A bit of Inspiration in making the game more accessible for Central Coast women courtesy of an innovative program at Shelly Beach Golf Club is seeing participation soar.
The Club’s aptly-named beginners program, Tyros (from Latin – meaning new recruit), has already seen 44 participants participate in the multi-week program, with an impressive 20 choosing to become playing members.
“Most of the participants are women,” Jason Hart, Shelly Beach Golf Club’s Director of Golf, said. “But as time went on, I couldn’t see why wee would only promote to just them.”
The initial program, conducted over four weeks, saw participants spending about 1 1/2 hours on several key features of the sport, including:
- The Basics – grip, stance, posture, alignment, body rotation and weight shift.
- Chipping and Pitching.
- Bunkers and Putting.
- Full Swing and a recap of week one, as well as adding a session with the driver and fairways.
Beyond the initial four-week block, players venture out onto the course to test their newly acquired skills.
“The program was going well, but I found many of the women would say they enjoyed the group lessons but weren’t confident to head out onto the course,” Hart explained.
“With the help of Shelly Beach Life Member Betty Bourne, I organised for Betty to start walking with the new golfers on the course to teach them etiquette.”
As with all learners, Golf can be challenging initially, but Betty would ask them to pick up their ball, move to the next tee and start again.
“The players soon understood the importance of keeping up with the group in front,” Hart smiled.
After being a part of the Tyro program for 12 months, some were ready to become full-playing members, but others weren’t, so Hart added a second year to the program calling it ‘Tyro Extension’.
“Most players were developing their swings and hitting skills, but their short game needed further improvement to post a score to the standard to gain a handicap.
“So, in their second year, I concieved a coaching program focusing on the short game.”
The conversion rate from Tyro to a Full Playing member at SBGC is over 50%, an impressive number by any measure. The Club’s Wednesday Women’s competition now attracts over 100 competitors weekly.
“This is a great result compared with the times when only 50 or 60 women would play,” Hart added. “the average age of our women golfers is now much lower too.”
The popular program costs $405 for the first year and $535 for the second, which includes their membership, lessons and the Club’s joining fee.
Hart noted that many of the women who participated in the program were at the stage of life where there was less commitment to children and looking to find an activity that is theirs.
“They have the time and can afford to play golf.”
Hart said although the program focused on weekday participants, weekend players were catered for also.
“I have also included weekend classes for those who still work, although the program and green fee structure is aimed at the Tyros playing midweek rather than weekends.
“I believe the success of the Tyros program is due to the new golfers meeting other new golfers who are also learning.
“Many women find the golf course intimidating, so learning with others at a similar standard makes the journey more comfortable.
“They form a bond and become supportive of each other, and by learning and playing together, they encourage each other to continue the journey even when some aren’t playing their best.”