LOV­ING GOLF

LOVE Golf is a part of New Zealand Golf's strat­egy to change Kiwi's per­cep­tions of golf through­out the coun­try and get more peo­ple in­volved in the sport. Un­der the um­brella of this na­tion­wide pro­gramme is the brand, She Loves Golf. The add-on cam­paign is

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS LAURA HOSKIN

Laura Hoskin has been out of the coun­try for the last few years and re­turns to dis­cover the Love Golf ini­tia­tive.

It was Ly­dia Ko’s dom­i­nance on the world stage that had the ini­tial im­pact on par­tic­i­pa­tion rates in girl’s golf, as their mem­ber­ship numbers were the only ones to in­crease in 2014. Ko is now an am­bas­sador for the She Loves Golf cam­paign along­side other well know Kiwi icons such as, TV pre­sen­ter Toni Street and pub­lic fig­ure Jamie Curry from Jamie’s World.

In 2017 there were over 100+ fe­male spe­cific golf events hosted by She Loves Golf around the coun­try. One be­ing at the St Clair Golf Club in Dunedin. The month­long pro­gramme in­cluded free golf lessons with equip­ment pro­vided ev­ery Sun­day in Novem­ber. The last day played host to a mini four-hole tour­na­ment which was fol­lowed by af­ter­noon tea and bub­bles in the club­house. The club had a tremen­dous turn out in which 80% of the 50 par­tic­i­pants signed up as new mem­bers.

She Loves Golf helps pro­mote what we don’t see on the news or while watch­ing the girls play on TV. Golf is such a so­cial sport and it’s easy to for­get the fun and en­ter­tain­ing side it of­fers. It is that so­cial el­e­ment that golf of­fers which sep­a­rates it from any other sport. A golfer ar­rives to the tee, shakes hands with three [some­times] com­plete strangers and by the time the round is over you have a drinks date in the club­house and three new con­tacts in your phone list (or Instagram if you’re my age!) (Ed: Or Face­book if you’re my age!).

Sport New Zealand high­lighted that 5% of fe­male adults played golf over the last 12 months be­hind pop­u­lar na­tion­wide sports such as netball (8%) and ten­nis (7%). The mis­sion is to keep pro­mot­ing and grow­ing the game in ways that tar­get women’s life­styles and make it easy to step out on the course to play a few holes with friends, fam­ily or by your­self.

“Each year, we try to im­prove on the last to get more women in­ter­ested and play­ing.” Said par­tic­i­pa­tion and in­sights man­ager for New Zealand Golf, Thiem Nguyen.

As a 22-year-old girl golfer look­ing in from the out­side of She Loves Golf, I come away hav­ing writ­ten this ar­ti­cle with a re­freshed view point and per­cep­tion of women’s golf in New Zealand. I grew up be­ing the only girl in my re­gion’s ju­nior golf pro­gramme and missed out on one of the most re­ward­ing and best parts of golf…so­cial­iz­ing and mak­ing friends. I wouldn’t even go in­side for a drink af­ter a round be­cause be­ing the only girl was daunt­ing at a young age! But thanks to She Loves Golf and the val­ues it stands for by en­cour­ag­ing the so­cial as­pect of the sport we carry our con­ver­sa­tions and laughs from the golf course to the ta­ble over a shared bowl of hot chips. No mat­ter our ages there is al­ways some­thing to share and laugh about, whether it be­ing our golf game or a funny story from work.

With over 75 clubs par­tic­i­pat­ing in the She Loves Golf pro­gramme, the fu­ture and per­cep­tion of golf is al­ready grow­ing and chang­ing in golf clubs all around New Zealand. The next steps are to help en­cour­age more women to play for health and well­be­ing ben­e­fits… an af­ter­noon on the golf course with my girl­friends sounds like an invit­ing way to get healthy!

Sport New Zealand high­lighted that 5% of fe­male adults played golf over the last 12 months be­hind pop­u­lar na­tion­wide sports such as netball (8%) and ten­nis (7%).

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