Women leading the way into the future
By Missy Jones • @missyjonjones
March 15, 2018
As I listened to LPGA Founders, Marilynn Smith and Shirley Spork, and LPGA-Girls Golf Founder, Sandy LaBauve this morning it struck me - the state of golf for women is very bright. Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when we hear that a player with the pedigree of Juli Inkster can’t get a single sponsor, but I’m feeling more optimistic today.
I never tire of hearing the stories of Marilynn and Shirley as they talk about how doors were shut on them when they founded the Tour in 1950 and how hard they had to work to kick them open. They promoted and grew the LPGA by going to baseball games and boxing matches and tirelessly looking for money while driving across the country in caravans competing. Every once in awhile a door would open due to their efforts, but many doors remained shut. The following generations have built on the efforts of the Founders before them and follow Commissioner Mike Whan’s directive to “think like a founder.”
Sandy LaBauve talked of many more doors being open for her and the women of her generation and that her daughter, as a teaching pro at Sea Island, Georgia, sees all the doors wide open now. She thinks anything is possible and it is. The fastest-growing golf demographic is females. LPGA-Girls Golf and other programs like it are changing the face of the game.
If we look at how many more female teaching pros and college coaches are out there today we can only be encouraged. The tide is turning and we are seeing a ground swell of growth in women making a difference in and through our sport. And as these women succeed, they are reaching a hand down to others behind them and bringing them along.
Exposure to golf goes much wider than just trying to build champions. Only a small percentage play well enough to make it on Tour or even elite amateur golf. The game brings with it so many more job opportunities as well as giving every female in the business world a leg up if she plays. Karen S. Carter, Chief Inclusion Officer for DOW, said yesterday, “At Dow we believe in an inclusive environment for everyone where they can really bring their total selves to work. So I see that golf is not only a great game to play, but is a critical business tool. I've worked at Dow for over 20 years now, and clearly golf has been very critical to some of our most important business conversations.” Playing just recreational golf is good for your resume.
So today at the 2018 Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix, AZ I have a renewed sense of Hope. Women are fighters with “no give up” as Marilynn said and they are the face of growth in our game. Sponsors, business executives and human resources people take notice. Put your money where the women are. Studies show that women make most of the buying decisions in families and the numbers clearly indicate that more and more women are filling seats in board rooms and CEO offices. Supporting women’s golf and girls golf is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Women leading the way into the future
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