With golf needing to do more to attract the younger generation and guarantee its long-term health, one Wiltshire club has taken the bold step of appointing 20-year-old Danielle Binder as ladies’ captain
Golf Monthly Meets The 20-Year-Old Lady Captain
On April 6 this year, Danielle Binder drove in as ladies’ captain at The Manor House Golf Club in Wiltshire.
That in itself might sound an ordinary enough occurrence, but what made this particular drive-in unusual is that Danielle is just 20 years old.
Although England Golf doesn’t keep records on the ages of captains, they have said to Golf Monthly that they’re not aware of a younger ladies’ captain in the country. We wonder if there has ever been one younger?
We spoke to Danielle to find out how she came to be ladies’ captain, what it means to her and what she hopes to achieve during her year at the helm.
Danielle only started playing golf four years ago but is already down to a 13 handicap with ambitions to improve much further.
A keen sportswoman, she took up golf together with her mother and father.
“I caught the bug!” she smiles.
“I started out playing different courses then joined a club. I visited The Manor House and immediately thought this is where I want to play my golf.”
She quickly became an active member of the ladies’ section and wanted to get more involved.
The road to modernisation
“I had an interest in trying to learn more about the sport, how it was run and more about the club,” she says.
“I helped out, and the captain from last year asked me to be her vice captain, with the prospect of me taking over as captain the following year – this year!”
It says a great deal for The Manor House Golf Club and its members that a person as young as Danielle has so quickly become such a key figure in the running of the club.
“Yes, the club is really forward-thinking,” she agrees.
“Having me as captain is a strong statement that emphasises what we’re trying to do and achieve – to modernise. There are a lot of traditions in golf and many of those must and should stay, but there are things that need to adapt to the way modern life is. I would like to use this opportunity to help the club make those subtle changes so that it’s as appealing as it can be to a younger generation.”
Working together with her co-captain Keith Sprules, junior captain Dominic Samra and senior captain Mark Adams, Danielle thinks the club is well placed to understand the requirements of a broad spectrum of golfers.
“My goal is to try and encourage more youngsters into the club. I’m hoping that I can show younger boys or girls that golf can be for them. I work full-time so it’s not like I have loads of spare time on my hands, but I can still be ladies’ captain and still play the game.”
Danielle is obviously a high achiever and is clearly one for breaking new ground.
Four years ago, she started as an apprentice mechanical engineer at the BMW Swindon plant – the first female apprentice there for more than 20 years.
She is also currently studying for a mechanical engineering degree at Oxford Brookes University and last year was named in the top 100 inspirational women by Autocar magazine.
“Yes, I do everything a little against the grain,” she chuckles.
“I’m keen to try and break down some barriers in life.”
She’s also keen to achieve more from a golfing perspective. Having come down to a handicap of 13 in just four years, she and her coach, Nigel Blenkarne, both feel there is scope for speedy improvement in the coming years.
“This year I’m hoping to make it to single figures and then keep going,” she says.
“In the long term, I’d like to go as far as I possibly can with my golf. If I ever have the opportunity to turn professional or play in big events, I will definitely go for it. It’s a hobby for life and if I could do it full time, I’d love to. I think all golfers would!”
For now, Danielle will focus on using her position to encourage young people to choose golf as that hobby for life.
“It’s bridging the age gap that can really make a difference,” she says.
“I do feel that the game has a huge amount to offer people of all ages and I hope that in this role I can show that. If more youngsters start to play then that can create a positive cycle.”
Danielle is clearly a driven individual with ambition to make a difference. With that attitude, she is sure to be a great asset to The Manor House through her captaincy and beyond. If every club had a Danielle Binder, golf in this country would be in a good place.
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