The Ladies Golf Association at the Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. club was triggered by a planning initiative that identified a significant opportunity to bring more women into the game. Women now have equal status as golfers, meaning there are no restrictions on when they can play, and they are represented on the Board and every club committee.
Thanks to the efforts of the Ladies Golf Association at The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.—founded in 1888 and widely acknowledged to be the oldest continually operating golf club in the U.S.—women are treated as equals both on and off the course. As a result, women’s golf programs are thriving, new golfers are enthusiastically welcomed into the game, and club governance has become a model of gender equality.
“The culture of the club has really changed,” said Karyn Lantier, President of The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club’s LGA. “The entire club rose to the challenge of embracing women golfers, finding ways to make us more comfortable both playing and around the clubhouse, and respecting our voice in running operations. I don’t think there’s a more female-positive club in the Met Area.”
The LGA’s evolution began several years ago, triggered by a planning initiative that identified a significant opportunity to bring more women into the game. Embracing the opportunity, the LGA reassessed its goals and made a commitment to increase engagement, attract new players, and expand women’s involvement at the club, including its governance.
Today, thanks to the LGA’s steadfast efforts, Saint Andrew’s supports gender equality in a number of ways. For example, since 2019 women have had equal status as golfers, meaning there are no restrictions on when they can play: The tee is open to women and men equally, virtually any time, any day. Furthermore, women are represented on the board and in every club committee and, as a result, women’s voices are being heard in all aspects of club operations.
The growth in participation among the women of Saint Andrew’s is having positive effects throughout the club. More women are playing in tournaments, both within the club and in the Met Area. Many women—both members and the spouses of members—are taking up the game for the first time, enrolling in special engagement and instruction programs created just for them by the proactive professional staff. As a result of all these efforts, ladies’ rounds are up by more than 25 percent and participation in tournaments has increased by almost 20 percent.
The golf professional staff worked closely with the LGA to help attain its goals. More experienced women golfers are showing newer golfers the ropes and explaining the rules (written and unwritten) that make golf unique. The LGA stages informal events on Wednesday afternoons, while the club’s professional staff hosts “Lunch & Learn” sessions and clinics throughout the year that give members the chance to socialize, ask questions, and improve their games.
As the spirit of equality has pervaded the club, Saint Andrew’s has strengthened its sense of member camaraderie, particularly with couples who now enjoy tournaments, casual rounds, dinners, and special events enhanced by creative menus and an extensive wine list. The club has responded to this influx of interest from couples with more social functions and a junior program for couples with young families.
Additionally, the Metropolitan Golf Association has recognized the success of the club’s women’s programs and appointed Saint Andrew’s LGA Vice President Nandita Atal as the chair of its Women’s Advisory Council, sharing best practices, successes, and other information with area clubs interested in attracting more women golfers.
“We think we’ve cracked the code of women’s engagement,” says Lantier. “We’re seeing the effects everywhere, from the locker room to the dining room. It’s made a big difference in the social success of the club, our participation in local tournaments, and in putting Saint Andrew’s at the forefront of member equality in the Met Area. Every one of us, male and female, is incredibly proud of what we’re doing and what we’ve already accomplished.”