WALES Golf is supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign with a series of social media features on LGBTQ+ members of the Welsh golfing community.
This is complemented by Wales Golf’s continued work towards the Advanced level of the Equality Standards for Sport, and the organisation’s vison to make golf ‘Everyone’s Game. Anywhere’.
The focus is on individuals who have made their mark in golf, such as Wales Golf PGA Pro of the Year Natasha Gobey, as well as clubs who have worked hard to create an inclusive environment, such as Morlais Castle.
“It is an important opportunity to emphasise that golf in Wales is a fully inclusive sport,” explained Wales Golf equality lead Zoe Thacker.
“This is a campaign which is supported by many sports, of course, and helps to shine a light on helping improve our understanding.
“Golf is a sport which can be played by any age or sex, which makes it a natural sport to be fully inclusive, but this is still a message we need to push.
“So we are encouraging golfers in Wales to show they are inclusive by wearing Rainbow Laces and celebrating different identities on social media.
“Clubs need to make sure their environments are inclusive, with up-to-date policies on issues such as homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying.
“It is important anyone can feel comfortable, believing Welsh golf clubs are safe spaces for all LGBTQ+ people. We need to make sure language does not exclude people and codes of conduct are prominently displayed.”
It is a message backed up by Morlais Castle member Belinda Davies. “Golf has a reputation for being expensive, male-oriented, stuffy and an old-fashioned game.
“Golf is benefiting from some high-profile professional players coming out and openly discussing their journeys and experience.
“Morlais is no different when it comes to gender inequality. Add LGBTQ+ and it becomes somewhat clandestine, in so much as it’s not spoken about and I’m not aware of any positive discrimination going on to encourage openness or new members.
“That said the ladies section has gone above and beyond to actively encourage new women to the section. The support provided is fantastic.
“To make golf fully inclusive, clubs and coaches need to consider openly addressing diversity and equality across the board. Actively ensuring their Committee is more diverse and inclusive.
“This will give confidence to LGBTQ+ members in particular, ensuring voices are heard and genders represented fairly.
“All club material needs to fully adhere to the equality act, ensuring all information is visible and accessible. Coaches could arrange open days, work closer with other clubs and ensure positive LGBTQ+ publicity.
“One thing that needs addressing is clubhouse culture to ensure any bigotry and negativity between genders is stopped. Unfortunately it is quite prevalent and has no place in today’s day and age.”
Further information about the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign can be found here: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/rainbow-laces