Yorkshire golf: Becki O’Grady is blazing a new trail with Howley Hall as director

Becki OGrady has followed her year as lady captain at Howley Hall by becoming the clubs first female director in their 117-year-history (Picture: Chris Stratford).
Becki OGrady has followed her year as lady captain at Howley Hall by becoming the clubs first female director in their 117-year-history (Picture: Chris Stratford).
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ANYONE who has been men’s or women’s captain at their club can testify that with the honour and prestige comes an exhausting year in office.

Most will quietly welcome the advent of the following year when they can pass on the mantle to their successor and slip back into the more sedate life of the ‘ordinary’ club golfer.

Not Becki O’Grady, lady captain at Howley Hall in 2016.

The four-handicapper enjoyed the extra involvement and responsibilty that came with the title and put her hand up at the start of the year when nominations were sought for a place on the board.

She was voted in to become the club’s first female director in their 117-year-history.

“After I was lady captain last year, the things that I did for the club and getting involved a bit more, I just thought it was about time a lady was on the board,” says O’Grady.

“I don’t really know why it has taken so long. I suppose it was just finding the right time and the right person to try to push initiatives and get more people, more girls and ladies involved in golf, which I did as lady captain.

“I suppose some of the things that I did as lady captain must have helped the membership decide that they wanted me on the board.”

Howley Hall have ten directors in all, with each assigned to work on sub-committees, O’Grady now sitting on those responsible for the greens and marketing.

“Being on the greens committee is good because, from the ladies’ perspective, I can have a say in how the course is set up for the competitions,” says O’Grady.

“I’m also on the marketing committee and will play a part in creating initiatives that get new people involved with the club.

“It was hard work being captain, but I did really enjoy it, all the organising of it all and making sure it was all running smoothly.

“When I did stand down I missed it a bit really so I did have an idea before our agm that I would put myself up for the board; I just like that side of it. We’ve had meetings and there are already things in the pipeline, like taster sessions for ladies, and they’ve already been organised.”

Might her own game have to be sidelined with so much else to do, including her job in the police force?

“I do work, practise when I can and do the work at the club – I have to juggle it all,” she says and laughs before adding: “It’s why I’m tired all the time.”

As well as helping increase the involvement in golf of juniors and women, she hopes to see more mixed competitions played off the same tees.

“All the initiatives that Lady Golfer, England Golf and the Golf Foundation have come up with are making golf more desirable,” comments O’Grady. “I would also like to see tees for mixed competitions, that would improve the equality aspect.

“Some men – not all – if you said they had to play off the red tees they’d say, ‘oh no, I’m not playing off the red tees, they are the ladies’ tees’. I want to make things equal so everyone can play together.”

Howley Hall's James Appleyard, left, and Miles Foster - Yorkshire Challenge 2017 Supreme champions.

Yorkshire Challenge entries open on Wednesday with priority booking