Thursday, March 26, 2009
Back in December 2008, I read a blog interview with Carolyn Bivens regarding Social Media and Equality. In it she said, "We recognize the importance of reaching today’s youth and our global fanbase via social networking sites, and continue to explore opportunities for us in this emerging arena. We recently have established Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites."
Well, I just learned today that Ms. Bivens now recognizes social media as more than just a place for the LPGA to play with children. The LPGA will now credential bloggers to cover LPGA events.
Wow! This is a major breakthrough and so I just had to write Ms. Bivens a thank you note...
Dear Ms. Bivens:
Let me be the first to congratulate you on credentialling non-traditional media for LPGA coverage. As a "citizen journalist" focused on the sport of golf, I am thrilled to see the LPGA take a positive and progressive stance towards bloggers.
I cannot speak for my fellow blogging buddies, but I for one, am impressed. Just as the LPGA was one step ahead of the PGA in instituting drug testing, you have demonstrated that you recognize the value of social media in the coverage of your sport. Well done!
ps: BTW...would it be possible to get press credentials into PGA events where an LPGA player has a sponsor exemption? I am sure we'll see your newest LPGA'er Michelle Wie there again soon ;)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
First, there's Renton Laidlaw - not a better or more enjoyable voice on the Golf Channel when it comes to tournament coverage. I wish he covered the PGA.
Then there are the players. Oh sure, we've got our Boo Weekleys over here, but when it comes to the memorable characters of golf worldwide, you need to look at the European Tour. Sevi, Sergio, Stenson, Monty...these guys are the ones you love to watch, hate, laugh at, admire and tease. I love them all!
This weekend is a major milestone for my favorite Scotsman, Colin Montgomerie -- Monty will be playing his 500th tour event at the Andalucian Open. I read that if you added up all the fairways he's walked in the past 20 years, he would have made it to China. WOW!
Now while this reporter at the Daily Mirror below considers that playing Jimenez's tournament, a "fall from grace", I'm pretty excited about it. As much as I joke about Monty's hot temper and grumpy nature, those are the characteristics that make him both hateable and loveable at the same time.
When Monty smiles, he lights up the TV. When he growls, it's time to take cover. I've heard that Monty hates to lose more than he loves to win. With that attitude, no wonder he's filmed with a grimace more often than a smile.
Anyway, I saw this interview with Monty about his 500th tour event this weekend and thought you might enjoy it too.
For those of you who aren't yet "fans" of Monty on Facebook, I'll share with you his golfing career in numbers.
499 – Number of European Tour events as a professional (before this weekend)
31 – Number of European Tour International Schedule victories. (A record for a British player)
8 – Number of times he has finished European Tour Number One. (1993-99, 05) Number of holes-in-one. (Both European Tour records)
182 – Number of European Tour top ten finishes – a European Tour record
421 – Number of events he has been in the money from his 499 European Tour events
4 – Number of times he has won The European Tour Golfer of the Year award – 1995, 96, 97, 99 (A European Tour record)
13 – The number of European Tour course records he has amassed – a European Tour record
60 – Lowest European Tour round at the 2005 Indonesia Open
6 – Most European Tour wins in a season in 1999 – (equals The European Tour record)
10 – Number of consecutive years with a victory between 1993-2002 inclusive
260 – His lowest 72 hole total in a European Tour event on his way to winning the European Masters in 1996
18 – Number of years between his first and latest victory – the 1989 Portuguese Open and the 2007 European Open
2 – Number of albatrosses recorded
13 – Number of different destinations his 31 European Tour wins have come in.
14 – The number of years he has finished inside the top ten of The Order of Merit
9 – Number of times he has recorded multiple victories in the same European Tour season
1 – Number of wire-to-wire victories on The European Tour – at the 2001 Irish Open. First European Tour event as a professional at the 1987 European Masters
54 – The event number of his first European Tour victory – the 1989 Portuguese Open
11 – His biggest victory margin in a European Tour event – the 1989 Portuguese Open
3 – The only player to win three consecutive BMW Championship titles between 1998-2000
1,722 – Total number of European Tour rounds played from his 499 events
121,525 – Total number of strokes taken from his 499 European Tour events
1,597 – Total number under par for his 499 European Tour events as a professional
70.60 – Career stroke average on The European Tour from his 499 events
€23,639,775 – European Tour Official Career earnings from his 499 events – a European Tour record
€47,374 - The average amount earned per tournament from his 499 played
€13,728 - The amount earned per round from his 499 played
€194 – The amount earned per shot from his 499 played
Now...after seeing this impressive list, is it really all that important that he hasn't won a major? Not to me, it isn't. Monty IS a legend and not just in his own mind. These numbers speak for themselves.
