Golf had never touched my life until I became married to Steve Elford. But now that it has, I have become a passionate supporter of the game and an advocate for women’s golf in particular. Why? Quite apart from being great fun, golf has excellent benefits for both physical and mental health. There are currently some exceptional initiatives to promote golf to wider audiences, like the BGIA’s National Golf Month, and I’m excited to see where we can take the game.
It’s a great tribute to what Lynx has achieved in five short years to be invited onto a Board which is represented by the leading lights of our industry, and a personal honour to become the first female member of the BGIA Executive Board.
I, and we as Lynx, fully support the BGIA’s desire to provide passionate support to our industry, and I intend to participate fully and actively in all areas of the BGIA’s promotion of golf, increasing participation in this magnificent game, and challenging some of the issues which have perhaps held the growth of our sport back.
It’s vital to promote how terrific golf is, but I also think it’s about looking at the barriers people perceive which might be discouraging them from playing the game. The old stereotypes still persist to some extent – that it’s stuffy, exclusive, only for the affluent – to name just a few. But perhaps the most enduring and damaging stereotype is that the world of golf is sexist and women aren’t welcome.
There are a lot of positive initiatives already that are really working like the SSE Women’s Invitational which Lynx support and in which I participate as a panellist, and Women’s Golf day. At Lynx we know that women’s golf is a potential growth area, but also that it’s a hard nut to crack. To get more women involved we need to offer them the best in terms of equipment and facilities. Many women play purely for recreation and many more have found it useful in terms of networking. There is now absolutely no room for sexism in golf and the vast majority of the golfing community positively embrace the contribution of women.
There is a definite business advantage to us being part of a larger body. The golf industry has much in common with other sporting industries, particularly as we enter Brexit negotiations. We all share concerns about the free movement of workers, trade tariffs and syncing UK standards and regulations with our European neighbours. The FSPA has a much more powerful voice than we would have alone so I am grateful for that. It’s important the sports industry’s voice is heard.
I’d like to see the BGIA continue to grow and develop its work representing all the leading names in the golf industry. I’ll be working hard to help champion its excellent initiatives to get more people enjoying our great game and its health benefits. It’s an exciting time for us all.