Our First Visionary of the Year winner for 2023 has been chosen…
Congratulations to the team at Brisbane Golf Club for their holistic and well-planned approach to ensure an equal opportunity for all. The club has won a $500 voucher and is now in the running to win up to $10,000 worth of products from the latest Callaway REVA product range, designed specifically for women. Our overall Visionary of the Year will be voted upon and announced towards the end of the year.
Here’s their story…
The Brisbane Golf Club places great importance on ensuring that women and girls have ample opportunity to engage with and be part of the club with the development of women and girls a key focus in the club’s strategic plan.
“Having women and girls as one of the main pillars of work in our strategic plan, shows how serious and committed we are to this work,” said Geoff Kuehner, CEO of Brisbane Golf Club.
“It not only makes good business sense, but engaging more women and girls within the club makes good cultural sense too.”
The club has a long history of advancing women’s golf, however this headway really ignited during May 2018 when the club introduced gender neutral competition.
Club leaders initially held concerns “as change can bring uncertainty and unease” but after communicating this upcoming change through the club’s usual communications they were pleasantly surprised at the acceptance from its membership.
“Like our main committee who identified this need, I think everyone understood and accepted that if you pay the same membership fee as a fellow member, you should be entitled to the same playing rights,” Kuehner said.
The change not only benefitted the existing membership, but also women searching for a new place to play or beginner golfers eager to hit the course.
“This has opened up options for new women to join the club,” said Asha Hargraves, Women’s and Junior Development Manager.
“We have new women graduating from our beginner programs on a continuous basis, many who work, and it is advantageous for us to offer these women relevant playing times.”
A combination of relevant membership and playing opportunities, plus a seamless and well supported development pathway have been catalysts to a high membership uptake.
That is a 72 percent conversion rate from beginner clinics to membership, plus an increase in 15-year-old to 18-year-old membership from two to 11 in 2023.
The club boasts a long-standing and thriving women’s development program.
Recognising the importance of this program to encourage more to play, the club invested in a staff member – Hargraves – to manage the program.
Which has been two-fold with 70 new members joining since 2013.
Joe Janison, Director of Golf, is pleased with the strategy.
“Having someone with the time and expertise to focus on growing, enhancing and expanding our beginner pathway for women and juniors has been priceless,” he said.
“Our programs are always at capacity, plus we have a very high transition through to membership. All of this is because Asha is dedicated to planning programs well in advance, actively recruiting, coaching and most importantly creating a social and welcoming atmosphere that brings women and girls back.”
Hargreaves frequently communicates to the club’s member engagement committee. This group of members work closely with CEO Kuehner to ensure a harmonious culture within the club.
Committee members work with the coaching team to ensure a seamless transition from beginner clinics to relevant membership and everything in between, including a mentoring program.
Kuehner is proud of what the club has achieved, some additional items being:
Embracing a multiday club championship where women can compete on a weekday or weekend. This opens access to play, especially for working women and girls studying.
Agreement of the women’s and men’s captain as co-captains and office-bearers of the clubs main committee; and
Adopting a mentoring program to support more women into leadership positions.
The club also recently became Queensland’s first club to sign the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter and is thankful to those within the club driving this work, such as Deb Kember, Vice-President.
Despite this success and momentum, Kuehner is mindful to “never become complacent” and to “keep challenging yourself”.
“There is still more we can be doing,” he said.
“We need to keep learning from other clubs and accessing the many resources Golf Australia have to support gender equality work at golf clubs.”
Learn more about Visionary of the Year, including what other clubs are doing in the gender equality space here Vision 2025 Resources | Golf Australia
Submit a Visionary of the Year nomination here Visionary of the Year Nomination Form 2023 Survey (surveymonkey.com)
Learn more about Women in Golf Charter, including case studies here Women in Golf Charter | Golf Australia