R&A urges a culture change to get more women playing golf

The R&A admits a “fundamental shift” in golf’s culture is required to tackle gender imbalance after launching a new inclusive charter.

The Women in Golf Charter aims to increase the number of females playing and working in the game.

The Ladies European Tour, the European Golf Association, and the Professional Golfers’ Association are among the organisations to have already committed to the document, along with the governing bodies of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

“Signatories call on everyone involved in golf to play their part in developing a culture that values women’s involvement in every aspect of the sport, from participating to pursuing a career,” states the charter.

“Our aim is increase the number of women and girls playing and working in golf.

 “To achieve this goal and to enable women to flourish throughout golf, we recognise the need for a fundamental shift in culture.”

“There is a clear ethical need for change and the potential economic benefits of growing the sport through more women and girls playing are substantial.”

The sport has been beset by controversies of gender inequality regarding the issue of female membership at golf clubs.

In 2016, Scottish club Muirfield voted against allowing women to join before the decision was reversed in a second ballot the following year after the R&A opted to remove the club as a host venue for the Open Championship.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers believes involving more women, including in key decision-making roles, is vital to the growth of the sport.

“I see that the future development of our sport depends upon achieving a stepped change in the number of women working in all levels of golf and particularly the senior positions,” said Slumbers, speaking at the charter’s launch event at The Shard in London.

“Clubs have a fundamental role to play in changing this culture.”

He added: “If we can change, there is a huge opportunity for golf, but we have to change and we have to change fast.

“Creating a product that families together want to experience from clubs will be the catalyst to take golf forward for the next 50 years.

“If we don’t change, then we will suffer the consequences. We have to encourage everyone involved in golf to play their part in this change.”

Adoption of the charter requires national federations and other golf bodies to develop new initiatives specifically designed to encourage women.

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