Are you a women looking for …
- a sport that you can enjoy and exercise easily?
- an enjoyable physical activity that will help you socialize and make new friends while at it?
- an outdoor sport that will help you meet new friends and get your mind of things?
If you answered yes at least once, Golf may be for you!
Golf is played by millions of women globally. It is a low-risk sport and can engage you at age to gain a range of physical, mental and social benefits while enjoying a popular outdoor sport.
History of Women in Golf
Strong females paved the way
Golf is a sport steeped in tradition, one such tradition being that it is a sport for gentlemen. Some would even say that Golf stands for “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden” when in fact the word comes from the Dutch and Scottish words for “club.” In 2012, there were still 25 golf clubs in the United States that limited their membership to men only. (source) It wasn’t until 2017 that Scotland’s Muirfield Club made the historic decision to allow female members on their course. (source)
Despite the long-standing gender discrimination in the game of golf, women do have a long history of participation in the sport. As early as 1542 women were participants in the sport with Mary, Queen of Scots being well-known for her love of the game. (source) Despite the discouraging words of their male counterparts, women persevered in creating the first official women’s group of golfers, known as the Ladies Golf Union, in 1893. That same year marked the inaugural British Women’s Championship. The Ladies Professional Golf Association was formed in 1950. At the same time, women golfers such as Mildred “Babe” Zaharias were winning championships and out-driving men. (source)
The year 1972 marked another historical shift for women golfers when the LPGA debuted the Colgate-Dinah Shore tournament with a winning prize five-times more than any women’s prize before. Jane Blalock won that inaugural event, noting that it created corporate-type sponsorships, celebrity golf invitations, and commercial spotlights for female golfers. (source) The world began to take note as women stepped onto the professional scene while demonstrating consistent skill and success on the course. Nancy Lopez won nine tournaments, five of which were consecutive, in her rookie year on the LPGA Tour in 1978. Her success that year earned her fame as the only woman to win LPGA Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy in the same year. (source)
Annika Sorenstam joined the LPGA in 1994 and helped usher women golfers into the modern era of prize money. Her success on the course, such as becoming the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in competition, helped her become the first woman to surpass $20 million for career earnings. (source) Despite Annika’s success, there continues to be a significant gender pay gap in the game today (source)
Women have continued to close the gender gap and create a niche in this historically male-dominated sport. In 2017, 5.8 million women played golf on a course. Out of the total number of participants in the sport, 24% of on-course golfers are women and 41% of off-course golfers are women. Female participation in the sport is continually growing, with the National Golf Foundation reporting that 35% of newcomers to the sport are female. (source)
Golf Benefits for Girls
The multiple Benefits for young women
Girls who golf can reap multiple benefits from playing the game. Aside from promoting an active and healthy lifestyle, golf enables girls to spend time outdoors in a safe environment. There are also numerous social-emotional benefits to girls who play golf. Golfing may improve self-esteem and foster the growth of positive self-image, while decreasing the likelihood of participation in illegal or risky behavior. Girls who play golf can learn about competition in a supportive environment, learn from positive role models and meet new friends.
The game teaches and encourages positive life skills such as honesty, responsibility, and independence. Programs such as First Tee encourage participants to develop these skills while learning the game of golf. Some First Tee programs may also provide connections to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf or assistance with college applications and scholarships. (source)
According to a survey by MassMutual Financial Group, sports such as golf can also help girls grow up to become better business women. In their survey of 401 executive businesswomen, the majority felt that sports helped them become more disciplined (89%), become better team-players in the workplace (81%), develop leadership skills (69%), learn to deal with failure (68%), and gain a competitive edge over others in the business world (59%). (source)
Introducing Girls to the Game of Golf
Now that you know the many benefits for girls who play golf, you may wonder how to encourage a girl whom you know to play the game. Taking them on the course with you may seem like a great idea, but golfing 9 or 18 holes can feel overwhelming or long to a beginner or young golfer. Here are my top tips for supporting and encouraging girls to get in the game.
