It's nice to be nice: Why new members shouldn't be seen as rivals

We must stop viewing new members with suspicion and start welcoming them as friends, writes Harriet Shephard

Anyone who grew up in the 90s had the ‘Girl Power’ mantra drilled into them from an early age thanks to the awesome power of Posh, Scary, Ginger, Baby and Sporty.

The legacy of the Spice Girls is still prominent today. Girl Power t-shirts might be slightly less fashionable, but the idea that strong, independent women can empower each other is still a big movement.

While the downside of today’s social-media obsessed world is that we are more preoccupied with our appearance than ever before, the upside is that we love promoting non-competitive and supportive female friendships.

After all, your friends are the ultimate source of power. Where would we be without them? We all need an unshakable Girl Squad.

Taylor Swift probably has the most enviable squad. Made up of the world’s most brilliant athletes, singers, writers and supermodels, who doesn’t long to be a part of that friendship group?

friend

Nothing encourages, inspires and supports like your own group of BFFs. They are your chosen family after all.

This has never been more true than where golf is concerned. The game would still be fun, but not quite as special without the new people it introduces you to and the friendships it encourages. Going out on the course wouldn’t be quite as good without your pals by your side.

But on occasion it seems like some golf club members have missed the news that it’s a good thing to be nice to each other now. For some reason being friendly and welcoming towards each other isn’t always the default setting.

Just like every jealous millennial is desperate to share old images of Megan from Love Island and prove that she ‘wasn’t that pretty before she had surgery’, there will be a very small minority of female golfers who are threatened and unaccepting of new ladies at their club.

Whether they are suspicious of these women out of fear they might be better at golf or more athletic than they are, or just taking up attention that should be theirs, it all comes down to jealously and insecurity.

Sky Sports Golf presenter Henni Goya touched on this, and partly inspired this piece, when I spoke to her back in January.

She said: “Maybe golf is just so far behind the times that members haven’t even seen that women do actually like to help other women now, that this is a movement in media.

“That’s definitely something we need to embrace, until then women will just continue to attack each other. We all need to work together to empower each other.”

Nobody likes the stereotypes that golf is snobby and elitist. But the frosty attitudes of some members may be supporting this theory.

Welcoming women into golf is really what the Women in Golf charter and the newly launched Women And Girls Golf Week (30th July – 5th August) are all about.

Whether you want to make a career in golf, try it for the very first time or progress to competing in country championships, it’s a lot easier to do if you have people helping and encouraging you.

Being welcoming and inclusive is also the ethos behind our This Girl Golfs campaign. Many women come along to these events alone and leave with a new group of friends.

The same should happen when someone visits a golf club for the first time by themselves, but sadly, I’m willing to bet that this isn’t always the case.

Women’s golf can grow rapidly and it will do so very soon. We all just need to be willing to share our hobby with those outside of our established friendship circle.

It’s important to remember that every new member could be a new best friend who might make your life just a little bit better. Of course most of us know this, it’s just a very small minority who don’t seem to.

We should be sharing stories of why we love the game and making #WhyIGolf one of the biggest trends worldwide. But this should be every day of the year, not just for Women and Girls Golf Week.

It’s time to stop any suspicion towards new faces in our clubs, and start showing each other the respect and support we deserve.

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