I can't wait to watch Colin captain the 2010 Ryder Cup team. I love Colin Montgomerie and I'm not afraid to say it. He's more than just a great golfer- he's a personality.
And.... he's got one of the best grins in golf I've ever seen.
Monty’s off his stroke
25 Mar 2009
COLIN MONTGOMERIE’S 500th appearance on the European Tour takes place this week away from the spotlight in the humble Andalucian Open. Talk about a fall from grace. Monty has been playing golf so long that he remembers when one under par was a birdie,...read more...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Now I know this isn't really "new". We've seen the best players paid to play many times, but it still feels wrong to me. I understand why it is, but I just wish it wasn't. When does it become too much? Going Down Under for $3M seems over the top to me.
I recently wrote an aritcle for Inside Golf Magazine on the Duramed FUTURES Tour kicking off its season in Florida this weekend. In my research I looked at the purses these women play for and I was pretty horrified to see how the PGA and LPGA development tours differ in terms of leading money winners every year. Check it out last year's winners in both tours:
The pay differential is astounding to me. I've heard all the reasons about sponsors yada yada yada, but it's still just wrong. Golf is a game of inches and an equalizer on the course for men and women, but not when it comes to money. It still bothers me that the PGA generates about 100 millionaires every year - last year the LPGA had only 13 ladies break the $1M mark.
Now, I am a huge Tiger fan; don't get me wrong. I've followed him around at the Buick and I was in awe. But when I read Tiger say, "Some of the great golf courses in the world are right down there in Melbourne, that sand belt."....the first thing that came to my mind was, "But no matter how great they are, you're not setting one Nike golf shoe on them unless someone coughs up 3 million big ones, right Tiger?"
Feel free to tar and feather me on this one, but I'm starting to get a bit tired of the Tiger frenzy. Even when he didn't play for 8 months, all you ever read or heard about on TV was Tiger and his bum knee. I found it rather nauseating.
Anyway, it's an old song and it's been sung by many, but for me, it's a tune that has planted itself inside my head and I just can't stop humming it...."Ain't that a shame..."
Woods deal a bogey: Baillieu
By DAVID ROOD STATE POLITICAL REPORTER
20 Mar 2009
SPENDING $ 1.5 million to bring golfer Tiger Woods to Melbourne has been described by the Victorian Opposition as a bad investment at a time of mounting unemployment. Woods, the world’s best golfer, is to play at the Australian Masters for $ US3...read more...
Tiger is heading Down Under
Tiger is heading Down Under
Matthew Clayfield Brent Read
19 Mar 2009
TIGER Woods will play at the Australian Masters this year after the Victorian Government sealed a $3 million deal with the world’s best golfer that is to be partly paid by Victorian taxpayers. Victoria’s Premier John Brumby last night confirmed Woods...read more...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Such was my day today. I woke up to a horrible forecast in Vancouver - cold, rain, chance of hail - AKA - No golf for you today, Golfgal!
So I decided I'd see what was happening in what Mr. Business Golf calls "La La Land" - ie. the Internet.
Long story / short: I connected on Facebook with Mike Brown, who had just read my post about Dave Andrews and the Duramed FUTURES Tour. Mike contacted me after I sent out a request for comments and opinions on a subject near and dear to my heart - the value of golf in a woman's career.
Mike and I chatted for a while and he shared a great story with me for my next Inside Golf article on Women in Golf and Business. And, of course, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, when I learned that Mike is the father of Duramed FUTURES Tour player, Sara "No H" Brown, I asked him if he thought his daughter would be open for a quick interview.
The next thing I knew I was on the phone with Sara who was in Florida getting ready for the opening DFT event. What a beautiful young woman - outside and in. No pretention...no airs...just a friendly golfer who loves the game and loves life. You can just hear it in voice.
And Sara is not just another pretty face - she's got some pretty innovative ideas on how to save travel costs on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. LOL!
Sara is someone to watch this year. She joined the tour last June after graduating from Michigan State University. In only her second event on the DFT, Sara tied for 3rd! Now THAT doesn't happen too often. And although Sara only played 11 out of 17 events last year, she ended up 22nd on the money list - very impressive.
