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
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%).