1. Keep it fun
Children are naturally motivated by fun. Find a family-friendly golf course or a course that offers lessons geared for kids. You can also foster interest in the game by having fun at an off-course venue, such as a driving range or indoor simulator. Anytime you are golfing together, focus on fun, praising their efforts and enjoying time together. Providing external motivation, such as treats in the cart or lunch at the club, can be a good motivator as well. source
2. Offer group lessons
Most activities are funner with friends! The girl you are so eager to teach to golf may have more fun and be more motivated when learning with a friend. They might also have fun making new friends during group lessons. Kids feel more comfortable when practicing with friends or other kids of similar ages and abilities. Group lessons are a fun way to learn some basics and feel more prepared to go out on the course. source
3. Be supportive
Girls can feel pressure, or may just not be thrilled with the idea of learning to golf. You can share your own learning experiences and golfing stories to help them feel less pressured or more eager to learn. You can offer invitations to join you on the course, but support them if they decline and try again another time. If your invitation is accepted, gently encourage her along the way and focus on enjoying quality time together. source
4. Watch the pros
While watching a game together, you can point out aspects of the game or simply expose a young girl to positive female role models playing golf. Attending a golf game live is also an awe-inspiring experience. Watching famous female golfers crush it in person is a fun and inspiring way to encourage young girls to participate in the sport. source
5. Join a youth golf league
Youth golf leagues specialize in providing exceptional services including professional instruction, organized tournaments, and social events to encourage youth to play golf. While they are often co-ed, they can be a fun rewarding learning experience. source
Golf Benefits for Women
Learn how Golf is good for you
As with any sport, there are multiple health benefits to playing the game of golf. Women who participate in the game may experience benefits in their overall health, social lives, and careers.
Golf is a great way to stay fit and improve your health. It may not be as intense or sweat-producing as some workouts, but golfing is still great exercise. After all you could be walking for up to 5 hours while carrying a heavy bag of clubs. The average golfer burns up to 1500 calories per round of golf (18 holes). source Additional studies have shown that, in comparison to inactive women, female golfers score better on tests of reaction time, balance, sit and reach flexibility, shoulder flexibility and grip strength. Golf is considered a weight-bearing exercise and as such is great activity for building bone strength and preventing bone disease. Golf may even help you develop a stronger bladder as you learn to hold it until you get to the nearest bathroom on the course. Regular daytime exercise also makes it easier to fall asleep and enjoy longer periods of deep sleep. source
Golf requires some brain power as you play the course and may help improve your attention and concentration. Aside from keeping score, you might think about distance and club choice, the angle of your shot, and any environmental conditions that might effect your swing. Golfing also improves blood flow to the brain, improving nerve cell connections and overall brain health. Because of these brain boosting activities, golfing could even help prevent dementia. source
Men are known for doing business on the golf course, and women can too. One survey revealed that 80% of golfers believe golf is an important business development tool. Golf is an excellent platform for networking with others. It can also be used as a team-building exercise, a way to meet clients, or even to close business deals. Outside of the office, golf is also a great way to spend time having fun with friends.
As with any exercise, golfing stimulates the release of powerful mood-enhancing endorphins in the brain. Golfing is also a social sport, and one that is enjoyed outdoors, which all add to its stress-relieving potential. source
Get Started Playing Golf as an Adult
Golf for women is fun and social with many health benefits, but it can feel overwhelming to get started in the game as an adult. No matter what, don’t give into the feeling that you shouldn’t play because you’re not any good at it. All golfers are always trying to improve their game. Once you learn the basics of a golf swing and some golf etiquette, you can feel comfortable on the golf course and enjoy playing with golfers of all skill levels. source It’s not as daunting as you might think. Here are my top tips to help you get started.