Sara has quite the resume at the ripe old age of 23 LOL!. Along with a bunch of awards and honors, she won 4 times in college and was named Michigan State University Female Athlete of the Year in 2007 and in 2008!
Yes, Sara is a lovely young woman with talent and personality. Listen in as she shares with me how she started in golf, her advice for young women thinking of a golf career and what's next for her this year.
I just read a Golfweek article about Sara from 2008 and discovered that like most of us golfgals, Sara loves shoes. I thought I was the only one who bought outfits to match shoes - haha - I guess not. :)
I also enjoyed reading what Sara's dad did when Sara got fed up with people spelling her name with an H. He went out and bought her this perfect vanity plate for her car. Good job Mike!
But the thing that I loved the most about listening to Sara today was what she said about her brother, Josh, when he caddied for her - she called him "a breath of fresh air on the golf course".
Wow! I had to listen to that part twice. Now, I'm running downstairs to make our "every bickering" 15 year old son and 13 year old daughter listen to that! Hey...maybe there is hope for our teenagers!
Thanks Mike and Sara - you made my day!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Meet Dave Andrews - Former TV news reporter, member of Golf Writers Associaton of America, contributing member for cybergolf.com and author of Pops and Sunshine - a book that will warm your heart, bring tears to your eyes and make you laugh out loud. But more importantly, it will give you a taste of what these talented young women go through on their quest for their tour cards.
Dave is also one of the founders of the Future Stars Foundation - an organization whose goal is to raise money to provide grants to players on the Duramed FUTURES Tour.
This weekend the FUTURES tour kicks off its season with the Florida's Natural Growers Charity Classic, and I thought it would be good timing to connect with Dave and hear what he thinks about the players this year and who we should be watching. I also wanted to know what's been happening with his book and foundation...
It's so easy to get down when you see the Nationwide Tour on TV every week and we see nothing on the DFT. But when you meet people like Dave and see what he and his friends are doing for these ladies, it warms your heart. There are people who really care.
In these difficult times, these ladies need our help more than ever, so if you can donate even a small amount, please visit Future Stars Foundation and help these ladies realize their dream!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Today, I'm pleased to introduce to you to the "better half" of that team (LOL - no offence Josh), the female co-owner of THP, Morgan (AKA Golfer Gal).
Morgan is a fairly new golfer, but a passionate one and I'm excited to talk to her. She's the kind of person who can make a difference in this male-dominated online world. Just check her out with Rory - oh my! Is that not cute or what!!!
You really should check out the pictures of Doral on THP forum - good camera work GG! The picture I used above in the video got some "interesting" comments from one of the gentlemen on the forum. Can you guess what that might be? ;)
And then here's Morgan with Stacy Lewis, the LPGA player who won our hearts at last year's US Open. Remember, Johnny Miller labeled Stacy as the next LPGA superstar.
Not all golf forums are created equal. Say no more...say no more..
But even if you don't add your voice to THP just yet, at least enter THP's raffle where you can win great prizes and donate to terrific charities at the same time.
I just had to join in on the fun, so here's what's in my bag...
What golf bag?
. Callaway Golf Bag
What clubs?. Sweet Spot driver
. Callaway 5 wood
. Callaway 3 and 5 hybrids
. Sweet Spot 4 hybrid
. F2 60 degree wedge
. Callaway Big Bertha irons
. I carry two because I'm fickle - a Sweet Spot putter and a Gemspot putter
What else is in your bag, Golfgal?
Some extra Blingo ball markers from Charlotte Campbell from Highway 18 - so beautiful! I can't imagine putting my hand up to my cap and not finding one there. So I always carry extras in case I lose mine. And it doesn't hurt to have an extra for a new GF you meet on the links.
Also, I love my golf coin game. It was given to me by a male friend who loved to gamble on the links. Golf betting is the favorite pastime of almost every male golfer I know. The women I play with don't like gambling for cash as much. But they love the coin game :). Money exchanges hands at the end, but it's about "shots", not about the scores.
Do you carry a lucky charm?
Not really a lucky charm, but, I always have a golf tag on my bag from a
favorite course. My current golf tag is from Talking Stick Golf Course in Scottsdale. I love tags that bring back great emotional memories. They remind me about what's important - love what you do, and love who you do it with!
What's the oldest thing in your golf bag?A Nature Valley almond bar from a year ago. Someday I will eat it when I'm starving on the course. Or maybe feed it to the 3-legged squirrel that lives on the par 3, 7th hole at UBC.
