8 Things Women Golfers Fear

Alison Root considers the things that women golfers fear most, which often doesn't involve hitting the ball

8 Things Women Golfers Fear
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

We all know that golf is a difficult game to conquer and even if you have mastered the skills, there are so many outside components when you are on a golf course that can throw your game off track and trigger a mental collapse.

I have played golf for over 25 years and play off a handicap of 14, so over this period of time I have witnessed and discussed an assortment of things with golfing friends (male and female) that can often raise anxiety levels, but here are 8 that many women fear most.


(Image credit: Tom Miles)

If there is one shot that feels many women with dread, it’s a bunker shot. Pressure begins to mount as soon you announce, “Oh no, it’s gone in the bunker!” and then you hope against hope that your eyes have deceived you and that the ball has fallen short of the sand. You walk anxiously to the bunker with a sinking feeling, which is then heightened if you find that your ball has either plugged in the sand, is tucked under the lip, or is right at the back of the bunker. Sound familiar?

No On-Course Toilet

As we all know, a round of golf takes a good few hours, so golfers can easily get caught short, and when you need to go, you have to go! With no on-course toilet, it’s not easy or comfortable for women to find a secure place to hide and squat down behind a tree. Most women would rather try and hold on until they return to the clubhouse, but then it is difficult to concentrate on playing golf when you are bursting to go! It is also particularly unsettling for women during their period.

Pressure From The Group Behind

8 Things Women Golfers Fear

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

When you stand on a fairway or on a putting green preparing to play your next shot, there is nothing worse than catching the eye of the group behind standing with their hands on their hips. The likelihood is that you have been waiting for the group in front to speed up, but you suddenly feel extremely pressurised and decide to take on complete responsibility for pace of play. Instead of taking your time, you rush your pre-shot routine or dismiss it completely, you swing too fast and ultimately hit a bad shot.

Use Your Shots

Golf’s handicap system means that players of all abilities can play and compete together on a level playing field, but women with high handicaps often fear playing with better golfers. “You’re so much better than me,” “I hope I don’t put you off,” “I called my friend last night and told her I was worried about playing with you,” are just some of the comments made by high handicap golfers.

Of course, better players are sympathetic, we’ve all been there, but golf is a very selfish sport and new or high handicap golfers must realise that players are only concerned about their own game, unless they are partnered with a high handicap golfer and then they will be thrilled to receive so many shots!

Playing Over Water

Playing Over Water

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

There’s something about hitting over water that induces panic. Women stand on the tee or the fairway, consider the yardage and then a negative mindset sets in as they contemplate whether or not they have the ability to make the carry.

Golfers will often say, “There is no water” to help instil confidence, but it’s often a little too late, nerves take over and ultimately a tensed shot will meet a watery grave. For women that lack distance, the same can be said off the tee if there is an extensive area of rough to clear before reaching the fairway.

Other Women

In any club environment there are cliques, which doesn’t always create a healthy atmosphere. In most cases, men will openly air any grievances in order to move on from a subject as quickly as possible. However, women can be their own worst enemies, and as result of tittle tattle going on behind people’s backs, which never remains a secret, women fear of being drawn to play with another woman if there is an underlying issue or believe that they won’t be made to feel unwelcome.

First Tee Jitters

8 Things Women Golfers Fear

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Every golfer wants their first drive of the day to be a good one, and while it’s natural to have first tee jitters, sometimes we let our emotions take over as thoughts such as, “Just get the ball airborne,” “Please don’t top it,” “I really don’t like an audience,” begin to surface. Of course, men suffer with first tee nerves too, but women can be very self-conscious about their ability when they tee up – fear of failure, fear of what others will think.

In front of a group of men, women subconsciously put extra pressure on themselves to hit a good drive, wanting to prove that the divide in men’s and women’s golf is not so great after all!

Seeing Double

If women buy their golf clothes from the same pro shop, it’s highly likely that a woman will arrive on the tee, only to see a fellow golfer wearing a similar or exactly the same outfit. It’s an ‘Oh no!’ moment.

Of course, far worse if this happens at a social function, but as most women are self-conscious about their appearance, it’s human nature that they will judge how an outfit shapes up on them compared with the next woman, focusing on this rather than their upcoming tee shot.

Alison Root

Alison Root has over 25 years experience working in media and events, predominantly dedicated to golf, in particular the women’s game. Until 2020, for over a decade Alison edited Women & Golf magazine and website, and is now the full-time Women's Editor for Golf Monthly. Alison is a respected and leading voice in the women's game, overseeing content that communicates to active golfers from grassroots through to the professional scene, and developing collaborative relationships to widen Golf Monthly's female audience across all platforms to elevate women's golf to a new level. She is a 16-handicap golfer (should be better) and despite having had the fantastic opportunity to play some of the best golf courses around the world, Kingsbarns in Scotland is her favourite.