5 Things Women Golfers Don't Need To Worry About... But They Do!

PGA Professional Emma Booth puts the game of golf into context to help stop unnecessary worrying

Alison Root with club
(Image credit: Golf Monthly - Howard Boylan)

No other sport seems to create the same level of self-criticism, panic, frustration, fear and not forgetting the odd bit of joy, like golf does. Even though we are meant to be doing this for fun, we can’t help but beat ourselves up and let nerves get the better of us.  

Having taught every level of golfer over the years, I have noticed some common themes when it comes to what people worry about out on the course. The number one concern is usually not wanting to make a fool of yourself!  

Without question though, it’s women who I have often found to be the most anxious about playing and being out on the course. I strive to do what I can to reassure them that there really is no need to be so worried, and here are my top 5 worries you can retire… 

The First Tee

No one cares. No one cares except for you that is. Or they care as much as you cared about the first tee shot of the person before you, which was not at all because you were too busy worrying about your own first tee shot. So that’s how the first tee works.  

A bad first tee shot is one of the many bad shots you will hit. Of course, it feels great to send one booming down, but one swallow does not a summer make.  

When it comes to that first tee, think of it like parking your car, you don’t look at all the ways you will mess it up and bash other cars, you focus on the spot you want to go in and park. So, try to stay focused on what you are trying to do and commit to the shot!

Women Golfers

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Prioritising The Enjoyment  Of Others

Of course, it’s good to be a nice person to play with, but when that niceness starts getting in the way of you focusing on your own game, you need to take a step back and remember why you are there, which is to play your own game of golf. 

It goes against societal norms for women to not prioritise others, from a young age girls are conditioned to place value on being nurturing and kind, but this is your time so take it. Take that practice swing, line up the putt, and don’t start a conversation if you think it may affect your focus. Make yourself and your golf game the priority. 

It is possible to find the balance of being good fun and respectful to others while focusing on your own game, but it does take practice. Realising that you only actually play golf for roughly 8 minutes within a round should help you see that there is still plenty of time to catch up, chat and be social, it’s just all about timing. As soon as you put your bag next to your ball for your turn, switch on and focus. After you have hit your shot, look up and enjoy your surroundings and the people you are with.  

Genelle Aldred putting

(Image credit: Golf Monthly - Howard Boylan)

Being Competitive

I’ll never forget being part of this revelation for one of my clients after a few weeks of coaching. She came to see me because her game fell to pieces whenever she got a card in her hand. 

She loved playing golf but hated marking a card and the accompanying nerves she felt having to keep score. I made the following suggestion…"Don’t do it then." At first she was unsure, surely paying for membership and being part of the ladies' section meant she had to play in competitions? The truth is though, it doesn’t. If you don’t enjoy competitions to the point where it’s making you unhappy, don’t do it. Golf doesn’t have to be one thing; it can be what you want it to be. Your leisure time is worth too much.  

On the other hand however, if you are competitive but feel it’s not polite to want to do well or not, dare I say it… ladylike, you can put that thinking straight in the bin and go for it! For me personally, there is nothing better than striving to get better under the pressure of a competition, especially if you enjoy the buzz of making progress. If people don’t like you for it, they are not your people.  

Women golfers wish I'd known

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Slow Play

I can understand this fear. No one wants to be labelled as ‘oh she’s very nice but a bit slow’. In the world of golf, you may as well have a bell round your neck and have people shout, Shame! Shame! Game of Thrones style. When it comes to slow play and avoiding it, knowledge is power. I often compare playing on the course to driving on the motorway, you need to know where you are going and understand to pull over to the slower lanes if the people playing behind you are waiting.  

Understanding the timing of when to let people through is also important, a mirror, signal manoeuvre, if you will. Essentially you want to hit the shots you can and keep moving and then pull over as the players behind are hitting past you.  

Another golden rule is to play ready golf and to always leave your bag in the direction you will be walking next, you never want to have to walk back on yourself.  

Once you understand that letting people through is not a sign of defeat or being slow, it just shows good common sense and etiquette. When done correctly, it will only speed up the pace of play for everyone, which is a win win. 

Golf Snob Women

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Playing With People You Don't Know

The saying goes... ‘A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met,’ ahhh how lovely, or alternatively, a stranger you haven’t met out on the golf course for up to four hours could be someone incredibly annoying or even worse, boring! Yes, it’s a gamble of your leisure time to spend it with people you don’t know. You may end up playing with people who completely put your golf out of whack because they do things that unsettle you, but trust me, if your goal is to be a better golfer it will make you far more resilient and level you up.  

I fully appreciate that at the time, when you're in the thick of it, it’s hard to keep this in mind. Over the years I’ve lost count of the stories I’ve heard from women of how playing with someone bossy and unpleasant has completely knocked their confidence and put them off playing altogether, but you mustn’t let them get you down. As in life most people are good and just trying to have a nice time, you just need to find your people. I always say joining a new golf club can feel like being the new girl at school.  

Having started countless women’s golf groups over the years I can honestly say nothing warms my cockles more than seeing some of the new friendships made through learning and playing. I’m not just talking about making new acquaintances, I’ve seen friends made who have helped each other through grief, illness and the ups and downs of life along with the sunshine holidays, games of golf and the hilarity that often ensues. So, take the gamble, put yourself out there, meet new people, because you never know the enrichment their company could bring into your life.  

Three female golfers walking

(Image credit: Future)

To conclude I will leave you with this, years ago I read the book How to Be a Woman by Caitlan Moran. This quote really stuck with me… ‘Are the men worrying about this?’ When it comes to being on the golf course, I don’t think they are, they are there completely for themselves and to have a good time which is what we should all be striving to do. Golf is for everyone and should be time out from having to serve anyone else’s needs. So, if ever you find yourself getting a bit stressed take a breath and remember why you are there, for you.   



Emma Booth

Emma has worked in the golf industry for more than 20 years. After a successful amateur career, she decided to pursue her true golfing passion of coaching and became a qualified PGA Professional in 2009. In 2015, alongside her husband Gary, who is also a PGA Professional, they set up and now run Winchester Golf Academy, a bespoke 24 bay practice facility offering not only all the latest technology but a highly regarded bistro. Emma is happy coaching all golfing abilities but particularly enjoys getting people into the game and developing programs to help women and juniors start and improve. Her 2022 Get into Golf program saw more than 60 women take up the game.

Emma is a member of TaylorMade’s Women’s Advisory Board, which works to shape the product offering and marketing strategy with the goal of making it the number one brand in golf for women. When not changing lives one swing tweak at a time Emma can be found enjoying life raising her three daughters and when time allows in the gym.