You don’t have to search long to see that the landscape in golf is shifting.
With women and girls picking up the game faster than ever, we have the trailblazing women from generations before to thank, along with the bold leading ladies of today who are creating paths of their own and transforming the game.
In honor of Women’s Golf Day, we’re celebrating the women who are changing the rules and using unique approaches to running businesses and growing brands in equipment, design, instruction, fashion, tech and more.
Read on to find out about these dynamic women who are changing the game:
PGA/LPGA Professional, Suzy, is a mother of two and Director of Instruction at her own golf academy in Cromwell, Connecticut. She is on course to become the next President of the PGA of America, the world’s largest association of golf professionals. She has her eyes set on inspiring change both within her organization and amongst the landscape of the golfing public. Along with many others, I want to see more people playing our game,” says Whaley. “I want people from every background to feel that they are welcome. And I want our professionals to have the resources they need to achieve greatness.”
Turning a concept into a movement with more than 1,000 locations in 50 countries, Women’s Golf Day uses golf as a vehicle to celebrate women and girls, providing golf courses with a platform to get more women to experience the game in a supportive environment. In three short years, Elisa has mobilized an industry around her impactful initiative.
Introduced to the game by founder Sandy LaBauve, Cori sits at the helm of her local LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program, offering year-round events for girls in one of the most active of the 500 programs on the globe.
Take a look at Girls Golf of Phoenix’s Instagram account to see why Cori’s program has become a flagship site, quickly changing the image of golf for girls and parents and serving as inspiration for other junior golf programs.
Tiffany founded Black Girls Golf in 2011, determined help other women of color take advantage of relationship building through golf. She's built a community of more than 3,000 women with locations across 33 states which offer a welcoming space for members to learn, practice and play golf.
While members benefit from the organization’s partnerships with PGA and LPGA teaching professionals, Black Girls Golf also prides itself on offering more than just golf, but a sisterhood on and off the course.
Susan, the driving force behind the 18Birdies brand strategy, marketing and communications, has made it her mission to leverage the company’s mobile technology to attract new golfers and transform the industry by making golf more fun, interactive, and accessible.
She has commissioned studies to gain better insights of motivators for golf amongst women and has shared those findings throughout the industry with fellow decision makers to implement a more inclusive approach industry-wide.
Joanna designed her golf apparel brand, JoFit, to work for women of all shapes by tailoring her pieces to fit a women’s form, golf game, and lifestyle. The brand is acclaimed by amateur golfers, professionals and golf instructors alike for its wide-ranginging style, fit, and ability to transition seamlessly from golf to running errands or dining.
Kate’s “Birdie-isms” make golf skills memorable for young golfers and have become so popular that she has quite literally put them in a box, launching the Birdie Basics and Birdie Basics Pro boxes; a joint curriculum, lecture series, and utility kit that gives parents, teachers, and professional coaches alike the tools and access to implement her popular, New York-based Urban Golf Academy’s proven methods to turn their young students into lifelong golfers.
Former Victoria’s Secret exec, Megan, founded woman-owned and operated company FORAY Golf to address one of golf’s biggest barriers to entry for women: limited clothing options.
Her company’s approach is unique bringing a taste of high-fashion influence to the golf world and edgy social media campaigns which generate excitement and high demand.
The magic of what FORAY does is in its limited quantities sold directly to consumers which means the company can use better quality fabric made in Europe that the big companies can’t afford to use.
Known worldwide as “The One-Handed Lady Golfer”, Gianna Rojas, was born without fingers on her left hand, forcing her to learn early on to adapt herself to whatever life threw at her. She founded Adaptive Golfers then launched AdaptiveGolfers.org to serve as a resource for people with different abilities, helping them play to the best of their potential.
Golf has opened many doors for Lee, and now she’s opening the doors at Topgolf where more than 17 million people a year touch the sport. From reluctant junior golfer to professional tour player and manager to Michelle Wie, Jeehea Lee now oversees a small team that helps expose Topgolf to a broader audience. Among these is Topgolf Crush, which is a mobile Topgolf that replicates the iconic game and experience at different venues.
