For the first time in its more than 100-year history, the Springwood Country Club board has appointed its first female president.
Claire Murray-Fulton was voted in as president of the eight-member board in late October. The first items on her agenda are attracting a younger crowd, boosting the club’s female membership, and finding other income streams to keep the finances healthy.
As golf clubs deal with a declining, older membership, Springwood Country Club is billing itself as a lot more than just a golf club. They’re inviting other sporting groups to use their facilities – fishing, squash and darts clubs are on board – and there are function rooms for hire, and kids play equipment.
“We’ll be making the club the place to go in Springwood for functions, for sport or for a cup of coffee,” Ms Murray-Fulton said.
With just 13 per cent of the golf club’s playing members women, she wants to attract more women to the game.
“A female president will show that we are welcoming. We want them to give it a go. They say that ‘I would be hopeless at that’. But everyone’s hopeless when they start. It’s very social, you get to walk around and have a chat and have lunch afterwards,” Ms Murray-Fulton said.
The 37-year-old replaces Roy Bowyer, who has stepped down after a three-year term.
Ms Murray-Fulton paid tribute to Mr Bowyer, who she said was responsible for “transforming the place from it’s tired and dated state.”
Having grown up in Winmalee, Ms Murray-Fulton left the Mountains for Sydney for 10 years, returning five years ago. Her background is in administration and IT, and she’s been a director on the club’s board for three years.
“The golf club is so male dominated. Everyone’s been really supportive,” she said.
Ms Murray-Fulton is happy to be setting an example for her daughters, aged four and seven.
“I asked them ‘Do you think Mummy could be president?’ They said yes. Us girls can do whatever the boys can do,” she said.
Ms Murray-Fulton teed off for the very first time at age 19 at Springwood Country Club, encouraged by her brother and a few friends.
“I was hopeless at first. I hit a few shots and I was hooked,” she said.
While she doesn’t get a lot of time for competitions now, Ms Murray-Fulton has a handicap of 13 and was the women’s club champion from 2014 to 2016.
The Springwood Country Club also has a new general manager. Josh Prowse replaced Larry Collins three months ago.