Preparations begin for the Droitwich Junior Girls Open
Droitwich Golf Club will be staging their 37th Junior Girls Open Competition on Maundy Thursday.
While the more experienced players compete in a full round on the 18-hole course, beginners are also able to enter a nine-hole competition.
The winner then qualifies for the Telegraph Vitality Junior Golf Championship, which could then lead to competing in the final in Portugal.
I spoke to organiser Jo Slade about what it takes to organise a girls golf event…
How long have you been involved with organising the junior girls open?
This is my second year of helping to organise it. It’s always a member from the ladies section who takes the planning on. It was originally set up to help girls come into golf and promote their careers, also to give them a chance to take part in an event that’s just for girls.
How have you been promoting the competition?
We’ve got a good database of girls who have played in the past and I’ve had quite a few entries already.
We have a good relationship with the Worcestershire & Herefordshire Ladies’ County Golf Association and they help to promote it as well. So do other local clubs who have junior girls who want to come and play in an event that is girls only.
The feedback from last year was that this was why they were keen to play in it. There’s a different atmosphere at mixed events, and it’s normally mainly boys who play in them. So I think the girls really like the fact that they have their own open, rather than just tagging onto a boys’ event.
I think it’s just more enjoyable for the girls. It also sets them up for the future as well, because going forward they are more likely to play in ladies’ competitions rather than mixed.
Do you use social media to get the word out?
Yes we do, Facebook and Twitter are very good actually for keeping connected with the girls, as well as some of the previous players, other clubs that support the event, and also the media.
I think you do have to be on social media in some form when you are trying to reach younger girls. I think Twitter is probably better than Facebook as that tends to have more of an older audience. But then when the girls are quite young it is the parents who are driving the entries anyway.
How many participants are you hoping to get?
Well last year we had 54 girls who came from 32 different clubs. I’d like us to get close to that this year.
Do you get lots of beginners trying the nine-hole competition?
We do, I think it’s a really great experience for them to play in a competition where there are girls playing off handicaps of one or two. They also get to be part of the prize giving and the whole atmosphere, which is a really good confidence builder.
Their parents and some of the lady members can go round with them and keep score and offer encouragement. They can play from the blue tees as well so it’s a bit shorter. Beginners don’t have to worry about not being supported and I’d encourage anyone to give it a go.
Some girls start playing in the nine-hole event when they are about eight years old and then keep coming back year on year.
Seven-year-old Olivia Dixon was our youngest competitor last year and she shot 62 on 9 holes from the blue tees. This year she is coming back with a handicap of 53 to play the 9 holes.
— Dixon Golf (@OliviaDixonGolf) February 8, 2018
Last year’s nett winner also played off 31 but is returning this year off 21.8.
It’s really inspiring to see these girls coming back each year with their handicaps getting lower.
Why do you think that not many girls choose to take up golf?
I don’t know! But being involved in this event has got me looking at what’s out there and there are a lot of great things available to girls and a lot of campaigns for getting more girls into golf.
I don’t know the psychology behind why more don’t, maybe it’s just not in people’s spectrum. But I think that the marketing that’s been done by England Golf is really helping to promote it.
Ladies golf is being shown more on TV and in the media and that is helping too. There are a lot of women and girls out there who are promoting golf on social media in different ways and I think we are moving towards it being viewed as a fun and funky thing to do while the old image is dying away.
To enter visit the Droitwich Golf Club website: www.droitwichgolfclub.co.uk
Or for further information contact Jo Slade on 07973 748544 or by emailing [email protected].
For more information about our This Girl Golfs events, click HERE.