WATCH: Golf4Girls4Life launches Club Chronicles

​​​With just five members who were junior girls at the end of 2018, Westport have begun their 2019 programme with 40 girls in tow

  • 25 March 2019

​Caption: Participants of the Golf4Girls4Life Programme Supporting the 20x20 Campaign

“If every club had a good junior programme, even if they move away in the future, some other club will benefit from our juniors and likewise some might move to Westport and we could benefit from their juniors.” This is the opinion of Mary McDermott who is the Lady Captain at Westport Golf Club where a swell of enthusiasm for Junior Golf has overcome the club. 

As supporters of the 20x20 Campaign​, the Golf4Girls4Life team were excited to hear about the work being done at Westport Golf Club and decided to follow their progress throughout the year as they aim to increase participation of girls playing golf by 20% by 2020.

As of summer 2018, the club has just five members who were junior girls and it was a moment while welcoming home his daughter from the golf club when Enda Lonergan pledged that this number wasn’t good enough.

“Westport had just five girls on paper up until last year and really only three of them were active – my own two daughters and another girl who has just moved to Westport - a very, very competent young girl. My own daughter came home one day and said ‘I don’t know about this girl, everyone’s talking about her [at the club], I am going to show them who the best girl in the club is.’ That was when the penny really dropped for me that the group dynamic and that sort of internal competition was needed.”

Following this realisation, Enda liaised with the Club Committee to put his thoughts into action. With the assistance of the then Lady Captain Maureen Keane, PGA Professional Todd O’Reilly, incoming Captain Mary and incoming Junior Convenor Dee Gavin, a recruitment plan was put in place. 

“We identified that we had 12 primary schools and a large secondary school within a 10km radius of the club. I contacted the principals and made appointments to meet with them all in the one particular day for 15 minutes. I asked if I could speak to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 1st and 2nd year girls. The first eye-opener in that for me was that that was so many girls – there was over 600 girls in the area and we’d only 5 of them as members of the club.”

The next step was an information meeting for girls and their parents and some training for the volunteers who were going to give their time to the programme. The club was delighted with the outcome where 40 girls have now begun a 10-week Golf4Girls4Life programme at the club – a long way towards their goal of 50 Junior Girls by the end of 2020. 

While a programme of events running into the summer months, including a march at the local St. Patrick’s Day parade, have been planned. Enda’s dream for the club is clear.

“It would be great to think that in 10 years’ time, I might wander down to the club and I would meet some of these girls, maybe home for the weekend from college, catching up with each other over 9 holes and a coffee. We have a number of goals for this programme but for me, that would be the ultimate result.”

Watch the first episode of the Golf4Girls4Life Club Chronicles – Westport #1: