Here Come The Girls is an innovative programme Alastair Spink has created and taught at Fynn Valley GC since 2011. This has resulted in a very successful uptake of the sport by younger women, reversing the severe national decline in England. To date over 300 women have been taught under the scheme. These ideas and concepts are the future of the game and it would be great to see this rolled out across the country.
Here Come The Girls is a project to encourage more women to play golf. 90% of the students are still playing and have many have gone on to become club members. Eight hours of group coaching is supported by free, unlimited use of the par 3 course to practice. Participants keep coaching journals about everything about their golfing experience, from interactions with people at the club, how welcome they are made to feel to their thoughts about their learning. Daily interaction with the coach and other participants by email takes place. There is a focus away from technical coaching. It isn’t directive it is conversational and skills are introduced when the sport requires them to learn technique. The focus is on “have a go”. They are taken out onto the course from the first lesson and allowed to work out their own way. Participants have found this empowering as some have previously had negative experiences leafing to confusion when instructed by men. The coach offers support, not instruction and the group give feedback. This builds success and confidence in ability. Being taught in a non-judgmental environment, and being allowed to dress in jeans and trainers, takes the fear factor of being in a golf club away. Alastair likes the idea that “women dont want to dress up to relax”. However, Alastair stressed that in order for this to work there must be buy in from the coach, club and members to support the new participants.
Over the past four years the uptake of women who go on to become club members has been low, showing that the time and finance involved is a factor, they are much more inclined to become nomadic golfers. The programme is interesting in that it aims to empower women golfers in what can be an intimidating male oriented environment. My own thoughts on this are found in “Golf. A game designed by men for just men?” at the beginning of this blog.