Which is your favourite club?
No question...my absolutely favorite "go to" club is my Sweet Spot 4 hybrid. If I could only play with 1 club all day, it would be a no-brainer for me to grab that club. It is great off the tee, in the long rough, off the fairway, in the fringe and I bet I could even putt with it. I just love it!
Now, here are 4 online golfing buddies I'd like to tag:
Ladies on the Tee
Women Like Sports
Over to you ladies...What's in your bag?
Monday, March 9, 2009
Today I had the pleasure of speaking with someone who has an intimate knowledge of the golf forum world - Josh of The Hackers Paradise.
Josh (AKA JB on THP) and his partner Morgan (Golfer Gal) started The Hackers Paradise in October 2008. I was invited to participate in it last fall by buddy from another forum who was getting tired of the controlling nature of "the big sites with the big egos and big sponsors". Although I'd never met my buddy, I felt I knew him from our BB and HW 18 discussions and so I trusted that he was leading me down the right path.
He was. THP is a fun site - small, intimate and unpretentious. While other sites tell you it is a privilege for you to participate, THP invites you to participate because it understands that your content adds value for its members - ie. your posts won't be striken from the record because a sponsor might get upset by your opinions about a golf club that they don't manufacture."
So when I was writing yesterday's post, I decided to contact Josh out of the blue to see if he would share he thoughts on the subject of women in forums. And I am happy to say, that Josh was more than ready to chat about what he and Morgan are doing to create a golf forum that is women and children friendly...
I'll be speaking with Morgan on Wed this week to get the other half of this story. I'm looking forward to chatting with Golfer Gal. Until just now, I didn't know Golfer Gal was the other half of THP. But now that I know...I'm off to THP to check out her posts - I hear they get a ton of hits! ;)
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Let's take a look at some of the popular golf forums out there (data provided by Quantcast):
Notice a pattern? There are significantly more men on golf forums than women - about 3 times as many. What can be done to equalize things a bit?
Once again, I'm calling on my forum friends to tell me what they think - why do so few women join in on the dialogue and what needs to be done to increase their numbers?
First, let's ask Aimee:
Aimee reiterated similar sentiments about this subject as she did about why so few women play the game, "Golf is still seen like a fraternity or men's club; there is a fair amount of misogyny on the boards."
The key to get more women into the forums? "Just have women that you know join up and post. If you don't feel like you are alone out there it is easier to join in."
I can see that. Safety in numbers and all that.
Here's what Apryl had to say...
"I believe the "men only" mentality that is prevalent on the forums keeps many ladies away. I've written articles that people have made comments like, "Amen, brother". They assumed that everyone writing was male. It almost seems like women are supposed to stay in the LPGA forum and talk about fashion if they are to be there at all."
So how do we change that? "You got me there! I'm not sure what would get more women to participate. If women feel welcome on the forums they will likely go and stay as active particpants."
Hmmm...so women don't feel welcome. I wonder if the forum owners know that or even care?
So what does the forum funny girl, Christy, think?
"Women aren't supposed to be knowledgeable or outspoken about anything regarding sports. I also attribute low numbers online to the theory that women are hesitant to share information online for fear of stalkers or identity theft."
Wow, I never thought of the stalker or identity theft issue. So what can be done? "I dunno. It takes a special kind of person to get on the forums and brave the waters. If I felt like I met someone who has the passion, I would definitely invite them to check it out. It's so funny....allrecipes.com is so big....why can't golf be too??? HAHAHA!!"
Interesting comparison. I thought I'd check out allrecipes and see their makeup. The split, according to Quantcast 37% men / 63% women. Makes you wonder if the men don't feel welcome in the kitchen ;)
Patricia is extremely active online with her blog, on facebook and twitter. Although not a big fan of forums (Golf Girl prefers to connect and exchange ideas on Twitter, sometimes on Facebook or her favorite blogs because she finds more interesting people there), Patricia is an expert in understanding the issues of women golfers online...
"Currently a lot of the women who do play golf are 50 and over, and that demographic is just now getting on-line. There are exceptions but many are just now becoming really active on the internet. I think you'll see that change quickly...very quickly in the coming years, as everyone gets high speed connections and print media disappears."
