Tea with a twist, coffee with the clubs and Champagne with a sand iron – Newcastle Golf Club’s Chip & Sip Program is proving a winner with women taking up the game in numbers not seen in years.
During 2016 and 2017, the club saw an influx of 95 new members, but only five were women. An alarming figure which pushed the club to break down gender barriers and create an environment welcoming to everyone.
To increase female membership, the “Chip & Sip” program was introduced in 2018 as a creative solution to encourage more women to take up golf, socialize, and enjoy the game in a relaxed and friendly setting.
Now six years down the track, a total of 42 women have become members after completing the six-month program.
A weekly one-hour training session where participants receive comprehensive instruction tailored for beginners in golf, the participants enjoy complimentary tea, coffee, or champagne. The “sip” element of the program holds particular significance, as data suggests that the social aspect of golf plays a pivotal role in attracting female members.
Jennifer Sherwood is just one of 81 women who have taken part in the program, describing it as a remarkable stepping stone for her golf journey.
“The Chip & Sip program gave me the confidence to play social and competitive golf. It featured all aspects of the game in an interesting and easy-to-understand program. The facilitators were very helpful and respectful towards all of us beginners, giving us the confidence to ask questions enabling us to understand the mechanics of our swings and impacting the ball,” she said.
“I would not have taken up the game of golf without doing this. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of such a great opportunity to learn the skills of golf.”
The program’s success is underscored by testimonials such as Deryn Antoncich’s, who attested that she would not have embraced golf if it weren’t for the program.
“I had never played golf, nor do I have any family or friends that play, so the Chip and Sip was a great way for me to get into the game.”
“As someone who has not played before, I found the lessons very helpful. To be honest, if it were not for this program, I doubt very much I would be playing golf today, something I have wanted to do for a long time,” she said.
These sentiments are echoed by Narelle McClelland, who found the program perfectly tailored to her needs as a novice.
“The program was perfect for me as a beginner to introduce the basic skills and knowledge required to play golf. As an ongoing program over a few months, it was great to ensure consistency and commitment every week to learn the basics of golf with practical participation,” said Narelle McClelland.
“I was really happy to join Newcastle Golf Club at the conclusion of the program to ensure I could put into practice the skills that I had learnt and build my golf confidence,” she added.
Tamara Johansen, who has been a member of Newcastle Golf Club for 11 years, has been involved with Chip & Sip for the past three years. She initiates discussions with participants before the program’s commencement, sharing her passion for golf and aiding in group organization for practice and play sessions.
“I personally want to show them that the game is fulfilling, that the environment is beautiful, that the friendships formed are lasting, that the game is unique in that it allows players of different abilities to play together for many years and that opportunities are there if you want to play socially or competitively at many levels,” she said.