Your Voices: Women Speak Out on Golf’s Need for Diversity

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Your Voices: Women Speak Out on Golf’s Need for Diversity

We asked women to share their thoughts on how golf can become a more inclusive space for all
Group of Women Golfers

Written By:

LPGA Women's Network

This article was crafted by a member of the LPGA Women's Network team. Have a story of your own to share? Email us at voices@lpgawomensnetwork.com.

To round-out our focus this month on the topic of diversity and inclusiveness in golf—perfect timing following the recent incident at Grandview Golf Club—we asked executives from companies leading the charge in the space of inclusion, along with golfers and non-golfers alike, to share their views on the topic of diversity and inclusiveness, and where opportunities exist for golf to create positive change.

Their responses were varied, but each hit on a common thread: for the game to grow, creating an environment that welcomes a variety of people and approaches to enjoying the game is key.

Read on and share your thoughts in the comments below:

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“To encourage diversity among golfers, specifically women—which is my customer base—I encourage golf course management, and yes, other golfers, to recognize that not all golfers play the game for score. By offering alternative ways to navigate the golf course and ‘breaking the rules of golf’, less skilled golfers can enjoy the game alongside those that are more experienced. By removing the expectation to ‘score’, I have found that the intimidation factor is reduced, allowing a more varied and diverse group of women participating in the game.”

Donna Hoffman
Founder, Women on Course


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“Not only do we need to have women with a seat at the table, but we also have to have women on the course with a club. There are so many critical business conversations that happen on the golf course that women should be included in. In order to be included, we need to have an effective game—it doesn’t have to be perfect, but we have to understand the etiquette and have the confidence to get out there.”

Karen S. Carter
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Dow


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“I confess. I don’t play golf. But throughout my career, I’ve met many women who do, and I know a golf course can be very important in growing your network, learning from those around you, while challenging yourself to make that elusive hole-in-one. It’s important for the LPGA to motivate and equip girls and women around the world to attain their full potential—just as we are working to create a workplace that values all individuals and inspires our colleagues to reach theirs.”

Deirdre Tully
SVP, Diversity & Inclusion and Global Talent Acquisition, XL Catlin


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“We all know that golf should be the most inclusive sport out there; the fact that you can play golf if you're 2 or 102 is what makes this sport really special. But what we find at a golf club can be the complete opposite of the diverse spectrum of players it should have.

A welcoming environment to all patrons of the golf club is a good place to start. But all golf facilities must recognize the fact that a one-size-fits-all model just will not work. What a 50-year-old, long-term member wants will differ greatly from a Millennial newcomer to the sport.”

Emma Ballard
Marketing Manager, Medi8


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“If we want to grow golf amongst any group, regardless of gender or color, we have to start with the kids. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are so many programs reaching juniors of all walks of life. If we want to perpetuate this game for the future it behooves us to make it available to children in a friendly manner.”

Maria Marino
Mayor, Palm Beach Gardens Florida


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“Inclusiveness is the special ingredient that could really bring golf to a new level of participation. In my many years working to introduce women, children, and minorities to the game, one common denominator is fear. Fear that you won’t do the right thing, ask the right questions, dress the right way, or just not be good enough to participate without humiliation. By educating these groups regarding some of the basic rules, providing more funding for free lessons, and eliminating some of the barriers like specific attire rules at courses, the feeling of being welcomed to the sport will resonate.”

Kiernan Schindler
Director, LPGA Foundation

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“We have a daily responsibility to share the tremendous benefits of golf with everyone, especially those who have felt unwelcome in the game in the past. Part of this responsibility is relaxing the boundaries and being flexible about some of the traditions to make sure that golf stays relevant to new players in changed situations. For example, we can start with shorter events at courses and ranges that are more fun for beginners.”