So, what can we do? "Evangelize as much as possible, get your url out anywhere women golfer congregate. Do what we're doing :o)"
Now, I should be including what Kevin had to say about this subject, but after talking with him about it on the phone for about 1/2 hour, I realized his experience deserved its own article. Check it out in Inside Golf Magazine: Golf Forums - The Naked Truth.
But Kevin did say, based on his wife's comments, that if the forums offered more topics that interested women, like golf fashion, then maybe more women would participate.
So, it would seem that women golfers don't join forums for the same reason that women don't take up golf in the first place. Women don't feel welcome in those male dominated worlds.
That may be true, but I think getting more women to participate in golf forums goes beyond putting out a Welcome Mat. I've been participating in half a dozen golf forums for just over a year now and it's pretty evident to me that the women who do join in on the discussions are a unique breed. They tend to be quite confident and can dish it out as well as take it. They usually have a pretty decent golf game and are not afraid to mix it up with the boys. These ladies are thick skinned; they are NOT your average women golfers.
Most women I know would be quite amazed at the "discussions" that take place on golf forums. Forum members can be brutal at times. During the Big Break series, the contestants were recommended NOT to read the forums for good reason. I was the first one to second that recommendation. I still can't believe what forum members said about the ladies on BB Ka'anapali. It was sad actually.
Yes, I certainly have seen some nasty stuff out there. I remember a young woman posting a question on a forum about why some guys don't like playing with women who are better than they are. The responses got really ugly and I ended up sending her a personal note pleading"Say no more and walk away from this thread. You're digging yourself into a grave." Unfortunately, she didn't take my advice and the results were not pretty. I've seen her recently on other forums.
Switching forums is not unusual and it's usually because something unpleasant occured. Check out Christy's (imsocrabby) story:
"I'm a 'homegirl' by nature so I usually stick to one place. My addiction started at thegolfchannel.com. That ended quickly when I realized it was really just a place to argue with people. So then I ended up at another site (of which I was banned and then reinstated after quite a long lay-off). I really set roots there....made some great contacts...met some really great people. As with all things 'internet'....sometimes personalities don't meld well and things happen. I really feel like I got the raw end of the deal by a heavy handed moderator...but...oh well. All the while...I was quietly sitting in the background...'trolling' at GolfWRX.com. When I lost my priveleges at the other place...I started participating more there. I recognized some old faces from my old home and decided to make it my new one. It is such a large site but feels so 'homey' at the same time. There is so much good information flying around there....I get stuck for extensive periods of time. Those guys that run the site really have their stuff in order. They're doing a great job."
Yes, it can be pretty rough on forums and if you want to contribute, you better be prepared to get dirty. I am not sure why that is - why do forums turn some gentlemanly golfers into online bullies? As Kevin shared, "It's so easy to sling mud in the forums. People say things online they'd never say to your face."
Yes, I've seen that kind of behavior. People hiding behind their avatars and nicknames. But to be fair, I've seen the other side too - nice people like Aimee, Apryl, Christy and Kevin, who make the forum experience entertaining and informative. I just wish all the members could be like them. If they were, I bet we'd see more women online.
This week I will be interviewing Josh, owner of TheHackersParadise. THP is a fairly new forum that is co-owned by a woman. Come back later this week to find out what THP is doing differently to attract more women to its membership.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I just spent the day playing 18 holes of golf in the great up north (Canada), where the wind chill factor was below the freezing mark.
When we drove away from the clubhouse, the snow was blowing sideways.
I was sooooo cccccoooollllldddd!
How cold was I, you ask? I was so cold that when I said to my playing partners "Good shot!", it came out as "Oood Thot". My mouth no longer worked.
So what happened to my game? About what you'd expect....I couldn't turn my body to hit a drive because my body was frozen. I couldn't putt because I couldn't feel my fingers, let alone, my clubs. I was "Two Gloves Gainey" all day, but it didn't help. I was blowing into my fists more often than I was blinking.
My score reflected my discomfort, but in the end...I didn't care, because it didn't matter. I was golfing in March in Canada!
But, honestly... my game really really sucked! :)
When I got home and thawed myself out in a hot bath and cosy fire, I read that Paula Creamer was leading the HSBC Women’s Champions even though there is a darn good chance she had food poisoning. It made me happy because I love the Pink Panther, but it also made look back on my day of "making excuses" and realized, there is no excuse!
I'd take cold over nausea ANY time! Yet my chilly game suffered today - her "where can I throw up w/o camera's filming" game didn't. How is that possible?
