The Future of Women’s Golf Coverage

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The Future of Women’s Golf Coverage

How do we bolster the image of women’s golf? It starts with a bit more effort from us all
The Solheim Cup - Day One
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Written By:

Anya Alvarez

Anya Alvarez is a former LPGA and Symetra Tour player turned journalist. She writes about gender inequality issues in sports and hopes to provide a spotlight on women in sports making waves. Anya has contributed to publications including ESPN, VICE Sports, the Guardian, and more.

When the United States team secured the Solheim Cup this year, the excitement around their win was palpable. Over 7.3 million viewers watched the Golf Channel/NBC coverage during the three days of competition, and the event set record attendance reaching over 124,000, highlighting that women’s golf can and does engage a captive audience.

While the Solheim Cup is just one example of women’s golf making a splash this past season, the media coverage did not reflect the excitement. Instead, ample coverage throughout the year was dedicated to controversies such as the LPGA dress code, the unfortunate ruling that cost Lexi Thompson a major during the ANA Inspiration last year, and the US Women’s Open being held at Trump National Golf Club instead of excellent golf that elevated the game.

Ron Sirak, who has covered women’s golf over the last two decades, expressed frustration over this type of coverage. “Few things annoy me more than when national sports writers parachute into an LPGA event when a tangential issue is brewing to cover it but then don’t bother to cover the actual tournament. If you believe in equal rights for women, you must also believe in equal coverage.”  

This type of coverage also means fans miss out on connecting with who the players are on and off the course.

LPGA players are the most accessible athletes in all of professional sports. For a writer, the better you know a player the better you can write about them,” Sirak added.

Despite the wonderful and exceptional skills of LPGA players, the perception of women’s golf suffers. Women golfers have to fight back against stereotypes that their golf is less interesting and fun to watch, and the lack of media coverage of the women’s game only compounds these archaic beliefs.

After the U.S. secured the Solheim Cup, Hall of Famer and US Team Captain Juli Inkster said, with the coveted cup in hand, “We don’t get the credit we are due. If we play well, the courses are too short. If we don’t play well, we’re not good enough.” She later went on to say, “The majority of people don’t know how good [LPGA players] are and how well they hit it.  And [that lack of awareness] has a lot to do with our coverage.

Currently, girls under the age of 18 are the fastest growing segment of golf, with more than a 50 percent increase since 2010. With that in mind, this is a prime time for stories in women’s golf to flourish.

So, how do we bolster the image of women’s golf, and where is the best place to start? A simple place to start is how we promote players via social media, and this is something that all golf media companies can easily improve on. A quick scan of golf media’s Instagram and Twitter accounts highlights how women’s golf struggles to find a home there. And with the power of social media, promoting women’s golf on this free platform can help elevate the platform of women’s golf to greater heights.

Next, you can help get more coverage for women’s golf simply by tuning in when women’s golf is on air, attending tournaments if you can, subscribing to women’s golf magazines like the Women’s Golf Journal, and sharing stories like this one about women’s golf with the people in your life. For those who are social media savvy,  tweet to golf media outlets and request more stories of women golfers, or write your own posts about the tournaments. The more women’s golf fans show a desire for women’s golf content, the more pressed golf media will be to provide it.

Women’s golf is growing, and the coverage of it needs to also expand. This means more stories to highlight the women’s talent, but to also feature who these women are as individuals.  

And the added benefit of better coverage of women’s golf? Future generations of women’s golf will have more players to look up to; it will help change the stigma that golf is still a sport just for men, and it could even help viewers learn how to play golf better. 

So join us in helping to get the word out there! Retweet your favorite players, share their posts, and share articles about women’s golf. With your continued support, you can be part of the change and help women continue to live out their dream by showing there is a need and demand for women’s golf coverage.

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John

Re:parachuting in for a event: The absolute minimum for them is to able to pronounce the ladies’ names PROPERLY! There are more issues with these occasional clowns but AT LEAST,learn to pronounce their names!

Lynn

When the Solheim cup was won, not one news station had coverage of it, how sad for the missed opportunity for all news stations! I wrote into our local station and no reply!

John

Looking at the few comments here tells you everything. I am a male 60+ and love watching all golf including LPGA. However, when you the GOLFCHANNEL news segment highlight a ho-hum PGA event or SR. PGA event before a LPGA major at the top of their daily sport news, it shows you where there head is at. Until someone can capture the imagination of the American public, it will not change.

Lance

Go more places with the tournaments! I live in Denver, Colorado and I attended both the Solheim Cup and the US Women’s Open when they were held in Colorado. Attendance at both events was OUTSTANDING. But, do you think the LPGA would take and build on that by having a regular event here in Colorado? Every year I eagerly await the LPGA schedule to see if Colorado finally gets an event for the upcoming season and I’m always disappointed. No event in Colorado since the ’13 Solheim Cup, all that excitement gone now, 5 wasted years.

Andy Lade

I’m not being funny but the TV coverage is pathetic. I bet on Womens Golf most weeks and watch as much as I can. I can think of at least a half dozen tournaments last year where there was a hole in one where you can’t find that footage on You Tube. Most coverage is of a select group of players which is fine unless someone is shooting the lights out and there isn’t any footage of it. It can’t be that hard to cover every group on par three’s can it?

Andy Lade

n other news Moriya Jutanugarn and Azahara Munoz both had holes in one on the first day. Yet again there’s zero tv coverage of either shot which now makes four aces, one caught on film in two weeks. How hard can it be to set a camera up on a par three? Laughably, on the LPGA website they have an highlights reel where there is no mention of any holes in one. You would think an ace might make it onto an highlights package? Posted that on a betting site last year halfway through the Kia Classic. If the LPGA… Read more »

Catherine Baker

Nice article. Glad you mentioned Ron Sirak because he speaks from a place of deep knowledge of the game and he is such a great promoter/supporter of the LPGA. Also, I applaud Mike Whan for clearly building a great partnership with the Golf Channel for the LPGA. In 2018, I’d like to see the Golf Channel take it up a notch and make the LPGA coverage a priority over the Champions Tour and the European tour when two or three events are live at the same time. I would also like to see the broader golf and sports media tweet… Read more »

Joe

Unfortunately not enough Americans win, they would move the needle. I love the LPGA, and have volunteered at ANA for 15 years the ladies are the nicest to fans and press, and great golfers. Golf Channel preempts anytime the LPGA follows another men’s Tournament.

Debra

Let’s get more TV coverage on the major networks.

Donna Johnson

My husband and I both follow the LPGA. My husband says the women are an inspiration to the men who golf and are not professionals. There is much to learn from them. We have been to two Solheim Cups, one International Crown and loved every minute. Top caliber golf as well as friendly, accessible players. Their purses are too small but their talents are huge!!

Daniel

I’ve been a huge fan of the LPGA since Nancy Lopez had her outstanding rookie year. Last year, I traveled to Chicago to watch the women’s PGA championship and to Dallas to watch the Texas Shootout. I completely agree that the LPGA does not get the attention, credit or coverage it deserves.

Kevin Belcher

The greatest way is to get tv coverage of live tournaments. I love watching LPGA but seldom fund live television coverage.

Neil Conlan

Watching Pebble Beach over the weekend, they were talking about this weeks tournaments and they never even mentioned the LPGA Australia event. They mentioned the Web.com tournament though.

Antonio Philipa

Think why. Only serious women golfers follow LPGA. My wife golfs occasionly but does not like all the foreigners on the tour; also for me I like good looking women doing well, like women’s tennis and beach vollrleyball.