Women’s golf took a giant step forward when Steyn City hosted the first Sixters Tournament in April this year. But that was just the beginning: the highly regarded golf club is gearing to do even more to advance female golfers.
A number of golf enthusiasts and proponents of female empowerment gathered for breakfast at Steyn City in June to discuss how to build on the platform created by the Sixters Tournament to challenge the perception of golf as a mainly-male pastime.
This is essential, because Steyn City has long held an interest in female advancement. In fact, the Sixters Tournament was initially conceptualised as a spin-off of the 7% Tribe launched by Tammy Menton, Group Head of Marketing at Steyn City last year. This social movement seeks to increase the representation of women in the workplace and on executive boards.
With the Sixters Tournament, the focus has shifted to consider how women can be more broadly represented on the golf course. Menton says that the golf club has already taken action in this regard, with the introduction of additional time between tee-offs, creating for a more leisurely pace of play. This has helped to alleviate the pressure created by male golfers who feel frustrated by women’s slower rate of play.
Women With Drive
The introduction of the Sixters was another intervention intended to make the game more appealing to women. The tournament was based on a format recently embraced by the European Tour. With fourballs teeing off against each other for a short game of six holes, it’s a much quicker format that allows women to get some time on the greens while still attending to the many other tasks in their day.
Menton explains that one of the reasons Steyn City is eager to introduce more women to golf is because of the potential it holds for networking; a tool which is essential for women to get ahead, whether as entrepreneurs or in the corporate world.
This was one of the reasons behind ‘Women With Drive’, the breakfast hosted to discuss how stakeholders could built on the momentum created by the Sixters Tournament. These discussions followed several angles: in addition to a workshop and think tank session exploring ways to change the perception of golf, attendees also brainstormed avenues for making golf more inclusive and creating more access for women.
A number of exciting ideas emerged from the session. Chief among these was the need to leverage social media and other channels to educate women about golf as an enjoyable pastime. Participants further discussed options that may reduce the expense of playing golf; another often-cited barrier to entry. Finally, the participants turned their attention to how women could make increasing use of golf as a networking tool, suggesting workshops that may teach women (especially young women from disadvantaged backgrounds) the practicalities of networking.
Changing The Perception Of Golf
Steyn City also revealed its plans for the culmination of the Sixters Tournament, which will end with a betterball competition taking place at Steyn City Club in March 2020; the month of International Women’s Day. The better ball format will see women who took part in the inaugural round of the Sixters submitting their six best scores, as registered by the Handicap Network SA, before the end of January 2020. The top 80 players will then be invited to play, with each two-member team playing six holes. The lowest score on each hole will count as the team’s score, and at the end of the round of six, the players will be paired with new partners that match them in ability. This means that all 80 players will play a total of 18 holes.
In the meantime, women golfers are invited to hone their skills at Steyn City’s golf clinics. Taking place on the second last Saturday of the month, from 22 June, the ladies two-hour clinic offers an excellent opportunity for golfers to perfect their swing while the kids are kept busy with a children’s activity programme. Participates are then invited to stay for breakfast or coffee at Steyn City’s XIX (Nineteen) Restaurant with a view to productive networking.
“We’re extremely proud of our work to open the world of golf to new audiences,” Menton states.