There Was A Huge Step Forward For Women's Golf This Week, And It's About Time

Female golfers have to work twice as hard as men to achieve equal treatment, but in some areas the gap is finally shrinking

Epson Tour
Kaleigh Telfer of South Africa at the 2023 Epson Tour Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If ever proof was needed, Jody Brothers, Chief Business and Operations Officer of the Epson Tour - the official qualifying tour of the LPGA - has highlighted the disparity between the men’s and women’s professional tours.

Posting on X (formerly Twitter) ahead of the Epson Tour’s third event of 2024 at the Atlantic Beach Country Club in Florida, Brothers recounted his shock at an event almost a year ago when he witnessed an Epson Tour player buying golf balls in the pro shop.

Before joining the Epson Tour, Brothers served as the Vice President of Business Development for the PGA Tour. Having worked on the men’s side of the game, the notion of a player having to purchase their own golf balls would have been unheard of at a men’s tour event.

Disturbed by the situation, it became Brothers’ mission to find an equipment supplier, and Callaway has now stepped up to the mark. At Atlantic Beach Country Club and all events going forward, the brand will supply its new Chrome Tour golf ball and gloves to any Epson Tour player who wishes to use them. Additionally, Callaway staff will visit the players a handful of times each year to fit them with equipment at no charge.

In golf, there is substantial money to be earned at the top, but for players on the lower echelons - especially in the women’s game - with travel and accommodation expenses, along with the cost of equipment such as golf balls and gloves, trying to make it as a professional golfer is a significant financial struggle for the majority of players.

American professional golfer Hannah Gregg is a product of the Symetra and Epson Tours and knows only full well the financial strains of being able to compete week in, week out.

She said: "It doesn't matter if you're a great player or not, the emotional toll of thinking about how much every single tournament is costing you - especially if you don't have funding or you're working in a pro shop or something and kind of scraping together that money. It really does wear on everyone the same.

"It was shocking to me that they didn't pay expenses for anyone on the PGA tour before, but they have that 500,000 stipend now," she added. "We don't have anything like that on the women's side, obviously, and the expenses are what kills you."

Hannah Gregg

Hannah Gregg

(Image credit: Hannah Gregg)

Brothers is committed to moving the dial to lessen the gap between the development and main tours. Working with the team at Tour Vision Promotions this week, new standards have also been set for the way in which players and caddies are treated, including providing breakfast and lunch every day of the week instead of just during competition days.

Undoubtedly, Brothers and the Epson Tour team have worked tirelessly to ensure support for its players, who must work twice as hard as men, if not harder, just to be seen as equal. It’s a real shame that support did not come naturally and much sooner from within the industry, rather than Brothers witnessing an incident and taking it into his own hands to ask a brand for help.

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.