100 women across Australia played together as part of a global event that linked 129 events and 3305 women around the globe in a PDGA ratings-based scoring system involving 23 divisions. In Australia we had 7 events: the WGE – Run the Chains at Chichester presented by Julie Ormston & partners, Melbourne Celebrates, Adelaide Parklands, WGE Sydney 2022 Presented by Disc Connection, Dubbo, Run the Chains at Mundaring and Koala Park.
After humble beginnings, with one event and 3 women competitors in 2012, the event has more than tripled in competitors in Australia between 2018 and 2019 and then grew by a further 14 percent in the last year.
Like in the other golf, women make up only a small percentage of players overall, anywhere between 5 and 15% depending on how this number is calculated. Through the efforts of many volunteers nation-wide, this imbalance is being gradually redressed with initiatives like women’s leagues and social days in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.
Central to this approach is the Women’s Global Event. In one sense it is an opportunity to encourage new women to try the sport, but the event also encourages Disc Golfers across Australia to reflect on how we can make the sport more inclusive of women and how to make their experience in the game more comfortable and enjoyable.
Stand out performers this year were: Gina Hill – 3rd in FA1, Cassie Sweetten – 55th in FPO, Gail Lynch – 4th in FA70+, Jessica Holman and Lydia Philpott both finishing in the top 40 of FJ15 and, playing in her first ever tournament 81 year-old Merle Milentis, who finished 17th in FA70+.
Encouraging too, was the fact that 5 of the 7 events had women as their tournament directors: Sue Summers in Mundaring, Julie O’Donoghue in Chichester, Janet Ford Adams in Melbourne, Emilie Cameron in Koala park and Lisa Wallis in Sydney.
As the chatter across social media over the weekend showed, this event has grown into having a spirit all its own and has fast become a valued part of the Australian Disc Golf calendar.