Using 100% volunteer efforts, we piloted a girls’ golf program on behalf of Golf NT as part of the existing MyGolf junior introductory program and in an Australian first, registered more girls than boys, more than doubling the national average female uptake of the program.
We were one of only 14 national facilities selected to run this new initiative as part of the existing MyGolf program for children aged 5–12. The program emphasises learning in teams and shared fun, which makes golf more attractive and fun for girls.
We used the MyGolf girls-specific videos, flyers and posters, but by far the biggest motivator were our female role models and mentors.
Our club’s Katelyn Rika currently has the Northern Territory’s number one-ranked junior female who is also the number one-ranked woman in the territory.
Katelyn—who has also undertaken the Community Instructor Accreditation Program—worked with her younger sisters Naomi and Hannah to show young girls just how much fun golf can be.
Katelyn is one of six of our club’s qualified instructors, along with another elite junior. At the end of 2017 we set up the Gove Golfie Juniors Facebook account and this has been an effective means of sharing our story locally and nationally.
Golf Australia also took up our recommendations to modify existing MyGolf marketing material to more broadly present multicultural Australia.
We were selected for the pilot program because despite experiencing barriers to consistent junior participation levels, we have a strong history of cultivating junior participation.
This stems from our long investment in developing junior women’s golf and junior golf more generally.
In 2011 we were the first Northern Territory facility to successfully run Golf Australia’s pathway program, MyGolf for both girls and boys. We did so, despite having no resident golf coach and relying on volunteers since the nearest major town is a 10-hour, 4WD trip away from our remote Arnhem Land location.
We continued to run the MyGolf program even after Gove had a 50% population downturn following closure of the town’s major employer, the Rio Tinto Bauxite Refinery. We did so because we saw this as a providing a foundation for future growth.
We measure our program through:
Our 2018 participation rates remained consistent for terms 1 and 2, with girls making up 54% of total MyGolf registrations at our club. This increased to 59% in Term 3. At a national level, girls make up only 25% of MyGolf participants.
Key to our success is that we've embraced the national pathway programs and our track record proves that this pathway works and is successful when facilitators engage with all stakeholders to grow the game of golf.
Anecdotal feedback from parents has been very positive.
Katelyn’s efforts in working on the MyGolf program have also attracted considerable interest and she featured on Golf Australia’s “Inside the Ropes” radio podcast in April.