1. Take lessons
Lessons at your local golf course may be the best introduction to golf you can get. Having a professional instructor teach you how to swing a club is extremely helpful in making you feel more comfortable playing with other golfers. Aside from instruction on your golf swing, beginner lessons often include information to help you feel more comfortable around the clubhouse and on the course. Lessons may include instruction in golf ettiquette, details about golf equipment, and tips on accessing the clubhouse, practice areas, and the pro shop. Lessons will also introduce you to the course, common golf terms, and scoring your play. source
2. Become comfortable with the game and equipment
Again, you should take lessons for a good introduction to playing golf. There are also many resources online that can help you develop a better swing. These 10 tips for women were designed to help women improve faster and enjoy the game more. Once you’ve learned about good positioning and posture, and how to swing and grip a club, you’ll need to spend time practicing these techniques to get comfortable with them. Some things may be done at home, but it is extremely helpful to spend time on the putting green and driving range to develop good habits at the beginning. source
3. Buy the right equipment
In the beginning and in the long-run, you will appreciate having quality clubs designed for women. Whether you purchase a set or each club separately, you’ll want a driver, one or two fairway clubs, a couple of irons, a pitching wedge and a putter. Clubs are available for left-handed or right-handed people, so make sure you get what works for you. You’ll also need a bag, which may be included with a set. A glove, some balls and tees are also important items to have. Make sure you have comfortable shoes for walking, and dress appropriately before you head out to the course. Slacks, long shorts, skorts, or ankle length pants with a polo-style shirt is a widely-accepted dress code for golf-courses. source
4. Learn golf etiquette
In order to stay in good standing as a golfer and be welcome on the course, you’ll need to practice good golf etiquette. There are a few factors, such as group size and golfer ability, that will impact your speed of play. If you are slower and find that you’re holding up other golfers, you’ll want to stop and let the group behind you play ahead. You also never want to play to close to others on the same hole, or interrupt others when they’re playing. Another important rule to be aware of is that players take responsibility for caring for the course. Golfers need to repair divots, ball marks, and rake the sand as the occasion calls for it. source
5. Golf with other women
Some men can be very supportive and helpful around women who are learning to play golf, but you may feel more comfortbale golfing with other women. Many courses welcome women golfers and host women’s tournaments, however some private country clubs are not as welcoming to women members. You may want to research courses that welcome women golfers, locate LPGA golf clinics for women, or find a local women’s golf group. source On a similar note, golf is an individual game that can be enjoyed in the company of others. Yes, you can compete with others but it is important not to compare yourself to others, especially men. For the most part, men and women play a different type of golf. Developing a consistent swing and good short game skills will make you successful (and sometimes even better than male acquaintances), but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and excited about golfing. source
Benefits for Senior Ladies
Golf is there to be enjoyed
There are benefits of playing golf at any age, but the greatest benefits might be for older golfers. According to a study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, people who golf live an average of 5 years longer than non-golfers. source There are multiple health benefits for senior golfers that help to explain and validate this finding.
You can walk around 4 miles when you play a round of golf, and the added exercise of carrying and swinging your clubs will help you burn up to 1500 calories. Regularly playing golf can help you manage your weight, which helps combat a variety of illnesses. Golf is also a good exercise for increasing blood flow and improving heart health. This is especially beneficial to older golfers as the risk of heart disease increases with age. source
Golf is a low impact sport. It doesn’t put alot of stress or strain on your joints, making it the ideal sport for older players who want the benefits of participating in a sport but not the risks of damaging joints. source As a weight bearing exercise, playing golf can actually help build stronger bones. Building muscles and stronger bones can help prevent you from developing bone disease. source
Exercise is also proven to improve brain health, and golf offers a mental challenge that will also help you stay mentally fit. Improved blood flow is as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Improving circulation to your brain helps your brain function better and decreases your risk for dementia. Golf provides further exercise for your brain in that you develop hand-eye coordination to hit the ball, visual tracking to follow your ball, and concentration to stay focused during play. The strategy of the game can help keep your mind healthy as well. source
Golf can also be an amazing mood lifter and help you feel better in general. While you’ll want to protect yourself for the sun, it is also an important source of Vitamin D. Many people lack adequate amounts of this vitamin in their diet, but it is important for having more energy, a positive attitude, your body’s ability to absorb calcium and grow new cells. source As with any exercise, golfing can induce the release of mood-enhancing endorphins in the brain, helping to lower stress levels and combat depression. source The social aspect of golf can also improve mood and prevent or combat stress, anxiety and depression. Adequate social support has been linked to increased production of oxytocin which can have a calming effect and decrease anxiety. source It’s also been shown that regular daytime exercise, such as golf can help individuals sleep better at night. Quality sleep is also linked to a variety of health benefits. source
Getting Started Playing Golf as a Senior Woman
Golf is a fun game with many health benefits, especially for seniors. You may know about these benefits, but getting started as a senior golfer may feel daunting at the same time. Here are my favorite tips to help you begin enjoying the game later in life.
