By tailoring specifically to their needs, Royal Perth Golf Club has established a reputation in the west for providing an encouraging environment for junior girls.
When you’re starting from nothing, anything is worth a shot.
Stuck in a cycle shared by a great number of golf clubs, Royal Perth Golf Club was desperately searching for a way in which to expand their junior base, particularly junior girls.
Recognising that girls as young as six didn’t respond well to mixed groups of juniors dominated by boisterous boys who simply wanted to swing driver as hard as they could, Head Professional Brad Logan worked with Ladies Captain Kerry Hardwick and Vice-Captain Lyn Cook on formulating a girl-friendly program.
‘Pretty in Pink’ was launched 11 years ago and set Royal Perth on a path to becoming regarded as the club in Perth where girls interested in golf could go to develop their games.
“We thought there were a lot of girls who might have found playing with the boys intimidating so we set up a coaching program after school on a Tuesday during the school terms,” Logan explains.
“We went from having nothing to having 30 or so girls on a Tuesday. We had to start breaking them into smaller groups and have extra people down there helping me teach them.
“We had ladies get their Working with Children permit and then their Community Golf Instructor qualiﬁcation just so they could come down and help these girls get started in the game.
“It’s continued to grow and grow and grow and because of the structure around it now with the MyGolf program it’s got to the point where I employ a PGA Professional as a junior coordinator just to look after the juniors.”
Through Golf Australia’s Vision 2025 mandate to increase the level of inﬂuence of women in golf at every level, delivering a ‘girls only’ MyGolf program became a key deliverable.
As a result, the PGA and Golf Australia, through the MyGolf program launched the MyGolf Girls in July of 2018 as a way of creating a welcoming environment for girls showing an interest in golf.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some parents prefer single sex options for their daughters playing sport and other sports throughout the country have seen signiﬁcant increases in female participation by offering female only participation opportunities.
Since 1 July 2018, 95 MyGolf facilities have promoted MyGolf Girls only programs with girls making up 24 per cent of total MyGolf participants in the past ﬁnancial year.
Of the 4,665 girls engaged in MyGolf between 2018 and 2019, 375 participated in girls-only programs, a number that should continue to grow as word spreads.
“We were like most clubs in that we had no real system in place, we dealt with what was in front of us,” says Logan, with Royal Perth offering girls-only coaching on Tuesdays, boys-only coaching on Thursdays and a mixed group on Fridays for older, more advanced juniors.
“Once we had one or two girls taking part they brought their friends along so it grew in that way.
“We’ve now got two girls pennant teams where seven years ago we didn’t have any and there is an awareness around Perth that we do now have a strong junior girls program.
“There might be a girl with a low handicap playing elsewhere but if they don’t have the numbers to form a pennant team she might decide to come across to Royal Perth.
“Not every girl at Royal Perth has come through the Pretty in Pink program but by starting it 11 years ago we have created an environment where girls know that they are welcome here.”