A former LPGA Tour Player, Anya is on a mission to change the way people view women in sports and lends her voice to media outlets like VICE, Huffington Post, and espnW. In response to the lack of female representation in sports media, she launched Major League Girls (MLG), an online community for girls to share stories about how playing sports has changed their lives.
Donna Hoffman is bridging the gap between the on-course experience and cultivating a community of women who enjoy the game of golf. Her company, Women On Course, offers golf and networking events around the US. Her overall mission is to help women feel like never should turn down an invitation to play whether it’s for business or just for fun.
Jan began her golf course design career with Tom Fazio for more than twenty years before forming her own firm in 2009. Her experience as a registered Landscape Architect, Certified Arborist, and former assistant superintendent have allowed her to present customized programs to PGA of America, CMAA and GCSAA members on topics including “Setting Up Golf Courses for Success”, how to retain and engage more women in golf, environmental sustainability and inclusion of people with disabilities in golf.
Daughter of renowned golf instructor David Leadbetter, Hally chose to forge her own path in golf media by establishing a reputation for her creativity and quick wit, lending her voice and talents as a contributor for GolfforHer.com and Excelle Sports. She’s served as a Social Media Coordinator for Golf Digest, a podcast host, social media influencer and now Digital Producer for the PGA Tour.
Ashley has become well-known for her signature style of storytelling and brand development over the course of her 11 years with Golf Digest. She announced earlier this year she’d be saying goodbye to her role Golf Digest to take on a new challenge serving as Brand Director for a portfolio of six golf companies including Golf.com, Golf Magazine, True Spec, Nicklaus, Golf Logix and Miura.
She’ll no doubt continue to leave her mark in a big way.
Karina Lopez is one of the few non-golfers on our list but is making waves with her communications agency, KC Public Relations, taking on golf industry clients including OnCore and players from the LPGA Tour. With Lopez’s entertainment industry expertise and branding prowess, she’s had a hand in bringing golf to new, female-centric audiences and helping social media influencers, like trickshot artist Tania Tare, amplify their personal brands and businesses.
Women With Drive Founders Tisha Alyn and Nikki B. have grown their social following to more than 160,000 loyal followers while building a golf community for women to motivates them to connect with one another through social media. Their mission is catching on, helping to not only shift the way Millennials perceive golf, but inspiring women to pick up the game.
After retiring from professional golf, Aimee began work as a television broadcaster offering golf advice on-air for a Korean station. She soon realized the potential to reach a wider audience and launched a YouTube channel to share her golf tips.
Golf with Aimee has amassed nearly 130,000 YouTube subscribers, offering tips in both English and Korean and covers various parts of the game, course vlogs, player interviews and Q&A’s.
Jenn started created High Heel Golfer, teaching women how to achieve their personal and professional goals by instilling confidence and using golf as a networking tool. She then went on to run Street Swings, bringing golf simulators, putting greens, and a photo lounges to events. Street Swings fulfills clients’ entertainment, team building, lead generation, and fundraising needs through golf and is changing the way busy people experience the game.
Lynn Marriot, 1992 LPGA Teacher of the Year, and Pia Nilsson, head coach of the Swedish National Golf Teams from 1990-’99, are world-renowned golf coaches and are most famous for their golf coaching program, VISION54, which focuses on the human being playing golf, not just the technical aspect of the game. Their methods have been used by Tour players including winner of the 2018 US Women’s Open, Ariya Jutanugarn, who could be seen taking cleansing breaths before each swing and smiling as if she’d already sunk her putt even before approaching the ball.
Between shooting HBO’s Big Little Lies, Kathryn admits she loves to spend time at the golf course. She started playing in golf tournaments at age 8 and even considered playing collegiately. Today, the can be found on GolfDigest.com as host of a 15-part digital series titled “How To Golf with Kathryn Newton,” which covers everything a new golfer should know about getting started in golf.
Sisters Seema and Nisha Sadekar have developed a new approach to growing the game. Their marketing and event management company, PGD Global specializes in creating luxury events which combine the golf and entertainment worlds. They’ve hosted celebrity golf tournaments for the likes of Julius Erving and Jalen Rose, and even brought Snoop Dogg to celebrate The Masters during their annual Augusta Jam. The pair specializes in connecting golf to the modern world of trends and fashion to welcome new golfers and businesses to the game.