On International Women’s Day, we at Fitter Golfers want to ‘flag up’ Sport England’s “This Girl Can” initiative, which aims to get women and girls moving, regardless of shape, size and ability.
Research reveals a huge difference in the number of men and women playing sport in the UK (two million fewer 14-40 year olds). And it's not because females don't want to get active (>75% say they do). The sad truth is that millions of our women and girls are afraid to exercise because they fear judgement. “Worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough came up time and again,” said Sport England CEO Jennie Price.
Their nationwide campaign tells the real story of women who play sport by using images that are the complete opposite of the idealised and stylised images of women we are used to seeing. Neither does it hold back in trying to encourage women to beat their barriers: "I kick balls, deal with it", “Talk to the backhand” and “Damn right I’m hot” are among the hard-hitting lines used to change attitudes and help boost women’s confidence.
Jennie is keen to point out that “women who exercise and play sport… come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability… This campaign says it really doesn’t matter if you are a bit rubbish or completely brilliant, the main thing is that you are a woman and you are doing something, and that deserves to be celebrated.”
At Fitter Golfers we think the game of golf provides a perfect opportunity for girls and women to get active. Whilst Cameron Diaz, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Celine Dion, Sharon Stone, Denise Van Outen and the current Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins, are just some of the hundreds of famous women who are keen golfers, you don’t have to be rich and famous, or even especially athletic, to enjoy the game at recreational level.
Here are just a few reasons why we think golf is a good option:
- Playing golf gets you outdoors in the fresh air and is proven to improve mood, stress levels and self-esteem. It brings some impressive health and wellbeing benefits that can help you look and feel your best. It combines, the core ingredients that doctors recommend for optimum physical and mental health and wellbeing. Indeed, according to a Swedish study, playing golf regularly will add five years to your life expectancy.
- Golf is a great way to stay in shape too. [A round of golf will burn over 1,000 calories if you walk with a trolley.]
- Golfers Make Friends Easily: With plenty of opportunity for conversation, golf is a great way to make new friends, or grow closer bonds with people you already know. It can afford you quality time with your boss, colleagues, boyfriend, or family far removed from the stress of everyday living. And if time is at a premium, it does not need to take all day: playing just 9 holes is increasingly popular and will only take you a couple of hours.
- Golf is fun: It’s an easy way to make exercise enjoyable. It’s like sex in that you don’t have to be great at it to enjoy it! And remember, only 10% of golfers ever get below 100 on their scorecard, so you can relax and have fun, knowing you’ll more than likely be in good company!
- Golf needn’t be expensive: you can spend as little or as much as you like. Beginner courses start from around £25 for five weeks, with equipment provided through the ‘Get into golf’ initiative. There are playing options, equipment and clothing to suit all budgets. So, golf is great value when compared to many other activities and its unique handicap scoring system means that men and women of all ages and ability levels can play together either socially or competitively.
- On a more frivolous note, as anyone who has watched LPGA Tour events on TV will know, golf fashion is big business and taking up the game is the perfect excuse for going out and buying some amazing new outfits!If you are career-minded, golf is one of few sports widely accepted in the workplace as a way to build relationships and close deals quickly. Adrienne Wax, co-author of ‘Even Par: How Golf helps Women Gain The Upper Hand In Business’ says "If you can talk about golf, all of the sudden you have a reason to talk to the CEO or your boss two levels above you.”
- And finally, golf gives you even more reasons to travel the world. There are so many amazing and beautiful courses around the world, golf gives you the perfect excuse to go visit them!
So get out and play girls! Remember #thisgirlcan
NB: To find out more about ‘This Girl Can’, go to www.thisgirlcan.co.uk where you can get also tips on how to get active and join the national debate. You can use the hashtag #thisgirlcan to join the conversation on Twitter.