The demographic of the communities in which golf operates in Australia has changed dramatically in recent times. Today, 25% of Australia’s population is born overseas, almost 50% have one parent born in other countries, 260 languages are spoken, over 50% are women or girls, and more than one in five, or 4.3 million people, identify as having a disability.
This Inclusive Sport Framework outlines how Golf Australia is working to create a more respectful, safer, non-discriminatory and inclusive sport for all. It also aims to highlight ways for everyone to get involved to promote inclusion and diversity across all levels of the game.
The Framework brings together everything we do around inclusion and diversity, including:
- What we believe in (our Inclusion Commitment Statement)
- What we do (our relevant strategies and programs)
- Rights and responsibilities (our policies and codes)
- How to get involved (resources, tools, an action plan and survey)
- Education and training
The Inclusive sport framework is based on the 7 Pillars of Inclusion model – a new way of advancing diversity and inclusion in sport. We have developed FAQs – Inclusion in Practice, a Glossary of Terms, Tools & Resources and a Survey to test your progress.
Inclusive Sport – What we do
Inclusion Commitment Statement
Golf is a fun, healthy, sociable sport played by over 1.2 million participants nationwide that can be played by young and old over the full life cycle.
Golf Australia believes that every Australian should be able to participate in our sport in a welcoming and inclusive way. Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and made to feel like they belong regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ability, race, cultural background or ethnicity and no matter where they live.
As such, we are committed to supporting golf environments that promote respectful and positive behaviour and eliminate all forms of unlawful discrimination, harassment, bullying. There is simply no place for these forms of behaviour in our sport or clubs.
We will take all reasonable steps to identify and eliminate unlawful direct, indirect, and systemic discrimination from our structures and practices and ensure that all members are afforded reasonable opportunities to participate in and gain access to our programs and services at all levels.
It is essential everyone involved in our sport understands the important legal and governance responsibilities they have in relation to discrimination, harassment and abuse. This includes Boards, committees, club administrators, volunteers, coaches, parents and participants.
What we do:
In 2018, Golf Australia introduced ‘Vision 2025: the future of women and girls in golf’ – the culmination of two years of exploration and strategy development across the global golf community and coincided with the development of the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.
Vision 2025 is a seven-year strategy intended to engage women and girls across the golfing community and industry. The strategy’s goal is to transform the sport of golf into one that is highly engaging, accessible, and fully inclusive for women and girls. Golf Australia’s Vision 2025 strategy includes objectives and deliverables across four key pillars to improve the engagement of women and girls in the game:
- Culture and Leadership
- High Performance and Coaching
- Marketing and Positioning.
See Vision 2025: the future of women and girls in golf Golf Australia is currently conducting a golf industry roadshow – ‘The future of women and girls in golf: 2025’ in 50 locations in 2019. The aim is to share the Vision 2025 plans to support clubs, facilities and communities to become more inclusive for women and girls. All stakeholders are being encouraged to develop their own Vision 2025 organisational action plans. Golf Australia has a range of introductory and participation programs to engage women and girls in the sport. Get into Golf is a program suitable for seniors, women and All Abilities players, while SwingFit is a fun, healthy and social way for women to get started in golf. Golf Australia’s highest priority in 2019 is to increase the percentage of female participants within the MyGolf program.
The aim is for females to make up no less than 25% of all registered participants across the country, an increase from 21.9% in 2016/17.
SBG Golf is committed to including girls and women in our event structure including:
- Junior girls are regularly playing in Golf Zone junior pennant competitions.
- Over 50s women keenly participate in our District Masters Tour with equal prizes.
- Junior novice events for both boys and girls.
- Junior open championships for both boys and girls.
- Mixed foursomes championships for men, women, boys and girls.
- Representative team events including men, women, boys and girls.
In collaboration with the PGA of Australia, Golf Australia continues to strive to make the game of golf more inclusive, with a focus on disability inclusion.
Unlike many sports, golf is inclusive by design. In general, very little modification is required to equipment, facilities or the operation of the course to enable people with disability to participate in golf.
The golf handicapping system, which is a fundamental part of the sport, provides the opportunity for people with a disability to participate alongside their able-bodied friends and family, or alongside others with similar or different disabilities. This provides an opportunity for people with disability to re-connect and engage with their social networks through the sport.
GA is committed to creating pathways for people with disability by breaking down the barriers to participation within golf through the use of policies, coach and administrator education, development programs, partnerships and promotion.
Across Australia, there are a number of organisations that currently provide services to golfers with a disability; these include Blind Golf Australia, Deaf Golf Australia and Amputee Golf Australia. The primary focus for many of these organisations is to provide competition opportunities for their members. In addition to these organisations, Golf Australia also has Memorandum of Understandings with organisations such as Limbs 4 Life, Special Olympics and Empower Golf Australia, which provide advocacy as well as clinics and introductory golf programs.
