Golf took on an entirely different form courtesy of a group of coaches from women’s coaching initiative, love.golf, at their annual conference in St. Pancras, London.
In line with the initiative’s research-based methodology of creating an engaging and unintimidating introduction to golf, the love.golf coaches were tasked in one seminar to go out and make golf appeal to a younger female audience. Energised by the challenge, the coaches quickly responded by recruiting a number of office workers from nearby businesses and taking them onto the streets of London for a memorable, if unconventional, golfing experience.
Equipped only with an improvised golf ball made from paper and a broom deputising as a golf club, the young office workers each took turns to hit the ball around the streets, with much laughter and friendly jeering as they competed with their friends and colleagues.
Commenting on the outing, one of the young women, Laura Shaw, said: “It was very much a leap into the unknown – we went outside feeling golf was really not for us, especially with all of its rules. But the coaches were really friendly and energetic; they just let us hit the ball and play and have fun. It turned out to be a brilliant way to spend our lunch hour and gave us a totally different view of golf!”
Ollie Rush, love.golf coach at Haverhill Golf Club in Suffolk, was one of the coaches to come up with the idea: “The challenge forced us to think outside the box and create a fun experience which might change a younger audience’s perception of the game.
“Looking back, our ability to do that, with little or no time to think, does give us a shot of confidence to go back to our respective venues and be creative in how we inspire more women to give golf a try.”
The challenge was just one session from the two-day conference where love.golf coaches benefitted from the opportunity to share ideas and best practice with one another, as well as socialise together away from the golf course.
Reflecting on this year’s conference, which saw more attendees than ever, including a number of new coaches and individuals looking to become part of the coaching workforce, love.golf Founder and Head Coach, Alastair Spink, said: “Our community of coaches are doing an incredible job of introducing more women into the game all around the country.
“Bringing them together for the conference provides an opportunity to learn from one another, and hopefully to go back to their venue with new ideas and energy to make a meaningful impact in driving up female participation numbers,” added Alastair.
Also in attendance at the conference was Head of Education for the PGA of Spain, José Perez, who is spearheading a number of love.golf pilots in Spain over the coming weeks and months.
The love.golf coaches conference forms part of the initiative’s commitment to the R&A Women in Golf Charter, launched earlier this year. As part of its commitments, love.golf pledges to support and inspire its community of coaches and develop engaging experiences designed specifically for women.
Love.golf is currently welcoming PGA Professionals who would like to take on the love.golf initiative at their venue. To register, please visit love.golf/coach-registration
With methods based upon industry-leading research by Syngenta and academic study by Alastair Spink, love.golf removes many of the perceived barriers for women entering the sport.
The programme, which is supported by the PGAs of Europe as a Golf Development Partner, has seen significantly improved retention rates and has gained wide recognition for successfully challenging traditional perceptions and rewriting the standard model of women’s coaching.
For more information about love.golf, visit love.golf