2 BRITISH COLUMBIA GOLF | MAY 2019 Western Europe’s tallest building is known as “The Shard.” The view from The Shard overlooks the city and is twice as high as any other building in London. Symbolically, if you are the Royal & Ancient and have a worldwide view of golf, it’s the perfect place to make an announcement. On May 29, 2018, Martin Slumbers, CEO of the R&A, used the venue to officially unveil the R&A Women in Golf Charter. Representatives of golf bodies around the world attended. Golf Canada was present and was one of the first signatories pledging support for the Charter. The Women in Golf Charter aims to inspire an industry-wide commitment to developing a more inclusive culture within golf around the world and to enable more women and girls to flourish and maximize their potential at all levels of the sport. Adoption of the Charter will also require national federations and other golf bodies to build on current initiatives and develop new projects that will focus on encouraging more women and girls to play golf and stay within the sport as members of clubs, while also empowering women to enjoy successful careers working within the golf industry. The Women in Golf Charter specifically aims to: • Strengthen the focus on gender balance and provide a united position for the golf industry • Commit national federations and organizations to support measures targeted at increasing participation of women, girls and families in golf • Call on signatories to take positive action to support the recruitment, retention and progression of women working at all levels of the sport • Set individual targets for national associations for participation and membership and annual reporting of progress • Develop an inclusive environment for women and girls within golf On March 31, 2019, newly elected British Columbia Golf President Michelle Collens, along with the rest of the Board, affixed their names to a document outlining our commitment and undertakings in support of the Charter. Since 2004, British Columbia Golf has tracked annual participation rates in golf. There are peaks and valleys, but overall more British Columbians play golf today than ever before. Predictably, participation dips during economic difficulties (such as 2008, 2011-2013) but rebound when times improve. Participation also dips in periods of poor weather or air quality, as evidenced in 2017 when spring never arrived and smoke from wildfires made the summer uncomfortable. Participation is tracked by gender and frequency of play. In 2017 and 2018, participation by varied ethnic Women in Golf Charter FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA GOLF KRIS JONASSON Chief Executive Officer British Columbia Golf kris@britishcolumbiagolf.org groups and seniors was also studied. The numbers are revealing and show golf, in absolute numbers, is growing. In terms of female participation, numbers fluctuated from 148,000 in 2015 to 311,000 in 2016, 141,000 in 2017 before rebounding again to 319,000 in 2018. Overall male and female participation totaled 679,000 in 2016, 529,000 in 2017, and 858,000 in 2018. In 2017, participation by women and seniors dropped dramatically which is consistent with what would be expected when air quality is poor. Bottom line: Research confirms women in British Columbia have a strong interest in golf. The opportunity exists to change that interest into a passion. Research confirms the majority of women fall primarily into two categories, infrequent (1-2 rounds) and casual (3-9 rounds). To increase passion and move the needle, golf must become more female and family friendly. British Columbia Golf can only provide leadership. We are making a commitment to do so. We have a dedicated Board, strong female leaders and the vision outlined in our Charter commitment to guide us. We ask facilities and golfers to help. It’s not difficult, just #inviteHER, the significant women in your life, to come out and play. Contact Us BRITISH COLUMBIA GOLF #116 – 7198 Vantage Way Delta, BC V4G 1K7 888.833.2242 britishcolumbiagolf.org