Golf Australia has successfully re-branded the PGA All Abilities Coach Accreditation which has resulted in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognising this professional workforce as service providers under the scheme. The continued growth of the PGA All Abilities Coach is having a large impact, with participation through this program increasing by 40%.
My Golf All Abilities (intellectual disability) provides modified rules of golf for players with physical, intellectual or sensory impairments, and has been added to the conditions for all Golf Australia tournaments and competitions. Some of the modified rules include blind golfers having access to an aide during play, the use of prosthetic devices for amputees, the use of assistive mobility devices and getting help with dropping and entering and exiting bunkers.
Golf Australia continues to develop playing opportunities for people with disability through the Rankings for Golfers with a Disability (R4GD). The tournament schedule has grown to 18 through national, State Disability Golf Associations and state bodies. The 2018 Emirates Australian Open/National All Abilities Championships featured 12 of the world’s best All Abilities golfers who played the same course at the same time as the pros, and shined a spotlight on the inclusive nature of the game.
The following strategies will help improve access and inclusion for people with disability in golf:
- A welcoming attitude of club staff and members towards people from different backgrounds, including people with disability.
- Encourage your club’s PGA professionals to undertake the PGA All Abilities Coaching Accreditation so that they can provide support to golfers with physical, sensory or intellectual disability.
- All clubs should complete a physical access audit of the course and clubhouse to identify areas which may restrict access and develop a plan of action to redress any access issues.
- Identify and partner with a local disability service provider to run clinics and other introductory programs.
- Use clear and appropriate language when communicating with people with disability. Always put the person first, not the disability.
- Recent advancements in technology have created opportunities for people with a disability to be able to do more than ever before, and golf is no exception. New products like the Paragolfer, a range of adaptive gripping solutions and automated tee-boxes are all increasing access and opportunities for people with a disability to engage in golf.
With over 1.2 million participants nationwide, golf is a sport that is played and loved by many Australians. Golf’s unique handicap system allows individuals to compete irrespective of age, gender, background or ability.
As Golf Australia addresses the challenge of growing participation in the game and looks to the future for the next generation of golfers, we are working to ensure that it is accessible and reflective of the whole community.
The Golf Australia and the PGA National Inclusion Research Project highlighted an overwhelming desire from clubs and facilities to have a stronger connection to their local communities and have a plan to show how golf can be a driving force in bridging the gap between Australia’s diverse communities, and promote inclusion within the sport and the wider Australian community.
Link to the report and fact sheets:
- National Inclusion Research Report (2018)
- Indian communities guide
- Chinese communities guide
- Islamic communities guide
As part of the National Inclusion Research Project, we developed an Inclusion Action Plan that provides key actions and strategies to assist clubs on their journey towards becoming more inclusive of the diverse Australian population. The structure of this action plan aligns with the 7 Pillars of Inclusion framework developed by Play by the Rules.
We encourage all clubs and organisations within the sector to embrace this framework and use it as a starting point to plot, then assess through our Survey, your inclusion strengths and weakness. No matter the size of the club, we can all make a contribution towards creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in our community.
Golf Australia is committed to promoting the sport of golf to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and working to break down any barriers to exclusion. The 2018 Golf Inclusion Research report highlights many of the barriers and opportunities for engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our game and provides useful demographic information for clubs on Indigenous people. See the Aboriginal communities’ fact sheet from the research project. Golf Australia run an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – Remote Golf Program and hold an annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Championships.
Golf Australia is also currently developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to outline their commitment to greater promotion and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the organisation and sport. Engagement strategies Golf clubs should always show respect and consideration of Indigenous culture. This can be achieved by:
- Including an ‘Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners’ or ‘Welcome to Country’ at the start of club functions and events.
- Flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags alongside the Australian flag.
- Displaying artwork from a local Indigenous artist around the club.
- Starting a dialogue with local Indigenous community Elders to understand the challenges they face in the community and how they wish to be involved in the sport.
Children and Young People
Golf Australia is committed to supporting the wellbeing of children and young people and promoting participation and development programs as a fundamental part of our service delivery model across Australia.
Golf has approximately 15,000 children and young people engaged nationally, which equates to approximately 3.6% of our membership. This percentage is low in comparison to other sports and a real opportunity area for growth.
Golf Australia works alongside the PGA of Australia to deliver Australia’s national junior introductory program (MyGolf) at golf clubs and facilities, which introduces children to the sport with fun, engaging games that are easily adapted from a range of skill levels and ages.
We have recently developed our Secondary School program within Sporting Schools, which has been well received by schools across the country. We also provide teachers and accredited deliverers with quality, curriculum-aligned resources to enable them to deliver our introductory golf program in schools (primary and secondary). In addition, the MyGolf School Ambassador program supports and recognises teachers for their commitment in promoting and delivering the program.
