The rise of Covid 19 throughout the world thrust us into an environment that had not been seen for 100 years. Every aspect of life was compromised, and quickly we learnt to shop online, teach children schoolwork online and work from home. People rose to the challenge and sports professionals and amateurs learnt to adapt.
Ironically, many examples of great initiatives derived because of the restrictions enforced on us. Golf wise, they ranged from PGA pros doing lessons from their gardens to young golfers fundraising for a local charity from within their homes. It became apparent that people were deeply missing their sport, mental health issues became commonplace and as golfers we made use of all the online coaching and short game practice we could do. Thankfully for the first lockdown the weather was wonderful, the second proved to be more of a challenge as the cold and dark days restricted our activities.
Also born out of lockdown, a Facebook forum called ’Ladies Golf lounge’ – the brainchild of a lady named Yvonne Brook who is pictured above with myself. It allowed women to have some light banter, ask advice of each other and tell of their experiences. Yvonne had not anticipated how popular it was to become and in less than two years she has gained 8,000 followers.
It is interesting to see how many post lockdown women still rely on the Facebook group, with benign questions such as “I have arthritis in my feet, which shoes are the best to wear for golf?” or “Where do you recommend having lessons in the Leicestershire area?”
There are quite a few topical conversations too, typically around the subject of ladies and juniors’ integration into golf clubs and the women responding sadly have often experienced some form of dialogue to defend them simply being there. A lot of groundwork still goes on to deal with this environment and quoting a friend of mine it is like “walking through treacle.”
Yvonne, an established tennis player and swimmer took up golf in her twenties and has worked in the health industry for 15 years. She now works for Get Golfing, who operate nine golf clubs based in the Southeast of England. She also runs community-based golfing lessons for children and links with the disabled golf association organising taster sessions for new to golf individuals she is also looking to run Junior Pro- Am events.
Her home course is at Copthorne GC in Crawley, Surrey.
Talking about Ladies Golf Lounge, Yvonne says “The concept came about because I have been a member of many Facebook golf pages which are predominantly male, which asked the question Where are all the women?”
Having done some research Yvonne was conscious of the fact that there were no forums for ladies only. She started Ladies Golf Lounge with 75% of its members from the UK, with the rest from overseas, e.g. Canada, Scandinavia, Spain, Germany.
As the popularity of the Ladies Golf Lounge has increased, she brought in Q&A sessions with reputed referees to discuss rules and etiquette, she has hosted golf competitions at Enville, Frilford Heath and Moor Park. In May, 25 ladies (including myself) turned up to play at Conwy GC in glorious weather, the images on this page are from that occasion. Later this year, Sherwood Forest GC will be another local venue to host a LGL event where ladies can play golf and meet each other.
Yvonne has been recognised for her work by the R&A and congratulated by many for her initiative and the success in bringing like-minded ladies together. For some it is a way to meet other ladies and it offers a comfortable environment where we can express ourselves and be heard freely.
From all of us at Midlands Golfer, and myself, well done Yvonne.
Mandy Ambert – MG lady editor