This is an entertaining film put together by Lady Golfer magazine and supported by the national unions and the PGA. Although there is a #thisgirlgolfs campaign which is gathering momentum on twitter and it has been widely written about in the golf press I feel it is just preaching to the converted.
The official golfing bodies are concerned about getting more women into golf. Some because they think the time is right to redress the gender balance. Others, working in golf, because women are an untapped revenue source that would keep their businesses afloat, if they could be encouraged to play.
But the problem is that golf is still looking inwardly and sharing messages amongst its own community and not reaching out to the wider population. In order for more people to be reached to take up golf films like this need to be put onto television – funding from the golf industry- which is worth 3.5 billion – needs to be invested into television advertising as it is in the United States.
This film might work and find new women golfers. “This girl can” appeared on prime time television to generally persuade women to try sport. The golf industry needs to get behind specific campaigns like “This girl golfs” and pay for the advertising. Golf needs to be doing much more to reach out to the wider world. If you were to sum up in one thought why golf is in decline, it is because many people in the general public think the sport is closed to people like them. They think it belongs to people who are not like them. And sadly, in some places where golf is played they are definitely right about that and that is what needs to be addressed.
The film, while amusing, is I think, unrealistic. Would the girl with tatoos and the Def Leppard waistcoat ever get off the driving range and onto a golf course? Would a golf club accept her as she was? Bashing balls with a golf club on a driving range is not golf. It is just bashing balls if it is not preparation to actually play golf. Bashing balls is a sporting cul de sac.
Henne Zuell going down the escalator of a London tube station with her golf bag over her shoulder, without attracting comment. Now that wouldn’t happen in real life. It made me laugh because it reminded me of my own experience when I was an 18 year old university student.
I had an arrangement with the golf club nearest to my college that I could come in every week to take a lesson and practice. So I took a few clubs out of my locker and walked there. Unfortunately, the house at the top of the road had the builders in, working on the roof. As I walked past several builders downed tools and looked.
“Coo-ee, Nancy Lopez!” they sang “come and play around with us”. I scuttled past very quickly and waited until they went home before I left the club.
I told my mum what had happened and she went to her sewing machine. In no time she had found some material and run up a golf bag just big enough to cover a couple of clubs. So the following week I slung the bag over my shoulder and walked briskly past the builders.
“Coo-ee Nan-cy Lopez!” they began. “Watchya got there, a machine gun?” and they fell about laughing.
The following week, having heard the builders were finishing I very slowly moved past them, not a golf club in sight.
“Awww” said the ringleader to the others “Nancy’s given up golf, probably that gammy leg she’s got”.
When I got into the locker room I was able to take out the 5-iron which I had secreted down my trouser leg and began my practice. I had outwitted them.
The things girls have to do to play sport. I’ve walked with a bit of a limp ever since.