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I am passionate about growing the game of golf and am optimistic of the sports diverse, equitable and inclusive future.

Kara Anthony

Coordinator, Female Participation

Golf Canada

× The interview with Kara Anthony was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

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1Tell us about your role as Coordinator of Female Participation for Golf Canada. What does a typical day look like for you?

I always describe my role in two parts

  • 60% of my time is spent planning and executing the Golf Fore the Cure presented by Subaru (GFTC) program.
  • 40% of my time I focus on how Golf Canada can grow female participation in golf in Canada.

This second part is focused on research – I work with different organizations to complete thorough research and develop proposals on how Golf Canada can improve and increase female participation.

GFTC was created by Golf Canada to drive women’s participation in the game of golf through fundraising and awareness to support the fight against breast cancer.

Individuals or golf clubs can run any golf-related event (scramble, ladies’ day, women’s clinic, etc.) under the Golf Fore the Cure banner at no cost to them or the host club.

Partnered with the Canadian Cancer Society and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, 100% of funds raised through the program are donated to breast cancer research and provincial support programs. Since 2004, upwards of 140,000 women have raised over $7 million for breast cancer research.

My typical day changes depending on the time of year – the lead up to golf season majority of my days are spent working with program partners (Subaru, Adidas and our two charity partners) to develop a marketing strategy, along with developing collateral and program materials for the GFTC program and the GFTC National Event.

It is a team effort as I work collaboratively with Golf Canada’s partnerships, communication, and brand department to ensure the program is a success.

Once the golf season starts, my focus shifts to executing the strategy, to solicit new sites/events across the country and collect feedback on how we can improve.

2The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that sport organizations curate long term fans and participants. How have you adapted to these changes using new and innovative efforts to increase female participation in golf?

For me personally, golf offered a much-needed escape during the pandemic and the rise in participation numbers show that many feel the same way!

Golf has provided many individuals with a fun outdoor, socially distant activity during a challenging year.

Golf Canada recently launched the "Golf is Calling retention campaign to help drive this momentum and surge in interest.

This modern and fresh campaign was formed from consumer research that showed a lot of growth came from the 18-to-34-year-old group, and 65 percent of that was female.

Looking forward, I hope these new golfers will continue to develop their love of golf and hopefully participate in GFTC.

3Drawing from your career experiences, what are three factors that have affected the growth and development of female participation in golf?

Although there are many factors that have affected the growth and development of female participation in golf, the three I think are the most important are:

  1. The growth of the LPGA. I am inspired and motivated when I see women in the sports industry making an impact in decision making positions. I think the LPGA has the same effect on young female golfers and positively affects female participation in golf - being able to watch idols like Brooke Henderson on tour or at the Olympics is amazing!
  2. Female only events. Many women are hesitant to try golf due to the fear of embarrassment. Golf programs that are specific to females only (like our GFTC National Event, small plug!) are a great way to get more women into the game in a welcoming environment. These types of events also create a social golf network from women.
  3. Growing number of female coaches. I think the development of female coaches has had a big impact. It goes back to the mentorship point – if you can see it, you can be it! I believe new female golfers value learning from female golf pros. There is still work to do to get more female coaches in the pipeline, however, programs like Golf Canada’s Women in Coaching Program are a great start in developing a gender-equitable coaching network in Canada.

4You seem to have a passion for growing the game of golf and providing opportunities for women and girls. Tell us about the importance of creating a space like this for young girls, and how you found your passion for this type of work in the industry.

I am passionate about growing the game of golf and am optimistic of the sports' diverse, equitable, and inclusive future.

My passion to increase female participation stems from my love of the game and understanding the huge discrepancy between the numbers of young girls playing golf compared to the number of young boys.

Not only is golf great exercise but is also known to boost self-esteem, confidence, and social connections.

I hope to play a small role in attracting girls to the positive aspects of the game and to help make them golfers for life.

5Inclusion in sport has always remained an important issue surrounding the sport industry. How are you able to apply what you’ve learned from your career about female participation to the workplace, in regard to gender equality and women in power positions?

Golf Canada acknowledges there is still lots of work needed in order to achieve gender equity within the organization and within the golf industry.

I am currently working with Canadian Women & Sport to complete the Gender Equity Playbook.

I am confident this assessment will identify our organization's areas of improvement and help develop an evidence-based course of action.

Personally, I get inspired when the media covers women as the first in their respective areas, breaking the glass ceiling so that they are not the last.

6Based on your career experiences and emerging trends, how do you think the success of young Canadian professional golfers such as Brooke Henderson has had a direct impact on female participation?

I think it has a huge impact!

Brooke is an amazing role model on and off the course, and I am confident that more Canadian female professional golfers will emerge in the next decade because of her leadership.

The more exposure and coverage that ladies golf receives, the better – amateur events like the Augusta National Women’s Amateur are a great step to giving women opportunities to inspire the next generation of female golfers.

Jaelyn Terrion Jaelyn's Final Thoughts

Kara Anthony, Coordinator of Female Participation at Golf Canada, is a true trailblazer when it comes to creating an equitable and meaningful future for women and girls in the sport of golf. Her work to grow female participation, including the Golf For the Cure program and national event, demonstrates her passion for creating an inclusive and equitable space for women and girls to thrive. It is clear that Kara's passion and love for the game, paired with the inspiration she draws from the growing coverage of women's golf, provides the building blocks for a meaningful role at Golf Canada. Her commitment to continuing research and gathering information on trends and participation within golf furthers the accessibility to the sport. Kara has established herself as an inspiration to any future sport professional looking to break down barriers to sport, and has yielded amazing results that provide insight into the future of women and girls in golf.

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