Northern Ireland news

First woman appointed as captain of Northern Ireland golf club

Alison Chestnutt will lead Dungannon Golf Club. Picture by Oliver McVeigh

A WOMAN will captain an all-gender golf club in Northern Ireland for the first time.

Alison Chestnutt was appointed as captain of Dungannon Golf Club yesterday - the first woman to hold the office in the club's 132-year history.

Most golf clubs select different captains to lead male and female players.

But Ms Chestnutt will be representing both genders.

Dungannon is the home club of 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke

Ms Chestnutt said she was thrilled to become Dungannon captain.

"Whilst it's a club with an illustrious past, it’s a progressive, forward-thinking club," she said.

She added: "When people think of golf clubs they conjure up images of stuffy gentlemen in clubs with lots of rules but I’m proud to say that Dungannon Golf Club is nothing like that."

Golf is a male-dominated sport and until recently most clubs did not permit women to become full members.

In December, Royal Dublin Golf Club - which has not had any female members in its 136-year history - voted to "enshrine the principle of gender equality" into its constitution.

Dungannon has offered women full membership since 2006.

A biology teacher, Ms Chestnutt learned golf as an adult.

"I only took up the sport when I started teaching in the Royal School Dungannon and my colleagues lent me clubs and taught me how to play," she said.

"Since then I have made many life-long friends through golf."

Around 12 per cent of the club's membership is female.

Ms Chestnutt said she will work to promote the sport.

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Northern Ireland news