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A Pledge for Greater Inclusivity6 min read

Aston WardAuthor: Aston Ward

Posted on: 10th Jun 2021

It is a hot topic. It is a key talking point. It is a focal point of many. But it has to be more than just talk. Bringing more women and girls into golf and making the sport more inclusive in general must be a fundamental thread of any golf stakeholder’s activity.

Together, the CPG and its Member Country PGAs are fully committed to working in a variety of ways to achieve this and are proud signatories of The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter that aims to inspire an industry-wide commitment to developing a more inclusive culture within golf.

Furthering inclusivity in golf is important for multiple reasons. From a moral standpoint, it fosters better and more equal opportunity for all, removing the barriers to entry that are often faced by women and girls. From a social perspective, it enables more women and girls to benefit physically, mentally and socially whilst playing golf. And from an economic perspective the maths is simple: more women and girls playing golf = more players playing golf = further revenue and growth.

The CPG is an individual signatory of the Charter, whilst a number of PGAs have committed one step even further by creating their own tailored charters, specific to their markets and their activities, that will inform and direct their strategies and activities in the future.

As part of the CPG’s own charter, and acting as core threads within individual member Country PGA charters, there are five key areas of commitment and action.

Benchmarking and increasing numbers of female PGA Professionals

Understanding where we are right now is as important as understanding where we want to get to – Member Countries have been measuring the demographics of their memberships for a long time and the data shows that on average 7.8% of PGAs’ memberships are female.  This is trending up, but until recently has been very slow.

A number of countries are seeing an increase in female membership following conscious efforts to make the profession a more attractive and relevant career path for women and in highlighting the experiences and work of existing female Members.  The PGA of Nigeria recently saw its first ever female Members join; the PGA of Poland previously had four female members for a number of years but currently has six women in training; the PGA of Ukraine also has four members currently but are committed to doubling this by 2024 as part of their strategic plan and regularly showcase their female Members across social media channels and media activity.

Supporting and promoting programmes for female participation

Member Countries are committing to work with the CPG and various other stakeholders on the delivery / activation and promotion of programmes that encourage female participation in golf in general, as well as those that look to increase the number of women in leadership roles in the sport.

The PGA of Poland has an official cooperation with the national Polish Women’s Golf Association to work with them on initiatives; the PGA of Ukraine and Ukrainian Golf Federation work with the National University of Physical Education Kiev (NUPES) which helps in part to expose golf as a career path to women and girls through an academic route; and the PGA of Belgium and PGA of Holland have each requested information and knowledge directly from their memberships to better understand the activities that are taking place across the countries.

Increasing involvement in workforces and governance of organisations

Highlighting the possibilities for women to not just be a part of workforces, but in fact leaders of golf workforces is vital. As tennis legend, Billie Jean King, put it “You have to see it to be it” showing it is hugely important to foster those who have the desire to be in leadership positions and ensure that their examples are shown and promoted to future leaders.

The CPG and its Member Countries are passionate about identifying and shining a light on these individuals whilst ensuring

The PGA of Belgium has had at least one female Board Member since 2012 and PGA Professional, Sophie Leten, was the first ever President of their PGA from 2017-19; The PGA of Holland have always had at least one female Board Member since 1995 and are seeking additional representatives; the PGA of Ukraine aim to have at least one Board Member by 2024 but already have three women on the Board of their sister organisation, the Ukrainian Golf Federation, with 9 women on various committees as well.

Sophie Leten, 2017-2019 PGA of Belgium President

Educational activities sharing good practice and fostering environments

Education is key in encouraging more women and girls to play golf, to create welcoming and enjoyable environments and in ensuring good practice is shared. The CPG and its Member Countries are addressing this in various ways through the addition of related content within education programmes to the creation of specific Continuous Professional Development [CPD] events and activities.

The PGA of Poland have partnered with for a pilot of the popular programme and proven approach to women’s coaching that is backed by research to help educate their Members and create new opportunities to bring women and girls in to the sport; the PGA of Belgium have already hosted webinars on coaching women and girls and, similar to the PGA of Holland, have made conscious efforts to create communications campaigns around this topic for Members to engage with and learn from.

Enhancing playing opportunities for female Members

For many years PGA events have often had mixed components allowing male and female PGA Professionals to compete against each other on an equal footing.  The CPG’s own events are played with the commonly-agreed standards of a course of 10-14% shorter length for female PGA Professionals to ensure they can compete for the same prize fund as their male counterparts, with most Member Countries following suit.

For example the PGA of Sweden and PGA of Nigeria, like many, operate open golf events allowing male and female Members to compete alongside each other, often with events including amateur golfers as well helping to build their experience; the PGA of Belgium operate both mixed events as well as those specifically for female Members to compete in; the PGA of Holland again allow male and female members to compete together and in the last few years PGA Professional, Marjan de Boer, won the Senior PGA Championship, its first ever female winner.

Whilst these five broad areas show significant efforts and steady progress there is clear understanding and commitment from across the CPG’s network of 42 Member Country PGAs that more should and will be done to create better playing, learning and career opportunities for women and girls.