Golf Ireland is encouraging all its clubs across Ireland to engage with a new Women in Golf Charter, launched by The R&A and signed up to at an early stage by the National Governing Body.
The intention is to inspire an industry-wide commitment to developing a more inclusive culture within golf.
The initiative will enable more women and girls to flourish and maximise their potential at all levels of the sport.
Adoption of the Charter requires national federations, golf clubs and other golf bodies to build and develop initiatives which will focus on encouraging more women and girls to play and stay within the sport as members of clubs, while also empowering women to enjoy successful careers working within the golf industry.
Golf Ireland, the new single governing body for golf, became a signatory of the Charter in anticipation of its establishment and is now calling for all golf clubs to engage with the initiative.
“We are committed to transforming golf into a sport that is fully inclusive for women and girls at all levels,” said Golf Ireland CEO Mark Kennelly.
“Promoting equality is a key priority for Golf Ireland. Golf Ireland will lead the sport by setting examples and standards in equality and inclusivity and ensuring these standards are the benchmark for the sport right down to club level.”
There is growing awareness across the world that gender equality is the cornerstone of inclusive growth in all areas of society.
Within golf, this was highlighted through the Syngenta market research that outlined there were 36.9 million latent female golfers worldwide which, if re-engaged in the sport, would be worth an estimated $35 billion to the golf industry.
For a sport that has been suffering from falls in participation rates for the past decade, such realisations are key to the future of the game, however how the sport will become more appealing to modern society will require a great deal of cultural change in all aspects, with a particular focus on governance.
Golf Ireland has already made a number of key commitments on equality.
The President of Golf Ireland will rotate annually between male and female.
The nominations committee for the board of Golf Ireland will have equal gender representation (excluding the Independent Chair).
Golf Ireland’s Board and Regional Executive Committees will have a minimum of 30 per cent representation of both genders.
In addition, Golf Ireland are committed to various objectives in the areas of Culture, Leadership, Participation and Visibility a part of the Level Par programme supported by Sport Ireland and Sport NI.
As a first step, an investment of €30,000 has been made to assist clubs who are running the Level Par programme specifically aiming to recruit and retain junior girls.
It is a very positive and proactive approach which will back up media coverage which is providing ever more coverage of the Women’s PGA Tour.
Ireland has a wealth of young talent coming through, led by Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadows.