The Australian golf industry has collaborated to create a new Vision 2025 Global Action Plan to tackle the ongoing decline of female engagement in the sport.
A restructure of the Vision 2025 steering group now includes chief executives from all governing bodies of Australian golf, all of whom are unified in creating a more inclusive future for women and girls at all levels of the sport.
During the next year, the Australian golf industry will collaboratively address 16 priorities spread across the four key pillars of Vision 2025 – culture and leadership, grass roots, high performance and coaching along with marketing and positioning.
Priority has been given to addressing low numbers of women on club boards; building the capacity of clubs and facilities to deliver needs-driven participation opportunities for girls and women; increasing women’s involvement in participation delivery and in high performance coaching ranks; and showcasing examples of club excellence in leading gender equality change in golf.
Golf Australia chief executive James Sutherland said all bodies had shown great enthusiasm for a project he described as “absolutely paramount” for the future of Australian golf.
“Our ability to collaborate on such a crucial body of work is critical. Everybody has shown a great resolve to redress the historic gender imbalance in Australian golf and we look forward to driving the changes the industry needs,” Sutherland said.
Agents for change
PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman said it was incumbent on all involved in the industry to be active agents for change.
“Aside from the fact that it’s just the right thing to do for all women and girls who have ever shown interest in golf, adopting the Global Action Plan makes sense for the sport’s future. Driving up engagement at all levels stands to benefit everyone from grass-roots juniors to elite professional level and throughout all Australian clubs,” Kirkman said.
WPGA Tour chief executive Karen Lunn said being part of the group that framed the Global Action Plan had given her a “greater understanding of the challenges all those in the industry face with regards to gender equality and equity”.
“The success of Vision 2025 is dependent on the entire industry embracing the challenge and driving change in attitudes and behaviours. Any one of our organisations cannot change culture alone, so the Global Action Plan is the framework which will enable us to do this collaboratively,” Lunn said.
Golf Management Australia chief executive Paul Vardy said the Global Action Plan was “the most comprehensive way the golf industry can achieve positive outcomes for women and girls in golf”.
“By sharing initiatives under the plan, golf bodies have identified new ways to collaborate and new ideas to pursue within the Vision 2025 framework,” Vardy said.
Stuart Fraser and Gary Thomas, chief executives of Golf NSW and Golf WA respectively, said it had been positive for all golfers to see genuine collaboration among the governing bodies and asked all at grass-roots level to embrace the change.
“Golf NSW encourages all golf clubs to develop strategies to attract more women to the sport and break down any barriers that inhibit greater female engagement with golf,” Fraser said.
Thomas said there were “exciting times ahead”.
“While the Global Action Plan will have a significant amount of objectives, actions and ideas for clubs and facilities, it is important that you take on actions that you can realistically achieve,” Thomas said.