Rise & Aspire celebrates women’s progress in golf

Rise & Aspire conference

More than 100 women gathered in St Andrews last month to mark the fifth anniversary of The R&A’s Women in Golf Leadership Program.

Established in 2018, 140 women from 34 countries have completed the Leadership Development and Foundation programs, which were introduced to increase the number of women working at mid to senior levels in golf organizations.

Since graduating, 83% from the Leadership program and 93% from the Foundation program have seen career progression.

Jackie Davidson, Director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “We want to make sure that golf is diverse and inclusive. We want to see more women leading in different organizations throughout golf.

“The women who’ve come through the program have visibly changed in confidence, self-assuredness and ability to project themselves forward. Overall they are more equipped to face challenges."

Shreena Patel, Digital Marketing Specialist for Adidas Golf who recently finished the Foundation program, said: “The program has helped hugely with my confidence. Working in a male-dominated industry, I often found it hard to speak up even when I had good ideas, so this has greatly benefitted me.” 

The conference in St Andrews featured guest speakers including Dame Katherine Grainger, who spoke about her journey from an athlete to a leadership role.

There were also video messages from Suzy Whaley, the President of the PGA of America, and Major winner Michelle Wie West, plus networking activities and a gala dinner.

“The networking opportunities the programme provides are bringing women in the golf industry closer together with increased collaboration and support,” added Davidson.