The guide, which was developed in partnership with Golf Victoria and Golf Australia, reminds clubs of their positive duty under the law not to discriminate against women and minority groups.
Equal Opportunity in Golf is a key part of the sport’s efforts to address the significant under-representation of women in golf. Less than 20 per cent of Australia’s golfers are women, and less than 10 per cent of Australia’s professional golfers are female, which is significantly out of step with other sports, and with contemporary Australian society.
The guide, which also comes in a handy 'quick' version, can help clubs understand their obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. It details their 'positive duty' to provide an environment free from discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation, and to take 'reasonable measures' to eliminate these practices in their clubs and in membership policies.
Problematic practices include gender-based restrictions such as allocating shorter tee-off times for women, and holding women’s tournaments only on weekdays.
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton thanked Golf Victoria and Golf Australia for their work in developing the guide.
"Golf clubs provide a great place for the community to meet and socialise," Ms Hilton said. "They also have a legal obligation under the Equal Opportunity Act to provide equal opportunity for people to participate, regardless of their gender."
"Clubs play a key role in setting standards of behaviour. They must act as role models by ensuring that that club memberships are provided without discrimination," she said.
Golf Victoria CEO Simon Brookhouse says the guide will help clubs to encourage people from all walks of life to participate in golf.
"Although golfers like to think that their sport is fair and open to all, there have been examples of individuals or groups that have been excluded or prevented from participating equally," he said.
I encourage clubs to work with Golf Victoria to help grow the game and to ensure it continues to be welcoming and inclusive to all members of our diverse community."
Golf clubs and members can download Equal Opportunity in Golf, and are invited to visit the Commission's website or call 1300 292 153 for free information and tools to prevent unlawful discrimination.
Mobile: 0447 526 642