What are the biggest discussion points with women golfers right now?
10 Things Women Golfers Are Talking About
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 (when and where possible) up and down the country.
Here below are the top-10 things that women golfers are talking about right now.
Things You Don’t Miss Until They’re Gone
The Covid-19 crisis has made women realise just how much they value the benefits of a club membership.
Being unable to play golf is frustrating, but a sense of belonging, having somewhere to go, and mixing with a group of like-minded women, are the things they have missed most during lockdown.
Communicating by phone or online simply doesn’t cut it, and women cannot wait to return to the regularity of meeting in person to find out what is going on in people’s lives, having team talks, planning away-days and golf holidays, or discussing the latest golf fashion.
Being Lady Captain
It was once such an honour to even be asked by your golf club to be Lady Captain, but nowadays it is more a case of twisting someone’s arm to take on the role.
The incoming Lady Captain 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.
Unfortunately there is an all too often response of, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
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.
For the best part of a year and counting, golf clubs have been closed due to the Coronavirus lockdown, and now it’s AGM season with proposals on the table to increase annual subscriptions.
Peoples’ personal circumstances differ, but the uncertainty of this ongoing crisis and financial restraints means that golfers are reluctantly questioning the value of their membership.
Members recognise that golf clubs are under huge financial pressure and wholeheartedly want to support them, but should loyalty be a one-way street?
Let Women Through
It is important for all golfers to respect pace of play, but why is it 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.
Frustration occurs when despite a loss of 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.
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, so it is unlikely that such a facility takes priority or gets the backing it deserves at largely male-dominated club committee meetings.
However, golf clubs should be inclusive and respond to all its members’ needs.
Handicaps for Everyone
England Golf has caused a stir after announcing a plan to create a platform that will offer the community of nomad players an official handicap.
Backed by The R&A, the intention of the scheme is to help bring all golfers closer together, distancing the ‘them and us’ attitude between members and non-members, which should ultimately help to grow the game.
Club members currently pay for the privilege of an official handicap through their affiliation fee to England Golf and many are yet to be convinced of the fairness and merits of the new scheme for independent players.
Despite assurances from England Golf, there is concern about how the handicaps of independent players will be accurately monitored without leaving handicaps open to abuse, especially in Open competitions.
As soon as lockdown lifts and golfers get the green light to travel again, either within their home country or abroad, women will be at the front of the queue.
They are keeping faith that travel will resume over the coming months, and discussing the likely possibilities of when and where to go, and whether or not to sign up for events.
Women love nothing more than visiting other golf courses to play in Open competitions, and they look forward to an away-day or a girlie golf break.
Therefore, golf clubs, travel companies and event organisers should consider what they could offer this captive audience when they are set free.
Women and fashion go hand-in-hand, and the impact of Covid-19 has not quashed interest in browsing and buying the latest golf gear.
Women might have to wait a little longer for an in-store experience, but online shopping for versatile clothing that can be worn on and off the golf course, is providing a much-needed boost.
To have a wide choice of styles and colours is important, if only to avoid arriving at the golf club wearing the same outfit as your playing partners.
Women are talking about the US brand Tail (available in the UK) because unlike most brands that introduce their collections twice a year, Tail makes a new drop every month.
Related: The best women’s golf clothes
Mixed Golf is the way Forward
There is an increased appetite for mixed golf events at professional and amateur level.
This is welcome news because if golf is to survive and flourish, the sexes cannot be segregated as they have been for a number of years.
Club members are enthusiastic about new mixed competitions for 2021; The National Clubs Mixed Team Knockout Championships, open to all clubs in England, Scotland and Wales, and England’s Ping Mixed Betterball, an event which follows up on the long-running and successful Ping Women’s Fourball Betterball.
The merger between the LPGA and Ladies European Tour (LET) came just at the right time, as without the LPGA’s support, the LET would be struggling to survive during the Covid-19 crisis.
The partnership will provide a brighter future for women’s professional golf, but until the 2021 LET schedule is announced, players in Europe have to remain patient.
It is a different story across the pond.
The Symetra Tour (the feeder tour to the LPGA) begins in March and has 20 tournaments on the schedule and $3.8 million in total purses.
Players will compete for more money on a weekly basis than ever before in the 41-year history of the Tour.