City of Vancouver seeks women to play in upcoming golf tournament

Not just an old boys' club

Derek Thornley, director of instructions at Fraserview golf course, giving tips to his students during a lesson on March 16th. Photo by: Maxim Fossey
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Reported by Maxim Fossey

The city of Vancouver is expanding its programming to attract more women to the game of golf in an effort to rekindle interest in the sport—and boost attendance at its three championship golf courses, which are all located in South Vancouver.

Over the past decade, play has declined in all age demographics except among boomers (above age 52). Last year, Vancouver city council considered rezoning part of Langara Golf course into general park land and sports fields to meet the needs of more residents.

But an increasing interest among women golfers was identified as opportunity to sell more green fees.

Sev Araujo, manager of commercial operations at Vancouver Park Board, said that for the past year and a half, the city has been really trying to promote the sport among women.

Upcoming tournament

“For many years it was an old boys’ network. For someone who hasn’t played golf, it can be a bit intimidating – we want to get rid of that perception,” said Araujo.

Park Board supervisor of commercial operations Joan Probert said it’s the perfect time to target the female demographic.

“Specifically for this year in 2019, but also moving forward because there is a new charter that’s being adopted by B.C. Golf this year that’s called the Women in Golf Charter,” Probert said. “One of the commitments in that charter is to support women getting more involved in the sport and that’s something we’re heavily invested in.”

She said that they are planning to hold the first city-sponsored women’s golf tournament this August.

Derek Thornley, director of instruction at Fraserview Golf Course, said that 75 per cent of new entrants into Fraserview’s adult golf programs are women.

‘Being fair and gender neutral is the most important thing for women to get into the sport’

Carol Nanat, a student who takes lessons at Fraserview, said that it’s great to get more women into the sport.

“Any sport itself really, can get more popular if anybody can just join in,” Nanat said. “Being fair and gender neutral is the most important thing for women to get into the sport.”

Gen Xers and millennials, aren’t playing as much because of the cost and golf’s time commitment said Fraserview golfer May Kim.  

Kim, 37, who practices at least twice a week is the exception to a statistic that says golf’s participation has been decreasing over the past couple of years, especially among people in her age group.

“It costs a lot of money when you start and it’s this commitment where you have to practice often, and not many people especially my age, they have kids so it’s really hard to have time commitment,” Kim said.

At Fraserview Golf Course, it costs $36 to book a regular green fee.

Derek Thornley, director of instructions at Fraserview, says that a way to get more people into the sport of golf is to understand what their priorities are.The fact that it takes a little bit more time than other sports, some people view that as negative because they look at the time block,” said Thornley.

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