When Reade Tilley began dating his now wife, Meghan Glennon, he would take her on work trips for Kingdom, a high-end golf-lifestyle magazine. Glennon, a photographer and writer, would often contribute to Kingdom, but found one thing perplexing: why wasn’t there a magazine for women who love golf.
“It was a good question,” Tilley said.
It wasn’t long before Tilley and Glennon approached Kingdom’s publisher, TMC USA, who quickly jumped on board. Soon after, they created an editorial advisory board decked with LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, golf announcer Kelly Tilghmam, LPGA player Paula Creamer, LPGA legend Rene Powell, and LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.
And thus, Women’s Golf Journal was born.
Now in its second year, the magazine has seen steady growth, finding an audience with not just women who love golf, but those who are also interested in the lifestyle of the game.
“We’re a lifestyle magazine, unapologetically focused on the beautiful places the game can take you, the opportunities and benefits it presents to women at work and at home, and the fantastic people you can meet through golf,” Tilley said of its content.
But that’s not to say, the magazine shies away from topics often overlooked. From stories ranging from Muslim women in golf to their “Locker Room Talk” piece where several leading women in sports journalism shared their experiences with sexism in their field, WGJ is not your typical golf publication.
And the women showcased in the magazine aren’t necessarily golf fiends either. “It’s important to Meghan that we seek to showcase and to empower women in fields beyond golf as well,” Tilley said. “Our food editorials will always feature a female chef. Yoga, a female instructor. Golf instruction, an LPGA T&CP pro or female PGA of America pro. Featured executives will be women. And so on. And if our subjects have never golfed, we encourage them to pick up a club.”
Perhaps the most important component of the magazine are the stories told about professional women’s golf. There’s an emphasis on making sure that LPGA players have thoughtful features. LPGA players such as Paula Creamer, Annika Sorenstam, Lydia Ko, and Cheyenne Woods have all had their own covers, and instead of creating lists of the most beautiful women in golf, WGJ wants to put a focus on the most influential women changing the landscape of the game, a surprising anomaly in the golf magazine world.
“I think what’s special about the magazine is that it highlights women in a more dimensional way,” Cheyenne Woods said. “It’s not, ‘So and so is an animal lover,’ but instead highlights the things that make us really unique and interesting. They’re showing us as athletes and as strong women.”
For Woods, this creates a deeper connection to the audience reading the publication, saying, “Because they focus on different dimensions about us, it becomes relatable to so many people.”
This is what the mission behind WGJ has always been. “Meghan always wanted this to be not just a great women’s golf magazine, but a great women’s magazine as well, with content that young girls could look up to and that women of any age would enjoy,” Tilley said.
And with an emphasis on writing quality pieces about the women in golf, Tilley hopes other golf media publications begin to realize that women’s golf can garner a strong audience.
“We have an office in London and there are four substantive women’s golf magazines in England. In a country roughly half the size of California with something like 50 million people in it, the market is big enough to support multiple magazines dedicated to women’s golf,” Tilley emphatically said.
For those at WGJ, this only highlights that women’s golf has a place in the media world, and that there’s enough interest to sustain it. And currently, as the only women’s golf publication on American newsstands, WGJ doesn’t have any direct competition.
However, Tilley welcomes others to join in.
“It’d be great if there was a hardcore women’s golf magazine that covered stats and scores from all of the global tours, and kept up on the business side of the game, then another that focused on technical instruction and deep equipment reviews, and so on. We’re just one voice, and there are many voices and sides to the game,” Tilley said.
One thing is for certain, cementing why Tilley believes WGJ will continue to flourish and grow.
“With so much talent on the LPGA and Symetra Tours, with so many talented people in media, and with the right visionary sponsors on board, there’s no limit to the women’s game,” Tilley said, “And people should embrace that because, if you go by today’s numbers, then there’s one truth that emerges: whether or not there’s currently a budget to market to them, women are the future of the game.”