Talk about golf in a roomful of people, and you will probably see a definite gender split on who takes part in the conversation. The men will speak about which pro golfers will reach The Masters, how their own scores match up, and the latest drivers out on the market. The women will talk about anything else that is not golf related.
Yet women shouldn’t be turning a deaf ear to the golf industry. In fact, for the past decade they have been majorly courted by the PGA and LPGA to spend a few hours out of the day on the course. Not only has this sport industry recognized women as major consumers and participants, they are also quick to remind women that the past decade has shown that this is not strictly a male-dominated sport.
Women’s Role in Shaping the Game
Before focusing on the monumental changes that have taken place in the last decade, let’s first remember it was Mary Queen of Scots who was the very first female golfer who had a hand in defining the game in 1550. She is credited to coming up with the concept of the golf caddy as the person would help carry the clubs across the course. Without this major contribution, we wouldn’t have come up with advanced technologies in remote control caddies to promote walking golf today.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, and we find that women again are taking the spotlight in this industry. The first Women’s British Open was hosted in 2007 at St. Andrews, showing the competitiveness and dedication that women can bring to the sport as they strive to earn a living playing tournaments. In 2012, the Augusta National Golf Club finally opened its doors to invite women to become members after 80 years of being an all-male inclusive club. More recently Michelle Wie, who was the youngest person to play in an LPGA event in 2002 at the age of 12, won the U.S. Open’s Women’s Title 12 years later in 2014.
Today, there are over 6 million women who are golfers in the United States. Woman also account as being the largest segment of new golfers picking up the clubs. Yet the industry has still remained stagnant in taking a more commercialized approach in appealing to woman, as the LPGA and PGA want to change this situation to help keep the sport strong for years to come. Dispelling the myth that men are the gatekeepers of the golf course, and encouraging women to take to the tee, will become a more prominent position of the golf industry when moving into the next decade.