Jane Filing
Founder, WomensGolf.com

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Charles E Dalton

The more I play golf , the more I have come to understand those negative experiences individuals are exposed to. Sadly the world and people in it are not fair. However there are many , who are willing and experienced enough to guide others along providing an enjoyable experience. I truly agree , it begins with teaching our children . I support those who take time to introduce the great experiences that come from playing, such a wonderful game.As adults , it can be difficult at times just to get started. Share your positive experiences with friends .Such as user… Read more »

Gia Murray

There is no excuse for what happened at Grandview Golf Club in York, Pennsylvania. Chasing women off the golf course, in this case for Golfing While Black, is an offense to all golfers. Sanctions or fines should be instituted by PGA, LPGA, USGA, and R and A when obvious racial discrimination is taking place. All women golfers have experienced the bottleneck caused by men teeing off from the tips who can’t even make the fairway. Were the police called?

Sandy Brenner

There is a golf course in Mt. Pleasant Michigan and the starter told us he would much rather have a group of women playing than men. You are so right about playing the tips and playing poorly. Oh my gosh. I have followed men and I have had to wait on them while they spend an inordinate amount of time picking a club and still hack it.

Nancy Gowan

I really appreciated everyone who shared their thoughts on this issue. I took up golf at the age of 47 and just love the game. As an older woman, when I joined a club, we always tee off after the men. For working women, the entire day was gone. The men tee off at the crack of dawn and many stay and drink all afternoon. We don’t get off the course until later in the day and then of course, have to get home and make dinner. So many things have to change, not just the obvious. Many golf courses… Read more »

Cherie Litson

I’ve been playing golf with EWGA since 2001 and I’ve had a few experiences on the golf course and in the pro shops where I’ve been ignored, overlooked while the sales person helps a man, or quite literally pushed aside by the men during golf equipment tryout events. I have seen an improvement over the last few years as golf courses recognize our emphasis on “Pace of Play”! And, while I have not closed any business deals on the course, I have developed relationships with many people and this has lead to business transactions later. Golf is a game that… Read more »

Lynne King

I have found that women are welcome and treated with more respect at country clubs. Public courses are notorious for being sexist though. The women I play with consistently play faster and know more rules than the men I know and they don’t cheat like the men. It has to start from the top, the management cannot assume that because we are women we will slow the course down. The time I have spent waiting on a golf course has always been behind men. And then to make it worse, the men who have to wait behind us blame it… Read more »

Myra Mitchell

I asked one golf pro why men have varied numbers of tee boxes. Women age as well,have disabilities as well. Women my age have men teeing off two or three feet behind them,we are five, ten years older. Answer was a smile and shrug.

Linda

I find that most women play faster, I hate it when the men think they are pros and hit off the blues. They always hit two balls, most of the time they can’t get it past the women’s tees. This season I had men hitting into us, we could not play any faster since the foursome in front of us was held up. Always no ranger to be found or they won’t approach them to say anything. I myself do get frustrated with slow play, but if you know the proper etiquette you will let them play through. We mostly… Read more »

Frank

Tried to watch LPGA VOA tournament on 5-5-18. Guess what. Guys with bellies hanging over their belts were chewing up LPGA tournament time. Guys have a monopoly on the golf channel, playing 168 hours per week. Women get 2 maybe three hours. In what world is that fair. I vote for diversity, but diversity without more playing time might be something of a wasted effort. Just saying.

Frannie Cox

I play with a group of women called ‘Just Golf’ and we only have 2 rules: 1. You must have (or be working to get) a GHIN handicap… to level the playing field. We have players with handicaps from 2-34 and everyone plays well together, and has a chance to ‘win’. 2. And this is one we just added this season, but we feel like it’s the most important! For pace of play – Keep up with the group ahead of you, don’t just stay ahead of the group behind you. Or in other words… keep up with the butts… Read more »

Kathy Korse

I work as a starter at a busy public course in Michigan. The players that play at an excellent pace are the walkers, followed by women, then men, and lastly senior men that refuse to play from tee boxes appropriate to their skill. Strangely enough they are also the ones who complain about women ?!?