One of the most famous women golfers early in history was Mary Queen of Scotts who brought back the game of golf after it had been outlawed by the King. He feared golfers were spending too much time playing the game and not practicing defensive skills like archery to protect the country. During the Victorian period women faced three major challenges with the game: 1) wardrobe; 2) they were prohibited from entering clubhouses; and 3) course restrictions as to when they could play. Oddly enough many of these restrictions were still obstacles for many women wanting to play golf well into the late 1990’s. But step by step, or I should say “swing by swing,” women’s golf began to evolve.
The LPGA was founded by 13 women in 1950 and is the oldest, longest running women’s professional sports organization. These women did it all. They organized the travel, ran tournaments, notified the media, were rules officials, presented awards and juggled families all at the same time. Today the LPGA has a professionally staffed 21,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Daytona Beach, FL that includes two 18-hole championship courses and outstanding practice facilities. The LPGA hosts three tours: the Futures Tour (88 members) for up and coming talent, the LPGA Tour (491 members) and the Legends Tour (80members) . In addition to the playing professionals, the membership includes over 1,300 professionals across the globe who specialize in teaching, coaching and managing golf facilities. The PGA has opened its doors to women as well. 762 women are members of the 22,303 Class ”A” members of the Professional Golf Association of America and many more are apprentices in pursuit of membership.
Title IX allowed more and more women to experience the opportunity to play golf and benefit from college scholarships. The NCAA sponsors over 2,100 women’s golf scholarships, a big reason why many high schools and grade schools are now hosting golf teams for young women to learn the sport. Women have discovered the relationship between golf and opportunity and are seizing the opportunity for scholarships and to develop business contacts, the opportunity to meet new mentors and have fun with friends, the opportunity to challenge themselves to reach new goals and to enjoy the great outdoors.
Today Women’s Golf is a booming business. Golf club manufactures have come full circle. They’ve advanced from having no clubs for women, to one set that they tried to put all women in, to recognizing that women come in all shapes and sizes offering equipment choices based upon skill level and not gender. Golf courses now recognize the different skill level of women and offer a variety of tee boxes on the golf course instead of one set of tees for all women. The golf fashion industry offers a variety of clothing choices, designer shoes and many accessories.
Golf courses recognize that women golfers are an important part of the game and many are hosting activities for Play Golf America’s Women’s Golf Month in June. Go to www.playgolfamerica.com and type in your zip code to see what activities are available for you. If you have never played golf before but would like to learn, the Get Golf Ready Program offers a series of 5 one hour lessons to introduce you to the game of golf. The series is fun and informative including an introduction of the rules & etiquette of the game. Check with your local LPGA or PGA Professional about all kinds of instructional opportunities that range from the first time player to the more advanced, from juniors to seniors and all in between.
Golf is a game for a lifetime. It is never too late to begin to enjoy the many benefits of golf. Join us at Millcreek Golf & Learning Center for a morning of FREE GOLF EVENTS FOR WOMEN on Saturday, June 26. The morning will begin with a free Yoga for Golf class by Jeanne Peck. Jeanne is a certified Yoga instructor who specializes in Yoga for Golf. PGA Professionals will be on hand for FREE club-fittings. This is a great opportunity to have a professional look at your golf clubs and grips to make sure they are helping you play your best golf. LPGA & PGA member Karen Bukowski will offer a free putting clinic for women. Karen will explain ways to improve your putting and reduce your golf score. All morning events are free. The afternoon events begin at 12:00 Noon and include lunch and a Woman’s Scramble for a nominal fee. Proceeds benefit John Kanzius Research. For more information or registration call 835-5168.