It may not be strictly accurate to refer to golf as a “macho” sport – because it is not – but there is no doubt that up until very recently it was seen as largely an exclusively male one. It was not that long ago that the Augusta National Golf Club refused admission to women – although it no longer has a gender bar on joining it does have women on the waiting list to join, and when spaces become available it is expected that they will join. This has not helped the reputation of golf as a sport of equal opportunities, but the truth of the matter is that ladies’ golf is becoming increasingly popular.
The popularity of golf among ladies has increased with a number of marketable personalities emerging on the scene of women’s professional golf. Most notably Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie have raised the interest in ladies’ golf and have become top sports stars in their own right. Although typically women play shorter holes than men (the tee area is generally moved forward by a set distance for women’s matches), the fact that golf is not entirely a “power game” has meant that women can compete with men in the same tournaments.
While ladies’ golf remains in the shadow of the men’s game commercially and in terms of publicity, there can be no denying that it has made great advances in recent years, and this has led to an increase in its popularity among amateur female players too. This is set to change the makeup of club memberships as time goes on – with other results which remain to be seen.