As part of Women and Girls Golf week, volunteers are being celebrated across Scotland who tirelessly give up their time to grow the game and inspire golfers.
Broomieknowe Golf Club’s Junior Convenor and ClubGolf Coach Yvonne Dickson explains how she got into golf and why she loves volunteering.
Yvonne, clearly a golfing fan, tell us how did you first get into golf?
YD: “Well, I play at Broomieknowe in Midlothian, and I have been a member there for 27 years and really got involved in golf through my boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, he
played golf and I thought, you know what, I could do that, so I started playing, got to know the women at the club and started to build friendships, safe to say I got hooked early on.
How long have you been volunteering and how did you first get into volunteering?
YD: “I’ve been volunteering for 9 years now, at first it was quite daunting, as I was a 12-13 handicap at the time, but when you are coaching young ones, it’s all about learning through fun
games, it’s not technical, so you don’t have to be Tiger Woods to teach young kids.
Tell us, what do you love most about volunteering?
YD: “For me, seeing the kids grow and develop, both at golf and as young people. Seeing kids come to the club as young ClubGolfers through to playing in the team. We had our first team
match at the weekend past and I had a lump in my through, the way the kids welcomed the other young players from Ratho Park GC, they were brilliant. I have seen shy kids develop confidence and great social skills. Also, good life skills like time management. For example, turning up for a tee-time, anyone who has kids knows how hard it is
to get them out the door!
All good skills that kids can take into their personal life. I’ve made great friends, for example other ClubGolf coaches in the local area, like Mary Richardson (Craigmillar Park) and Liz Taylor (Prestonfield). We often meet up to share ideas and chat about things that have worked and take them to our own club. It is about clubs working together to grow the game.
What is it you love most about golf?
YD: “I love the combination of both the health and the social benefits. I have met so many friends through golf and where else do you get the time to have a four-hour catch up with your
friends and exercise at the same time?
What do you think is the key to getting more woman and girls into golf?
YD: “For girls, there is a bit of a domino effect. If you can get a few girls that are really keen and enjoy it, they will bring their friends. Two years ago we had around six girls, and now we have 16 and that is a result of girls having fun and telling their friends to come along. We are also lucky to have a role model in 14-year-old Hannah Darling, who is winning on the National level, the girls at the club look up to Hannah and aspire to be like her.
On the women’s front, it’s all about creating a good social environment, and showing people who haven’t played before it’s not a scary sport it’s actually good fun!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about golf and in particular women’s golf for people who haven’t tried the sport?
YD: “People who don’t play golf think that everyone who plays golf are really good and there is nothing further from the truth. People also think golf is difficult to learn, which it’s not, and you have the beauty of the handicap system so everyone can play and compete together, no matter what level you are.
A story that makes me laugh, an LPGA coach from Texas once told me that as part of women’s beginner coaching she took the group to the side of a fairway, and showed them how rubbish their husbands were! Not many people are as good as Jordan Speith or Rory McIlroy!
What advice would you give someone who is thinking of giving golf a go?
YD: “Just do it, go for it, its lots of fun and great exercise.
If you could change one thing about golf to make it more attractive what would it be?
YD: “The rules some golf clubs put in place, a golf clubs welcoming board should be the do’s and not the don’ts. Do have fun, do enjoy yourself. And also the dress-code, I think golfers should be able to wear whatever they are comfortable in to play.
What once piece of advice would you give to other clubs who are looking to become more attractive to juniors and women?
YD: “Adapt to everyone’s modern needs, not everyone can play 18 holes or even 9 holes straight away. Have a 3-hole circuit, and a short course with holes 100-200 yard holes, and have coloured tees, not gender specific tees.
Also, keep your members informed of your junior programme and they will buy into the good work the club is doing, whether that’s via your Facebook page or club newsletter.