The Charter, developed to create a more inclusive culture for women and girls in golf, is backed by the R&A and the Australian golf industry.
“Given all the things we have been doing for women and girls, this is a natural progression for our club,” said Phoebe Torrance, Women’s Golf and Development Manager at the club.
The club been so proactive in the gender equality space that many baseline requirements Golf Australia has set to become a signatory had already been completed, including board diversity.
Metropolitan’s governance structures are progressive and strong with three women currently holding board positions at the club. These nominations are from within the membership, and all successfully elected by the membership.
“Three women is the tipping point to drive cultural change on a board,” said Megan Carr, Women and Girls Operations Manager at Golf Australia.
“So, we are asking clubs to be brave and set targets to have their boards made up of no more than 60% of any one gender.”
With great direction from the leadership team, subsequent changes have been introduced to pursue the club’s inclusive approach.
Multiday format for club championships
Metropolitan has been playing club championships in a multiday format for several years, enabling those who are working, studying at university or school to participate equally.
Going a step further, in more recent years the club has introduced a prestigious medal named ‘The Metropolitan Medal’ which allows for all genders to have the choice to play off any tee desired on the day (red, green, white etc.). This is in addition to the women’s monthly medal which can be contested midweek or the weekend.
“These multiday events and multigender formats are key requirements for equal opportunity,” Torrance said.
Carr advocates for more clubs to adopt a multiday championship approach.
“Historically women’s club championships have only been offered mid-week,” she said. “This highlights a significant issue when trying to attract women and girls who are working and or are at school.
“The multiday championship model, such as what Metropolitan have implemented, offers the opportunity to be inclusive for all women. We are seeing a significant uptake of this model from clubs across Australia.”
Creating a pathway for new women golfers
The club has additionally done some terrific work welcoming new beginners through a seamless pathway.
This consists of a three-tier pathway of starting from Get Into Golf Women beginner clinics, a step-on-course program, followed by a flagship women’s tuition program that incorporates a mentoring system.
More than 100 women are involved in the pathway programs at any one time, with a high transition rate from the programs through to membership, the club is proud of its achievements to date.
“Our women members have been key to this success,” Torrance said.
“The support and connection they are providing new women to the club has been the key ingredient to achieving great retention rates.”
In a private setting where access to membership can be challenging for a woman not connected within the community, mentors are often the support system needed to facilitate membership opportunities into a private club that may not otherwise exist without our programs.
A new strategic plan
Looking ahead, the club’s current strategic plan is coming to an end and plans are already underway on the next strategic plan.
Which is quite timely, as working through the process of the Women in Golf Charter has enabled the club to develop an action plan for the forthcoming year – part of this being to tell the story of the club and women’s golf better.
“It’s such an exciting time in golf,” Torrance said.
“With the general interest of women and girls golf growing, if we can help facilitate this by sharing our stories and endorsing our actions of intent to the wider community, I believe this will have a great impact on the sport of golf.
“We will be using the Charter to help drive our values along with embedding a suite of goals, objectives, and targets to continue work on an ever-inclusive culture.”