Let's Keep The Georgia Momentum Going
Just 10 days ago England's Georgia Hall won the Ricoh Women's British Open - a fantastic achievement. I was at Royal Lytham & St Annes - the crowds were great, interestingly a large majority were men, but there were also a significant number of young girls, some trying golf for the first time at the Swing Zone, and there was a real buzz about the place. But what now?
As soon as Georgia Hall tapped in her putt to claim the title there was a collective voice saying, “Huge moment for British women’s golf, this is exactly what we needed.” Very true, but the important question is, “How are we (the media and industry) going to capitalise on Georgia’s victory and keep the momentum going to help the current focus of raising the profile of the female game?
Seeing the faces of youngsters at Lytham & St Annes chasing their heroes for an autograph or a selfie demonstrated the encouraging appetite for girls’ golf and the huge influence that our top female players can have in driving the game’s future. In addition to Georgia, we have a fantastic crop of young players including Charley Hull, Bronte Law, Meghan MacLaren, and Leona and Lisa Maguire, to name but a few, and they are great role models. However, at the moment there are only two events that bring them to the UK - the Scottish Open and the Women’s British Open.
Earlier this year the R&A announced its commitment to women’s golf and is investing £80 million over the next 10 years. It’s evident that we need a greater number of showcase events in the UK & Ireland and with the platforms we now have, surely the timing is perfect for the R&A, with the support of the Ladies European Tour and respective home unions, to consider using part of this investment to develop and underpin, for example, a separate English, Welsh and Irish Open. This would provide an excellent opportunity for all the home nations to promote women’s golf, and if monitored properly, combined with all the other initiatives to get women and girls golfing, these tournaments should grab everyone’s attention.