A sense of belonging is a human need and when we feel a sense of connection it improves our motivation, health and happiness. Have you ever had a conversation expressing your pure delight on how things are going in your life, allowing your face to light up when you are given the opportunity to talk about your passion, the thing in life that makes you feel connected and welcome ?
Mine is golf !
Through golf and social activities associated with golf I have had the opportunity to meet some extraordinary women who have already done so much for Womens Golf in the last four decades. However, I think we can do more to help, being existing members of a golf club and connected to our communities we have the resources to gather information and to share with the wider community. “It only takes one friend to make a difference.”
I believe we can be progressive as members of our own community and invite that friend who is in need of direction and belonging. The girlfriend on the other end of your conversation asking you all the questions about your new found lifestyle. The one who is listening intently and on the inside wishing she was you.
Don’t just give her a fly away comment “you should do it, you should start golf”. Be inviting and encourage her to take the next step, help her find an appropriate location and clinic. Not only are you making a difference in someone else’s life you are enriching your own. A Community such as ours looks after itself and its members, no one is holding each others hand it just happens naturally. Women are drawn together through a like minded interest, and conversations evolve leading to the power of connectedness.
Over the past 18 months I’ve heard from many women and supporters of Fairway Birdies and my mission to make a difference. Lee Wills has been a driving force over many years in the golf industry, a strong advocate for Women’s Golf. She has witnessed a lot of change through generations but one thing that has stayed the same is the strength of belonging to a community. Lee has played an integral part in Womens Golf being elected the first President, at Woodlands Golf Club, who happened to be a woman, to serving as Vice President of Golf Victoria. Lee is now an ambassador for Golf Victoria.
I love Lee’s message and have shared it down below.
She says “I am often asked, how do we encourage more women to play golf?’
Those of us who have played for many years, know the joy of playing, the opportunity to challenge ourselves, to ‘think our way around the golf course’, and then to enjoy the company of the people with whom we’ve played, so making new friends. We are the lucky ones!
I wonder how many have stopped to think how daunting it can be for an older woman to take up golf for the first time? Society today, and its many demands made on women, has meant that women are beginning to think about playing golf much later – after their families have grown up, and in some cases having left the family home. Then there are those unmarked women who have been forging ahead with their careers, who realise the value of changing track and learning to play golf, and perhaps taking part in corporate days and guest day!
There is a lesson to learn for those of us who have been members of golf clubs for a long time. We’ve forgotten how nerve-wracking it can be to walk into a golf club for the first time – I have so many stories told to me by some of these women. They will say, ‘I don’t want to make a fool of myself’, the procedures and routines are confusing and ‘I’m not sure that I’m ready for this’?
This is where we ‘old hands’ can make a difference. It is essential that we take the initiative and introduce ourselves to a new person, and follow it up by introducing them to other members, not sitting in a group and collectively watching someone enter the clubhouse and all turning to see what will happen next.
Our handicapping system is a great leveller. It really doesn’t matter whether you play off single figures or 45, we each have different challenges. With the exception of playing stroke, our game allows us to pick up our ball when we’ve had our allotted strokes and to keep moving. Therefore it is important that new players are absorbed into our groups. This way they will learn the routine/etiquette of our game and so be in a position to welcome the next wave of new players into our midst no matter what age or ability.
We have many wonderful ambassadors for golf, women who instinctively approach a new member and ensure her comfort, and these women are members of public and private golf clubs with very good reputations for looking after new players. Is your club one of these?
No matter where you play and no matter what standard you play at, this year you can make a difference and invite a friend to join our community and enrich her life for the better.