Presenter Jacqui Hurley says golf has become a welcoming sport for all and that she will be encouraging her children to pick up the game.
The RTE Sport broadcaster came to the game late after playing camogie for much of her life but is now a member in Dun Laoghaire Golf Club and today helped to host the second annual Golf Ireland International Women’s Day event supported by KPMG.
69 golfers from nine different sporting backgrounds along with representatives from NGBs, Sport Ireland and Sport NI came together at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort in Wicklow.
Having joined a society in Leopardstown during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hurley used her platform and together with Golf Ireland they staged the first event last year.
It was another fantastic turnout today, which included professional golfer Leona Maguire, Dublin footballer Sinead Aherne and former Ireland international Anna Caplice, and Hurley hopes more women will follow in her footsteps and get into golf in 2023.
“To me it’s just trying to find something that keeps you active for your whole life and golf is brilliant because there is great discipline in terms of what the game is and what it can teach you as an individual but also it’s the social space that it is,” said Hurley.
“My mom is in her 60s and she has just taken up golf in the last year. She realises as well that it is a social network for her as it is for me in my 30s. It really is a game for everyone. I don’t want to sound contrived, I really mean that.
“I wish that I found it sooner in my life. I would have loved to have played this as a teenager but it wasn’t something that was around when I was a kid. It wasn’t in my social space, my parents didn’t really play it and it wasn’t something that my friends were playing.
“But now I would be really encouraging my kids to play it because I think it offers so much for kids and adults. To me it’s a fantastic game and I’m really glad that I found it even at this stage in my life.”
Golf Ireland began their drive to get more women involved in the game ten years ago when they launched their Get into Golf programme. And Hurley understands why more women are taking up a game that has a growing appeal and has become even more accessible to the general public.
“I love playing golf and I know a lot of sports people are always looking for something to do after they finish playing sport. I thought for a lot of them this might be a very natural fit,” said Hurley.
“It also allowed them to have a chat while they were walking around. There are very few sports that we can all play together where you can have this kind of social environment so for me this felt like a really good fit for this group.
“There are girls who played here today who are professional golfers and then are people who are complete beginners, and then there are people who are somewhere in between who have held a club but don’t know a lot about it. The great thing about this is everyone is equal in it.”