by Women & Golf's Kim Wild
Seventy six women attended yesterday’s inaugural SSE Women's Golf Invitational at the beautiful Stoke Park Golf Club, an innovative event that Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf at IMG, described as the brainchild of three of the top women in his team.
The idea was to organise a bespoke business event that provides female executives from all industries a chance to mix golf and business and so muscle in on what’s normally considered male-only invitation days.
Participants from 26 different companies signed up to enjoy a fun morning session, including a 9-hole competition and a beginners’ clinic for those who wanted to experience the game and there was even the chance to try out products at the Harvey Nichols pop-up counter and watch the Golf Trick Shot Boys on the driving range!
The afternoon session, hosted by the BBC’s award winning radio and television presenter, Clare McDonnell, kicked off with Meryl Davies, National Director of The Right to Play Women’s Network, the official charity partner of the event, who spoke about how they believed in using sport and structured play to challenge inequalities to empower women and girls. A raffle on the day raised over £1000 for the charity.
Matthew Syed, author and journalist for The Times and formerly an English No. 1 table tennis player, then gave a stimulating keynote address on how we should learn from our mistakes and ensure we create a resilient growth orientated culture to achieve success in all areas of our lives. A surprise visit from Tour players, Dame Laura Davies and Mel Reid, who had just returned from the Solheim Cup in Germany was, for some of us, the icing on the cake. They spoke candidly about the controversy still raging over the incident on Sunday morning which had undoubtedly had an effect on the final result. The day was wrapped up with a thought-provoking panel discussion on inclusion and diversity within the workplace and life in general.
The event clearly opened participants’ eyes (if they needed to be, of course) to the attraction of playing golf. Whether to enhance the businesses they were in or just for their general well-being, the women who had never played before but enjoyed the day so much they were going to book themselves some lessons definitely got it. Let’s hope this well organised event becomes a regular date on the business woman’s calendar. Watch those fairways men …… !