Well, it just shows to go ya, that these ladies rock! They can perform under dire straits and come up on top. Wow! I'm not only impressed, I'm ashamed because I sucked playing a "friendly game of golf" because my ears, nose, mouth, hands and tootsies weren't toasty enough.
Tomorrow, they're calling for snow flurries and a high of 35. Balmy! I should get out there and play. If Paula can perform through potential food poisoning, I can handle a little frost bite!
Thanks Paula! You've taught me perseverence! Now, if you could just teach me how to putt when I really want to puke - I'd be eternally grateful. ;)
Creamer and Park enjoy midway edge
07 Mar 2009
SINGAPORE: Americans Paula Creamer and Jane Park edged into a narrow one shot lead on a jampacked leaderboard after the second round of the HSBC Women’s Champions yesterday. The ailing Creamer, still feeling sick from a virus as she searches for her...read more...
Monday, March 2, 2009
Today, I had the pleasure of talking with Sherri McDonald of Big Break X Michigan about this hot topic.
Sherri has played golf since she was a youngster; she competed at Penn State University and after graduating... professionally.
In 2002 Sherri became the Head Women's Golf Coach at Monmouth University.
Sherri's been there/done that. So she is a great source of information on what's happening out there to address this issue. Listen to what she has to say...
I never realized how much was happening right now to address this issue. Thanks Sherri! I feel so much better now. There is hope!
Now, let's turn that hope into reality. Start spreading the news people! Hmmm...why do I suddenly have an urge to put on a Frank Sinatra CD? ;)
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Yes, I’ve heard the typical answers about women being too busy juggling work and family, but hey…men have work and family too and they don’t seem to have that problem. No, it’s got to be more than that.
I really want to encourage more women to play golf so I decided I’d chat with other golfers who love the game and find out what they think about this issue and what they think could be done to add more X chromosomes to the fairways.
Let me introduce to these great golfgals and guy who helped with this post...
Here's what my golf panel had to say...
Why do you love golf?
Aimee: "I love the mental part of it is great (competing against yourself), but I also love being outdoors."
Apryl: "One of the things I love most about golf is when I am playing or hitting well. There is nothing more satisfying than having someone take a look at you and think you can't play very well based on your appearance. And then you hit your six iron farther and straighter than they hit their driver."
Christy: "I grew up playing the game and was always the only girl. I place myself among a select few (women) who are truly passionate about the game and the business. What I love most about the game of golf is the ability to play it forever. Any age, any ability can enjoy this great game. I personally enjoy the quiet morning rounds alone.....I play my best....I have clear thoughts.....there is nothing like it. I love to see other's hit that perfect shot or make that one special putt. It's pure joy. One shot truly keeps us coming back time and time again. "Kevin: "My wife likes the fashion side of golf. At the club we used to read Golf For Women magazine. The reason my wife liked it was for the fashion."
So "a select few" obviously love this game. Why don't more women feel like we do?
Patricia: "A number of things: The culture of the sport is male, and golf courses, ranges and clubhouses are still male dominated. Many women don't feel comfortable in male dominated environments so they dont start. Then there's this idea that in order to get out onto a golf course one needs to be able to play somewhat well. And, hello...it takes a most of us a couple of years of practice to play somewhat well. Thus many women and even me are discouraged early on because they feel like they'll never get out onto a course. On top of all that women have so many things competting for their attention. Much more than men do.Kevin: "My wife will only play golf when the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees. She's taken lessons and has a really good natural swing and understanding of the game. However she's hard on herself and doesn't want to practice - she just wants to go out and be good."
Christine: "Golf is a sport that has been traditionally male oriented. Women have made huge strides in the workforce over the last century, yet there are areas that have not progressed at the same rate. The recognition of women in sport as a viable source of entertainment still lags behind men in sport, even if the quality of the entertainment is equal. It is a social mindset that requires change through education and awareness."Apryl: "I'm sure this won't come as a surprise...I believe that more women don't play because of the underlying misogyny that permeates the sport. It seems as though many times women are expected to start with a boxed set of clubs or some hand-me-downs and never really develop a game. In addition, some men will make it very clear that they are not interested in seeing women on the course unless they are driving the beer cart."
Christy: "I can speak from my experiences currently as mother and wife. Women have been programmed to be caretakers. Women have jobs outside of the house and inside the house. They have families to raise. Women are the ones who shuttle the kids to and from school and activites. They're the ones who put dinner on the table and make sure the clothes are clean and ready to go. So when it's time for a lady to take time out for herself.....it's not usually at the golf course. Golf by design takes up a chunk of time. It's time consuming to learn and play. On the weekends....it's historically men who are out playing their morning round while a woman is occupied with the family.
