Hurley helping to turn the tide for women in sport

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Jacqui Hurley (Image: Golf Ireland)

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Sports presenter Jacqui Hurley says the phenomenal success of the Women in Sport Scramble supported by AIG is a result of bringing sportswomen together from across Ireland.

The third annual event, which is taking place at Druids Glen today, will see 60 golfers tee it up alongside Hurley.

The field consists of golfers from ten different sporting backgrounds along with representatives from the media, NGBs and Sport Ireland at the Wicklow resort.

Hurley hosted the pilot event in 2022 and following its success over 60 golfers attended last year alongside Irish LPGA star Leona Maguire.

The Golf Ireland International Woman’s day event supported by KPMG in 2023 (Image: Golf Ireland/Golffile)

“There shouldn’t be anybody who is feeling like a duck out of water,” said Hurley, speaking on the Golf Ireland Pod.

“Even when Leona was coming I said I was going to pair her with Valerie Wheeler, Nicci Daly and Grace Walsh, so you’ve got a 200-cap international hockey player and one of the best camogie players in Ireland.

“So there’s a competitive nature among the four but I was watching and the craic they were having. There wasn’t too many people trying to play on tour, even Leona, she was enjoying the day and that’s what it should be.

“We should be trying to create events for our sportswomen to bring the community together because we are all supporting each other.

“You see it when you go to the RDS, you go to the Aviva, you watch some of the team sports, you’ll watch the Olympics this summer.

“We’re all sports mad and want to support each other but getting to know each other really helps. Golf is great because being able to walk the course and have the chats is so important in building relationships.”

Golf Ireland are determined to get more women and girls involved in golf, and new initiatives like Ireland’s first women’s social golf community, Chip & Chat, have looked to bridge the gap.

Hurley picked up golf for the first time during the Covid-19 pandemic when she joined a local society in Leopardstown. She subsequently approached Golf Ireland to create this event.

“I said, what if we have a day where we invite loads of sportswomen to play golf and have a bit of craic,” said Hurley.

“There’s no ask on anybody, we just want you to come and have a brilliant day and everyone has bought into it so much, that’s what brings me most joy.

“I remember this magic moment where Olivia O’Toole was in the room, she had been a soccer legend and one of the rugby girls said I’d love to meet Olivia and I brought her over.

“Olivia gave her a huge hug and was like: ‘Ah you were amazing in the rugby’ and it was like, she knows who I am.

“This is what it should be because it feels like it’s always been that way for the lads and lots of guys that I know would get invited to those events all the time.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something like this for our sportswomen where they really feel appreciated and they feel like they get some of the big days out.

“It just keeps growing and growing every year and I hope we’ll be able to do this for a long time to come because it is probably my favourite event of the year. Golf Ireland do a great job trying to make it easy for people.

“There’s no shame, there’s no embarrassment. I’ve had world champions who knocked the ball off the tee.”

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