Kicking off a week of inspirational stories for Women and Girls’ Golf Week, the R&A’s Jackie Davidson reveals the impact of the governing body’s Women in Golf Charter
Jackie Davidson’s job involves her promoting the objectives of the Women in Golf Charter on behalf of The R&A.
In truth, her life is a reflection of everything that the Charter endeavours to achieve.
As a social golfer, a volunteer and someone employed in the golf industry, the Scot is perfectly placed to play a key role in the advancement of women and girls in all aspects of the sport.
Davidson – Assistant Director of Golf Development at The R&A since 2017 – is proud to work on a project which not only aims to boost participation levels, but also encourages more women and girls to consider a career or time spent volunteering in the golf industry.
It’s a call to action that is continuing to be embraced by golf clubs and counties all over the UK with new signatories in England adding to the momentum of the Charter almost on a weekly basis.
For Davidson, encouraging more and more women and girls to feel confident in their ability
to play or make a difference in golf is simply a personification of her own career in general and, for the past decade, within golf.
“My story started off with me volunteering in sport and then moving on to get a full-time job and eventually to where I am now at The R&A,” admitted Davidson.
“It’s important for people to volunteer at all levels of the game – even a couple of hours a week can make a difference.
“And from that the individual gains an opportunity to learn, gain more knowledge and perhaps think of a new career path.”
After studying for a BA degree in Recreation, Davidson focused on sport and initially got involved as a volunteer before becoming Director of Development and then President of Triathlon Scotland.
There then followed a full-time role with Scottish Cycling as CEO and a move to Scottish Golf before she shifted over to the game’s governing body in St Andrews
But for Jackie, a key thread throughout her career has been her voluntary roles – be it in triathlon, on the board of Commonwealth Games Scotland, with Scottish Swimming or simply as chair of her sons’ football team in Fife – AM Soccer Club.
As she champions women and girls in golf, and in the industry as a whole, Davidson brings practical knowledge to the table.
“People get involved in golf at different ages and different levels,” she confirmed.
“And what we aim to encourage through the Charter is not only women and girls playing the game, but also stepping up to help at clubs and also to consider a career in the golf industry.
“The Charter is not just a piece of paper for golf clubs to sign and forget about – it’s a commitment to action and The R&A are thrilled to work with our affiliates, including England Golf, to support and offer resources for them to do that.
“I hope the work that is ongoing can help to change the culture and environment in golf and the false perspectives many people have of the game
“There are so many good things that happen in golf that I just don’t think we shout about them enough.
“We want to tell the story better than it has been done in the past and organisations we are involved with understand this more and more.
“Whether that’s a golf club, the professional tours or a sponsor, organisations understand what we are trying to achieve and what they can do to help achieve it.
“And it’s not just a female issue. We have lots of male champions who help to promote the women and girls’ game and involvement in the sport.
“That may be a husband supporting a wife or his daughter or grand-daughter or executives within companies understanding a new inclusive culture.”
The Women in Golf Charter is gathering momentum helped by the energy provided by the likes of Davidson who clearly has a passion for delivering the message.
She added: “We will soon be going to market with a campaign to support golf clubs further and offer them resources and tips to make sure that as many women and girls can get involved in this game as possible.
“The second aspect of this is to bring more and more women and girls into participation and this is something we will look to drive forward in 2021.”
Women and Girls’ Golf Week
To find out more about the Women in Golf Charter and how your club and county could get involved, visit the England Golf website.
For more on Women and Girls’ Golf week, check out the #WhyIGolf webpage.
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Pictures: Mike Hyde
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