Take away a family and husband. and women aren't playing golf because there's not another woman to play with them. It seems as though most women don't want to do it 'alone'. Women are hindered by the current stereotypes in place. Everyday average golf courses are no-man's land for most women golfers. They don't feel welcome when they walk in and get eye rolls from the kid behind the counter, the starter/ranger at the first tee, the men on the range and on the tee. The ladies can come in groups or alone....and there is no welcome mat layed out. I feel this way every time I walk into a new place. I luckily have the have the personality, knowledge of the game, and golf game to stand out and silence the critics. But it doesn't come easy. Golf is male dominated. I am married with kids yet play golf with predominantly men.....none of whom are my husband. That doesn't sit well with some. I'm not out there for dates...lol....I'm there to get my golf on. Some people don't understand that women and men can participate in activites together that don't involve physical attraction. It's ridiculous really."
Aimee: "For a lot of women, the time you need to dedicate is not possible with family responsibilities. Most of the women I know who play don't have kids or their kids are older and self-sufficient. There's the perception (that a lot of men perpetuate) that it is a way for men to 'escape' from their wives. In many ways, it is still seen like a fraternity or men's club."
What could be done to encourage more women to play?
Christine: "Women like the connectedness of being with other like-minded women. The social component of golf is a good place to start to bring new women to the game. Encouragement of younger women, the publicity of women golf tournaments, the legitimacy of women golfers – that will help to build the awareness and recognition of golf as a viable women’s sport."Apryl: "A good start to encouraging more women to play would be to remove the boxed sets of women's clubs. Let women learn and then demo clubs just like the men."
Christy: "I work with my club's ladies program and REALLY focus on the mom's during summer junior clinics. If their kids are out playing....that's a perfect chance for the mommies to get into the game and share it with their kids."
Patricia: "Get them out on the course more quickly. A good basic understanding of etiquette and the principals of the golf swing should be covered in a couple of sessions at the range, then new players should be taken out to a par three to play. After that it should be one lesson/two round one lesson/two rounds. Playing should start almost right away or it'll be hard to get anyone to stick with it. Part of instruction for women should be confidence building and dealing with resistance."
Aimee: "Make it more appealing for the public course golfer, not the country club chicks who buy alligator skin golf bags. Have content for the serious golfers who play golf for the sport/competition (not as a fashion show)."
Kevin: "When I asked my wife what she thought would make more women play golf, she said, 'I would play more if I knew I would look cute doing it.'"Well, it was fun hearing the different perspectives on this topic. Thanks so much Aimee, Apryl, Patricia, Christy, Christine and Kevin! Your ideas were great.
Now, I'd like to add one more idea to that list...
Every woman golfer in the world should encourage 1 girlfriend to take up the game:
- Introduce her to a good teacher who relates well to women and teaches all aspects of the game.
- Take her shopping for a good set of clubs, and of course, a great golf outfit (or 2 or 3). DON'T send her into Golftown alone!
- Help her set realistic goals.
- Make practice fun by meeting her on the range to hit a few balls before you head out for an evening.
- Take her to par 3's to get her feet wet w/o the pressure or time of 18 holes, or playing with men who still think "golf is for boys - shopping is for girls".
- Introduce her to other golf gals and schedule a weekly "9 and dine" during the summer with those ladies. She'll not only have fun, she'll make a lot more new friends.
- Encourage her to never give up! Be there for her when she's ready to pack it in (we've all been there).
- When she's ready for "the big 18", play twilight golf when there are fewer "serious" golfers on the course.
- Keep it friendly and laugh a lot on the course.
- When she’s ready, pass the baton to her – i.e. Get her to encourage another girlfriend to play when your friend's ready to be a mentor to her.
Today only 23% of golfers in the USA are women (that's about 7 million people). Can you imagine what would happen if even 10% of those women encouraged one more woman to play? And then what if those new players did the same thing the next year with their girlfriends? Continue that for 10 years and we'd would almost double the number of women in the sport.I realize it's not easy, but as the old cliche goes, "Nothing worth having is ever easy".
Next week, I'll draw upon the expertise of my "golf panel" to talk about women in golf forums. If you think there are few women in golf, you should check out the forums - They take GOLF very seriously.Golfgal