I have been playing golf since I was a child, my club is basically my second home. The people I grew up playing with are like my family. So many of my favourite memories are of walking down fairways in all different types of English weather. Yet whenever I tell someone I am a golfer it is met with a tone of surprise.
A 19 year old girl isn’t meant to play a sport for old men.
Golf has a stigma that it just can’t seem to shake, a dull image that simply isn’t accurate. There are many young professionals coming through that are helping to brighten the picture, Ricky Fowler and his orange clothing does this in more way than one. Charley Hull and Lydia Ko on the women’s tours should be inspirations to all women and girls not just golfers. The action on the course isn’t too bad either. This summer Justin Rose won gold in the Olympics for Team GB, briefly the country was gripped as he and Henrik Stenson battled it out under the Rio sun for the first Olympic title in over a hundred years. Just weeks before Stenson had put together one of the finest final rounds in Major history to beat Phil Mickelson to Open Championship glory. Golf is still boring, right?
This stigma isn’t lost on those running the game, they are currently working to eliminate this; to help the game reach new audiences, boost participation and secure its future. I volunteered at Splendour this year, held in the grounds of Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire, with the County Golf Partnership. We had a queue of children from 12pm until 7 wanting to have a go at golf. It was incredibly rewarding to share the sport I love with so many potential new players, who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to try the game. Events like this are going on all over the country and they are making a difference but there is still a long way to go. It will be a hard journey but one I’m sure all golfers will agree is a necessary.