women and girls’ golf strongly and Women and Girls’ Golf Week sat nicely for us to promote what we have coming up.”
At Woburn, the Ladies European Tour provided behind-the-scenes guided tours to groups of girls from local clubs and counties to highlight the wide range of career opportunities in golf, while an all-female team of PGA professionals provided free lessons.
Dullatur Golf Club, in Scotland, celebrated the week with a popular ‘Putting and Prosecco’ night for women, while Borders club Peebles – whose junior membership boasts a third of girls – maintained their ClubGolf coaching activity for girls with a fun session.
The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter was launched last year with the aim of inspiring an industry-wide commitment to a more inclusive culture, enabling women and girls to flourish and reach their potential at all levels of the sport.
This year’s Women and Girls’ Golf Week also built on the first-ever Golf and Health Week held in April, which again saw various golfing bodies working collaboratively to highlight the sport’s health benefits and reach an audience of more than 20 million via social media.
Women and Girls’ Golf Week also drew attention to the 2019 Solheim Cup – the match between the top women professionals of Europe and the USA, which takes place at Gleneagles next week.