At a time when we’re trying to encourage more women and girls to take up golf, the Jazzy Golfer is one lady that’s determined to try and make a difference.
Few of us would be confident swinging in front of a small crowd after five months, let alone thousands of people. Jasmine, better known as the Jazzy Golfer, appears to be taking it all in her stride. Despite only taking up the game earlier this year, she has already amassed nearly 20,000 followers on her social media channels, who are watching every move as she makes her fledgling steps in the game.
An all-round sportswoman, who works full-time in the City, we caught up with Jazzy to find out more:
How did you get into the game?
On a sunny Tuesday afternoon whilst on a family holiday in Portugal, fed up of driving a golf buggy, I decided to pick up a golf club and give the ‘boring sport’ of golf a go. Not only did I think it was boring, but having played a variety of sports at a competitive level since a very young age, I thought, ‘How hard could golf be?’
Shanking it nicely into the water a few seconds later, I realised…'How wrong was I?' And that’s where it all began...
As a beginner, what are your thoughts on how easy it is for women to get into golf?
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. I've seen first-hand why golf can be perceived as an exclusive sport and how daunting the golf club setting can be.
There have been instances where I’ve gone to play at golf clubs and I’ve not seen one woman, I’ve had sexist and derogatory remarks made from men at golf clubs and on social media and I’ve even been to a women’s golfing event where my jazzy trousers didn’t go down very well and I received snide comments and frosty looks (from other women!)
What do you think needs to change for the women's game to grow?
The culture of sexism remains quite apparent in many clubs where females are still restricted to what times they can play and peak or ‘preferred’ tee times are reserved for men. Rules like this need to be eradicated completely so that women feel as much a part of a golf club as men. It’s really not rocket science!
Most of my experiences have been really positive but it seems that perceptions about the game still need to change, and golf clubs could still do more to make women feel welcome.
Is social media an important tool in helping to encourage younger women into golf?
Absolutely. It is where most people now spend a lot of time and is one of the best ways to catch attention. It's been essential for my quest to get more women into golf, and it's exciting to see that there are a growing group of women taking to social media to promote the game.
There also some fantastic initiatives such as the #ThisGirlGolfs Campaign, ‘GetintoGolf’ supported by England Golf and Sky Sports, and FORE Women that are supporting those who are either interested in picking up a club for the first time, revisiting the sport after a break, or just wanting to meet other women to have a round and socialise with.
You've been playing less than a year. Tell us a bit more about learning to play the game and the challenges that come with it?
I faced the same issues that all new joiners to this game face ... golf is hard.
I decided that I wasn't going to make improvements on my own, and when I was approached by Andy Agnoli (TopGolf Head Pro), it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. After one introductory lesson I knew it was a good match and we now work together on a regular basis, helping me to get the foundation I need to become a better golfer. Despite having a long commute on public transport from my job in the city to TopGolf Chigwell (with my clubs, which is not an easy task!) I am proud to say my golf has come a long way since April. I now have my first official handicap and played in my first ever pro–am!
What's next for the Jazzy Golfer?
Over the next few months I have a number of exciting opportunities lined up. I'm now working with several golf clubs, institutions, charities and golf pros on how to get more women and girls into golf.
By seeking to help clubs and institutions change their image, whilst also working with local institutions (such as secondary schools and golfing associations) to broaden the appeal of the game, I am hoping that I can help to encourage more young people and women to take up the game that I have fallen in love with. Only 14% of golf members in the UK are female and, whilst this represents a fantastic growth opportunity for clubs up and down the country, it also means that we have a long way to go before golf clubs become representative of the wider population.
Lead Image - Kelly Saddleton - @motherofgolfers
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