1. Learn how to play
Just as with any other age group, you’ll need instruction on how to play the game. While you may have a friend or family-member willing to teach you, it could be most beneficial to take private or group lessons. A golf instructor will help you develop a good swing from the start and stop bad habits from developing. source
2. Buy forgiving equipment
You may be able to rent equipment at first, but investing in a set of clubs that fit you will help you feel more comfortable and have more fun in the long run. For an extra fee, you can request a club fitting to ensure that your clubs fit your size, swing speed and strength. source As I mentioned for women learning to golf, you’ll need to have a variety of clubs, a bag, some balls and tees, a glove, and shoes and clothes appropriate for the course. source
3. Respect golf etiquette
Just like every golfer, you’ll need to practice good golf etiquette. Take care of the course, such as repairing divots and ball marks when they are made, and rake the sand if you have to hit out of a bunker. If you are slower and find that your holding up other golfers, you’ll want to stop and let the group behind you play ahead. source Also, be forgiving with yourself. You won’t be perfect your first time on the course, and quite honestly might find yourself taking alot of bad shots. If you’re struggling, it’s ok to pick up your ball and go on to the next hole. Or pick it up and move up to play from where the other golfers in your group are hitting. source
Whether you’re learning to play with a friend, joining a group of women golfers, or taking lessons by yourself, golf can help build lasting friendships and strong social connections.
5. Have fun
How to stay engaged
and build the habit of golfing regularly
Sometimes life just gets busy and it is difficult to find time to pursue hobbies such as golf. Here are a few tips to help you stay in the game no matter what life throws at you.
1. Invest in lessons
Lessons are a commitment to stick with a schedule and a plan, plus you’ll have an instructor to hold you accountable. The improvement you could see in your game will also increase your movitation to stick with a practice schedule or make regular visits to the course. source
2. Golf while you travel
Don’t let a business trip stop your game. Find a course in the area where you’ll be staying and book a tee time after your work commitments. source
3. Include family in the game
Family time is an important commitment, but there is no reason why you can’t enjoy golf with your family. There are many resources available to guide you on how to include your family in your next game. source
4. Play with friends
There are a variety of ways to use friendships to hold you more accountable to sticking with the game. You might challenge your friends to see who can play the most rounds of golf in a month. A family-friendly tournament with a small prize could be another way to include friends and family. source
If you absolutely can’t make it to the a golf course, you can still be involved in the game by reading the latest golf news, watching the professionals play on t.v., or talking about golf with family and friends.
Women’s Golf Day
Start your Journey on June 2th
Women’s Golf Day is a world-wide event celebrating golf for women. This annual, one day event is planned to occur on various locations on June 1, 2021. Golf courses and retail locations around the world will host this event as a way to engage, empower and support women of all ages in playing golf and improving their skills. Women’s Golf Day supports the Breast Cancer Research Foundation while dedicating four hours for girls and women to play golf and network with other women interested in the game. source