As a key cornerstone to its legacy of hosting The 2022 Ryder Cup, Spain aims to use the enhanced profile of the event to help increase the country’s female participation.
The Royal Spanish Golf Federation (RFEG) intends to change the way golf is perceived in order to inspire the next generation of players and boost development and participation levels.
As part of its 12-year ‘Ryder Cup Plus’ strategy, the RFEG will continue to invest in the game, to address some of the specific aspects raised by both female and disabled golfers, such as flexible playing options, access to facilities and coaching opportunities.
Jorge Sagardoy, General Secretary of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation (RFEG), said: “We are committed to increasing golf participation levels among female and disabled golfers.
“The Ryder Cup’s universal appeal provides a huge opportunity for the country to raise interest and awareness of the game and to encourage more people to enjoy golf.
“Already, over 30% of our members are women, which is a much higher proportion than other leading Spanish sports such as football or basketball. If we are successful in our bid, we aim to use the ‘2022 effect’ to help increase female membership levels to more than 40%.
“Research has shown that, as young female players progress through the age groups, golf can feel intimidating and inaccessible, but the RFEG aims to counter this by introducing a girls-only competition for 6 – 16 year olds. The concept has already been successfully piloted in Madrid and as part of our ‘Ryder Cup Plus’ strategy, all regional golf federations will implement the scheme over the coming years.”
In addition, Spain’s ‘Ryder Cup Plus’ plan will also see increased investment aimed at attracting more disabled golfers to take up the game should the 2022 Match come to Catalunya. This would complement the already established Spanish Adaptive Championships, which attracted 29 competitors from across the country in 2015 and continues to see participation levels increase each year.
Jorge continues: “The Adaptive Golf Committee in Spain has already successfully set up 33 schools across the country for disabled individuals. These schools run specialised golf tuition courses, which are led by qualified professionals and help to support learning and progress.
“We will continue to invest in schools and learning facilities to help encourage more people to play and enjoy this great game.”
Ryder Cup Europe will announce the successful host nation in Winter 2015.