Nikki back in the swing for a second year

NIKKI Pimlott is back for a second year as lady captain at Stamford Golf Club.

And the 50-year-old is looking to build on last year’s drive to attract more women members to what she admitted was a “dying” section.

Nikki and club professional Mark Smith teed off a hugely successful programme last summer to entice more women to the club.

The response was “crazy” with 50 women attracted by the offer of free membership for the first year, a free first lesson and discounts for further ones.

If they remain, membership will be half price for the second year.

Nikki, a mother of one, explained: “We had a good initial take up and a couple of the new players have got their handicaps and three or four more should do so soon.

“The free year’s membership is about to end but, sadly, a lot are not expected to stay.

“The biggest problem is that women don’t have the time to play if they have children and work.

“The new players have enjoyed it and had a great time but often it is weeks before they play again because of their other commitments.”

Nikki, who lives in Ashton, added it was a huge logistical exercise integrating 50 new players into the club where the women’s section comprises only about 14 competitive golfers from 30 women members

She continued: “Initially it was crazy arranging dates for inductions, lessons and taking new members out on the course.

“One day about 18 new players turned up with Mark and myself spending a lot of time working on the programme.”

Nikki added the objective this season is to continue with the initiative.

She said: “We had a dying ladies’ section which we have to boost.

“We have had recruitment offers before and you get a huge drop off.

“It we can get five or six new playing members with handicaps it will have been worthwhile.”

Nikki added it is about promoting golf as fun and dispelling pre-conceptions about the sport.

She said: “There is an impression members of golf clubs are stuck up and there are cliques.

“We promote it as fun and you can have a laugh and enjoy it as well as it being good for your health, both physically and mentally.”

Nikki pointed out being relatively new to golf and being a high handicapper enables her to relate to new members. She took advantage of free membership for six months when she joined the club in 2016.

“I never intended it to be serious, just a hobby to get exercise and fresh air, and it has developed from there,” she said.

“It helps when taking new ladies out on the course that I hit bad shots because if they went out with a good player they would feel intimidated.

“I found that was the case when I started. I was lucky to have my family around me and, without them, I may not have stayed had I been on my own.”

Her husband Chris, father Harry Marshall, sister Joanne Akers and brother-in-law Chris Akers are all members at Stamford with Joanne a former lady captain.

Nikki, who plays off 37, works as a customer support administrator for Pennine Care NHS.

The mother-of-one has again chosen the Anthony Seddon Fund as her charity, recognising the importance of mental health issues through her work.

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