Golf Australia has signed up to the Pride in Sport Index to show the commitment to promoting inclusion for LGTBIQ people in golf.
Golf Australia has developed a Diversity Policy that outlines there are no medical eligibility restrictions on female to male transgender persons in golf, and they are eligible to compete in male competitions and to hold a men’s Golf Australia Handicap upon declaration to Golf Australia that their gender identity is male.
We also acknowledge the Sport Australia Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.
Inclusive Sport – Rights & Responsibilities
Golf Australia’s policies and codes ensure that everyone in our sport is aware of their legal and ethical rights and responsibilities, and provide the complaints and reporting procedures to eliminate discrimination, harassment, child protection issues and other forms of inappropriate behaviour.
These policies are backed up by federal and state/territory anti-discrimination laws that make discrimination and harassment unlawful in relation to a person’s gender, sexuality, disability, race, colour, national and ethnic origin, descent, ethnic or ethno-religious background in all areas of life, including sport. Golf Australia recognises its legislative duty of care under these relevant laws.
Our policies and codes include:
- Member Protection Policy
- Code of Conduct (and Disciplinary procedures for events)
- Disability Policy
- Gender Diversity Policy
- Social Media (included as part of the MPP)
These policies are governed by Golf Australia and are required to be adopted and promoted by all Affiliated State bodies and their affiliated associations and clubs. Their successful implementation and enforcement requires the cooperation and commitment of people from all levels of our sport.
Golf Australia also adhere to the following guidelines:
- Guidelines for the promotion of equal opportunity for women and girls in golf (Australian Human Rights Commission/Golf Australia)
- Guidelines for the Inclusion of Transgender and Gender Diverse People in Sport (Sport Australia)
Child protection policies
Golf Australia is committed to promoting a safe and respectful environment for all children and young people, and to assist everyone to recognise child protection issues and know the relevant reporting procedures. Relevant information and policies are our Safe Sport Framework.
A range of Integrity related policies including Anti-Match Fixing Policy, Anti-Doping Policy, Fraud etc. are available in our Fair Sport Framework.
Inclusive Sport – How to get Involved
We have developed an Action Plan which covers each of the 7 Pillars of Inclusion in detail and provides practical short, medium and long-term examples of how golf clubs can implement this Framework into your club’s operational and strategic environment.
Communicating what you are doing to increase diversity and promote inclusive practices in your club is one of the most valuable activities you can do. Communication can mean reaching out and engaging with the community to promote awareness of how your organisation is committed to inclusion and how people can be part of your club. Listen to our weekly Podcast ‘Inside the Ropes’ and follow our regular media releases and newsletters.
Golf Australia communicates information to partners, clubs and members via our website and social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. They are great ways to tell and show the community our ‘inclusion story’ and encourage people to become a part of our sport.
Images and words matter
Remember that you can’t be what you can’t see. Make sure the images and graphics on your website, publications and social media reflect your community. Also ensure you use inclusive language and terminology, and make sure everything is accessible for people with disabilities. It is also important to ensure all events are opened with an Acknowledgement to Country and the Traditional Owners.
Create your own community profile
To help determine what strategies and programs need to be developed to increase the engagement and participation of diverse groups in your community, you need to find out who they are and what the barriers to participation exist. There are a range of community profile tools, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics website, which can provide you with a general community profile to review.
There are some great inclusion campaigns which your club can align to, such as:
- ‘Racism. It Stops With Me’ campaign
- Pride in Sport Index
- Our Watch Sports Engagement Program
- Let Kids be Kids campaign
- White Ribbon Australia campaign
- Changing the Game
Survey your progress
After you’ve learned more about 7 Pillars of Inclusion and undertaken some activities in the Action Plan, you can survey your strengths and weaknesses by completing the short, free Survey to see how your club is progressing across the different pillar areas.
Inclusive Sport – Education & Training
Check out the following general and Golf Australia training courses:
- PGA All Abilities Coach
A joint initiative between Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia, the PGA All Abilities Coach Accreditation has been developed to give PGA Professionals and their venues / facilities additional training & resources in providing support for those golfers with physical, sensory or intellectual disability.
As accredited coaches, PGA Professionals play an important role in providing suitable assistance to golfers with disability.
PGA professionals complete an accreditation in the following areas;
Day 1 – Theory: Inclusive Coaching, Inclusive Clubs & Facilities, Seven (7) Pillars of Inclusion and Funding & Partnerships
Day 2 – Practical: Introduction to Club-Fitting and Gripping Solutions, Mobility Solutions – Ottobock Paragolfer and Practical Coaching Session – Impairment Groups
For a list accredited PGA Professionals click here or visit findapgapro.com.au to find your nearest PGA Professional.
- Community Instructor Training
- Golf Industry Roadshow – Vision 2025
- Rules – Modifications for golfers with Disability