10 Things Women Golfers Are Talking About

What are the biggest discussion points with women golfers right now?

Three women golfers on fairway
(Image credit: Future)

What are the biggest discussion points with women golfers right now?

At Golf Monthly we keep our finger on the pulse and our ear to the ground, as we like to stay abreast of what’s being discussed in various golfing circles. We’ve been listening through our various channels to what women have been chatting about recently - discussions raging online and in clubhouses up and down the country. Here below are the top-10 things that women golfers are talking about right now.

World Handicap System

The World Handicap System (WHS) was introduced three years ago and it has not been well received by the majority of club golfers. The WHS is designed to be fairer, but is this the case? More like demoralising for many, especially for players with a lower handicap, as it’s nigh on impossible for them to compete against players who are now receiving so many extra shots since their handicaps have skyrocketed.

For those golfers that play consistently well, this handicap system does show a true reflection of their ability. However, for those former mid-handicap players (15-20) who have now gained an extra 5 or even 10 shots over the last three years, there’s now apathy about entering competitions, probably through pride and a fear of not wanting to increase their handicap even further. Yet when these same players enter a competition, playing off a much higher handicap, on their day they’re likely to win with an amazing number of points!

Ladies Or Women?

How should we refer to females? Should it be ladies or women? This is a question that is being debated more regularly as the golfing landscape continues to evolve.

It will take a long time to phase out the term lady or ladies when it comes automatically to say ladies’ tees, Lady Captain, ladies’ competitions, Ladies European Tour etc. Many women believe that it’s more respectful to be addressed as a lady and why change it? 

Personally, I believe that women is more appropriate in this modern world, as the term ladies is old-fashioned and can be perceived as elitist, especially by a younger generation. We do not describe any other women’s sport as ladies, ie it’s women’s rugby, women’s football etc.

Women Golfers on fairway

(Image credit: Golf Monthly)

Being Lady Captain

It was once such an honour to even be asked by your golf club to be Lady Captain, but now it is more a case of twisting someone’s arm to take on the role. Unfortunately, for many clubs, this situation doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon.

The incoming Lady Captain (if there is one) has to scratch around, working her way through every member in the club diary to find a Vice-Captain to succeed her. The majority of women don’t have the time, commitment or energy to step up to the plate, especially if they have to lead by example.

Ladies’ sections, especially those with a dwindling membership, should seriously bear in mind all the social changes and consider running certain aspects of the section differently to make any involvement a more attractive proposition.

Community Golf

It’s not just club golfers talking about golf. Recent research by the PGA shows that out of the 22.4 million adults in GB&I who engage with golf, 16.3 participate in various forms, including at driving ranges, pitch & putt, adventure golf and simulator venues. What’s interesting is that almost 50% of this number is female.

There are also a growing number of women’s golfing communities, which are encouraging participation, attracting women to the game who would have never considered venturing near a golf course before. 

Skratch Women are growing in strength and as a result the game of golf is growing with them.

Skratch is one of several women's golf communities

(Image credit: Skratch Women)

Let Women Through

It is important for all golfers to respect pace of play, but why is it still the case that most men believe that almost all women are slow players, and rarely recognise the need for themselves to speed up?

Men make no secret of the fact, and they rush to the first tee to get a head start on women. It’s so frustrating, because despite a loss of a hole beyond the group in front, women have to wait patiently, watching men putt out as though the Ryder Cup depends on it, and without a cat in hell’s chance of being let through.

On-Course Toilets

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!

It’s not easy or comfortable for women to hide and squat down behind a tree, and without an on-course toilet, it is particularly unsettling for women during their period.

Men have little understanding of how the absence of an on-course toilet affects women. Of course, there might be financial restrictions, but it is unlikely that such a facility takes priority or gets the backing it deserves at largely male-dominated club committee meetings.

While some golf clubs have listened and an on-course toilet has been installed, there are still a significant number that should make a concerted effort to become more inclusive and respond to all its members’ needs.

Travel Bug

Women love nothing more than visiting other golf courses to play in Open competitions, or travelling far and wide for a golf break. You only have to look at the online Facebook community Ladies Golf Lounge and it’s full of images of women golfers in sunnier climes with tips on the places they recommend.

When winter arrives, It’s understandable that chat turns to planning golf holidays for the year ahead. Turkey seems to be a popular hotspot, as is Mauritius for a trip further afield. Marrakech has made a mark and more women are talking about booking an instruction week with a teaching pro in the spring so their game is in good shape for the new season. And let’s not forget the incredible Solheim Cup. Women are surely considering a trip to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia in September 2024.

Golf in Spain

(Image credit: Ladies European Tour)

Golf Clothing

When it comes to women’s golf clothing, it’s often the same subjects that crop up, including limited stock and sizes in the club pro shop and brands not catering in style or size for larger women.

It’s tricky for the club pro, as they have to cater for the majority of golfers, hence why there is usually a lack of choice for women. Most pros will order in items, but with a number of online golf clothing and accessory companies, it’s often a more convenient and enjoyable experience for women to shop elsewhere. It’s a vicious circle for the club pro because they order in women’s clothes, but even from a limited amount, they might often be left with stock, so why would they order more? 

There are brands featured on online sites like GolfGarb, Love Golf Clothes and Surprizeshop that do offer bigger sizes, or in fact what is an average size for the female population!

Tour Talk

It was back in 2019 that the LPGA partnered with a struggling Ladies European Tour (LET) to strengthen women’s golf and since then the LET has grown rapidly. In 2019, the LET hosted 15 tournaments with a total purse of €11.5. Fast forward to 2023 and a schedule that includes 30 events and a total purse of €35.

This is clearly a successful partnership, in particular for the LET, and there might well be a merger between the two tours in the not too distant future. The relationship is already set to grow stronger in 2024, and while there has been no formal announcement, a plan has been agreed to award the top four players on the LET Race to Costa del Sol end of season points list an LPGA card for the 2025 season. 

Celine Boutier

Celine Boutier currently leads the 2023 LET Race to Costa del Sol

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mixed Golf

The industry as a whole promotes mixed golf because if the game is to survive and flourish, the sexes shouldn’t be segregated as they have been, and still are in many situations.

Annika Sorenstam’s Scandinavian Mixed tournament was back for its third edition in the summer and talk is now turning to the inaugural Grant Thornton Mixed Invitational golf tournament in Florida in December. Charley Hull and Justin Rose, Lexi Thompson and Rickie Fowler, Nelly Korda and Tony Finau, Lilia Vu and Joel Dahmen are amongst the pairings. This tournament is set to be great viewing, and it will also help to demonstrate the inclusive nature of the sport and how the sexes can mix! 

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.