8 Ways To Get More Girls Into Golf

Katie Dawkins discusses how the game of golf can attract more girls and why girl power is on the rise

A group of young girl golfers
(Image credit: Katie Dawkins)

Getting girls into this glorious game has often been a challenge, not because girls don’t want to play golf, but because clubs in the past have been so male dominated. Opportunities to have a go at golf were not as prevalent and overall the sport has been a hard egg to crack for women.

So how has golf started to make changes so that girls begin to own the range and really get a head start at grassroots level? It’s a more even playing field when it come to grassroots golf. Maybe even leaning in favour of the girls bench, with girls-only classes readily available and thriving. 

England Golf has really encouraged girls into golf with schemes like Girls Golf Rocks (opens in new tab), where clubs sign up and run girls-only sessions, which has helped to get over 6,500 girls into the sport. The UK is, however, lagging behind, as the beacon for encouraging young girls into golf shines brightly across the pond. 

The LPGA and USGA scheme has a 30-year history and Girls Golf in the USA has empowered a total of more than 500,000 girls through golf. Proof that sticking to a formula works. Their magic formula is the 5 Es: Empower, Engage, Energise, Exercise and Enrich.

I do believe that countries like the USA that offer a wide range of golf scholarships have the edge, as girls really do have a goal to aspire to, which is a stepping stone onto the tours. Compared with the traditional golf club set up in the UK, American golf clubs are more like country clubs. They encourage a whole family experience in an approachable environment, and it’s not all about the golf course. As more clubs in the UK improve their attitude towards inclusivity, we are certain to see a rise in girls golf. It’s all about breaking down barriers, we are just a bit late to the party.

So how do we encourage girls to play golf? In my experience running junior sections at clubs, the eight main principles are… 

PGA pro Katie Dawkins giving a group lesson to junior girls and boys

(Image credit: Katie Dawkins)

1. Keep it fun

Obvious, right? It’s important not to bog girls down with technique, but involve other sports to help them learn key moves. This will add energy into sessions and get them moving. Making golf feel as exciting and energetic as possible. Golfing birthday parties are something I’ve run for years and they are a great way to make golf a lot of fun. 

2. Family

A family at the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship Regional Qualifier at The Bear's Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Involve the whole family by running family friendly events with golf being just a small element. By involving the entire family means that girls are more likely to continue as the family will encourage it as a group activity. Family lessons are a great way for everyone to have a go, spend quality time and learn together.

3. Girls rule

Girls-only sessions and meet-ups will really empower and encourage a bond to form. Just girls participating in specific sessions means that more will be willing to give it a go. Their friends are likely to see the appeal and also join in. Give the girls ownership, let them design the club logo or team kit, make it their game. Build them their space and their community/gang.

4. Keep it sociable

Three female junior golfers

(Image credit: Katie Dawkins)

Girls love to socialise. Once they have built friendships with existing golfing members/staff and each other they will feel more comfortable in taking up golf. If the club is welcoming and warm then they’ll keep them. The last thing any junior golfer needs is to be told off or pulled up aggressively on something. 

5. Motivation

Keep them coming back for more. Chart and award progress using schemes such as the Golf Foundation's Junior Golf Passport (opens in new tab) - ignite a passion in them. 

6. Inspiration

PGA pro Katie Dawkins teaching female junior golfers

(Image credit: Katie Dawkins)

A role model goes a long way when it comes to lighting a spark for golf within a young girl. Whether she’s a PGA professional running classes or a volunteer, a club should try and recruit a woman who these girls will want to emulate. Girls Golf Rocks has an experienced junior player who acts as a mentor for every club who participates in the scheme. 

“If you can’t see her, you can’t be her”... wise words indeed. The stateside programme has a role model for each of the Es, including Lexi Thompson. Many families don’t see women playing golf on television as it isn’t visible unless you have Sky TV or head onto YouTube. Clubs can help, for example, when the Solheim Cup is on, by running fun afternoons with face paint, hair braiding in the colours of the teams and making it a party afternoon for the girls. Fun mini-skills challenges, but also plenty of non-golfing activity.

7. Invite them

Clubs should contact all schools, all scouting groups (girls can be beavers, cubs etc. as well as rainbows and brownies). Offer girls' tuition as a part of their sports/badge options. These groups are really enthusiastic when it comes to learning new skills. 

8. Give them a future

Maci Williams, Katelyn Davis and Adrielle Miller pose with their medals after the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Champions Golf Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Help girls to see how many pathways in life and work there are in golf to give them a reason for giving the sport a go. Make them part of the club by offering free or drastically reduced membership. They need to see where golf could take them even at junior level. Competitions such as the The Telegraph Junior Golf Championships and the Faldo Series are good examples. There is also the Drive, Chip and Putt initiative for boys and girls aged between seven and 15.

Be mindful that retaining girls as they get older isn’t an easy task. One in four girls give up the sport solely due to their period and the fear of being caught out on the course. So make it as easy as possible for them and ensure someone can support them and offer information as well as guidance and sanitary products. Role models are key to creating a supportive and safe environment. 

Having a group of girls who not only become proficient players but also become the best of friends is one of the most nourishing things about being a golf coach. Growing the girls' game should be at the forefront of any club's junior agenda. These young ladies are your future members and future stars of the tours, and deserve a huge amount of support and encouragement. Sow the seeds and the game will grow. 

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based at the stunning Hamptworth Golf Club on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.