Women’s Golf Day, scheduled for tomorrow, is a one-day event encouraging females to engage in golf in the hopes of empowering new and experienced golfers alike and teaching skills that last a lifetime. In an exclusive interview with JAUNTE, Elisa Gaudet, President of Executive Golf International and Founder of Women’s Golf Day, shares with us her inspirations and aspirations for Women’s Golf Day and gives us her top picks of women-friendly golf courses in the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
By Jesreen Sidhu
Elisa’s parents put her in golf lessons when she was 10 years old and even though she had a decent swing, she never took it seriously during her formative years. At the time, she was the consummate jack of all trades, master of none. She eventually developed a deep passion for golf when she realized how the game constantly challenged her to try to be at her best physically, mentally and socially.
Elisa has been in the business side of golf for over 16 years and traveled all over the world for golf. One thing was consistent through the years, she kept hearing the same thing – women wanted to get more involved in the game but the market was fragmented and seemed too intimidating. This inspired her to create an entry point that was easy and fun so women who already played would be attracted to join in and those who had no experience whatsoever would be inclined to give it a shot. She personally felt women play a pivotal role as economic influencers and they have the ability to bring new dimension to the game of golf. It’s not necessary they end up to be avid golfers, but Elisa aspired to bring a feeling of positivity and inclusiveness around women and golf. A large part of the golf industry is based on homes sales, club memberships, golf vacations, resort packages, and these are essentially decisions where women play an equal if not greater role as an influencer.
Women’s Golf Day was born in 2016; where the first half is structured for women to take lessons if they were absolutely new to the game, or to play 9 holes if they were experienced and felt confident enough. The second half is dedicated to simply having fun, socializing and networking with women from all walks of life, and levels of experience in the game. On 7 June 2016, during the inaugural event for Women’s Golf Day, women from all over the world participated in 485 locations from 28 countries. Elisa recalled it was beautiful yet humbling to see women from different cultures, languages, backgrounds, religion and geography embracing golf as their connector. The team aspires to double this number for Women’s Golf Day in 2017.
What do you have to say to women who are afraid to pick up a club and have a hack?
Whether an introductory lesson or simply riding along in a golf cart and watching your friends or family play, start by participating in whichever way you are comfortable with. Try it in a stress-free environment such as while on vacation, where you are at ease and can take your time. Never feel like you have to take it too seriously, as although some do play it as a sport, many play for leisure. Take your first swing at a Women’s Golf Day venue on 6 June 2017 and let loose, make new friends and experience golf in a different way. Log onto www.womensgolfday.com to find a participating facility near you. Share your experiences on social media with #womensgolfday. I’d love to hear your stories!
What are your top 3 picks for women-friendly golf courses the Caribbean?
1. Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic
This is my all-time favorite as it encompasses three championship courses designed by Pete Dye and set in an absolutely luxurious compound. It makes a great vacation to travel to with girlfriends as it there is much to explore nearby in the beautiful stone town of La Romana and is also close to the world’s largest cigar factory. The energy of the Dominican people is truly infectious.
2. Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curacao
This is a spectacular golf course along the sea also designed by Pete Dye. The course takes on the shape of the naturally contoured site overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the sheltered bay known as Spanish Water. It is a course that challenges players of all skill levels. There are incredible snorkeling and diving sites in the area which makes for a perfect for action-packed family vacation. I took it a notch up and combined diving and golf!
3. The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, The Bahamas
This super secluded golf course is surrounded by pristine beaches. This one of a kind golf course is the world’s first tropical links course and is rumoured to be the number one course in The Bahamas. It feels like tropical paradise to me. The surrounding compound is serene and luxurious, making it perfect for a girls’ retreat or a romantic getaway.