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Traditions, Opportunities and Changes to Women’s Golf

We all understand that the game of golf is steeped with traditions.  While some traditions remain hard and fast, others have relaxed and morphed into new profit centers with the evolution of the game for women.  Here are some thoughts I have on new opportunities, recent changes and a few changes I think are long overdue which we all need to agitate to eliminate if we face them at our course or club.

Let’s start with opportunity first.  Tuesday, June 7, 2022 is Women’s Golf Day (you should be reading this that morning).  WGD was founded in 2016 to get more women interested in golf while encouraging and uplifting those who already play.  It’s an event designed for women of any skill level to participate and there are various events being held around the world on this day.  Elisa Gaudet, a golf industry consultant, founded WGD after growing frustrated with the industry’s at times unfair treatment and attitude towards women.  After battling and winning her fight with breast cancer, Gaudet went on to found this initiative in 2017, and since then, the event has grown into a worldwide phenomenon gaining traction every year.

While it may be too late to find an event this morning, you can still attend an event in your area this afternoon or evening (check your local club or golf store).  Go to to find an event near you.  

Speaking of players from all around the world, it’s Sunday evening and I just watched the final hours of the U.S. Women’s Open which attracted the best-ever international field to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.  This Open had its first title sponsor, ProMedica, (ProMedica is now the official health and well-being partner of the USGA.  This partnership also demonstrates a joint commitment to highlight the importance of addressing health inequities across the nation).  The partnership between the USGA and ProMedica brought the purse of the U.S. Women’s Open to $10 million, the largest purse ever for a women’s event.  This is almost double that of last year’s tourney at the Olympic Club which was $5.5 million.  They say that within two years, the purse will be $12 million.  About time is what I say.  

Minjee Lee, an Australian, just won the $1.8 million dollar payout.  Most all of the “greats”, past and present, Sorenstam, Wie, Thompson, Korda, played in this event, but Minjee held tight to capture the win.  

The runner up, Mina Harigae, who has struggled to make a living on tour, will get a whopping $1,080,000.  Good for her.  Having clothed numerous players when I had my golf apparel line, I can attest to the depth of the struggles of the middle and second tiers of LPGA players.  The ceiling is rising for us.  Still, in two weeks the men’s open will have an even larger purse of $15 million — the winner’s take will be $2.7 million.  

I’m not complaining here.  The game is changing.  Slowly, but it is changing.  Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen women (finally) become members of very old, private men’s clubs.  For example, Augusta announced in 2012 that Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore would become the first female members in the club’s 80-year history.  Last year Pine Valley, under pressure, announced that the club’s first three female members.

In 2014, The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland agreed to open its doors to women, ending 260 years of male-only membership at one of the oldest clubs in the world and paving the way for women to play a role in the sport’s governance.  Interestingly though, as far as I can find, they still have yet to create a changing room inside the St. Andrews clubhouse.  Instead, women, who were allowed to become members from September 2014, must use facilities 100 yards away in a separate building, the R&A-owned Forgan House.  I’m saying again that change happens slowly.  

What should we do and not do?

Continue to increase prize money for both the LPGA and developmental tours.

Why?  Because women drive an estimated 75% of all consumer purchases, per Forbes.  It only makes sense we should be recognized as the economic drivers we are.  There’s sponsorship money out there. Let’s get better organized, and go get more of it at all levels of the game.

Eliminate priority tee times for men and club tourneys for women held only on weekdays.

With just under half of the workforce now female, what are the courses and clubs thinking holding tournaments mid-week?  Even WGD (as mentioned above) is difficult for working women to attend because it’s held on a Tuesday.

These are not new revelations by any means.  But the trends are all good for women and the game right now.  If we keep our focus, the game is developing so we can enjoy it more and more.

Thanks for tuning in.  If you find yourself digging my blog, please feel free to forward it to a friend who might also enjoy it. As always, I would love to hear from you — feel free to shoot me an email to with any questions, comments or suggestions for future posts.

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