Golf for Women
What separates male golfers from female golfers in the 21st century? Not much, really. Apart from adjustments for distance at many courses, golfing for women is no different from that for men. Take away the physical stature/strength factor for the "average" male and female golfers and what remains is a similar game and a billion-dollar industry on both sides of the gender aisle. So where does that leave golf for women, a few short decades after it became a major industry in itself? While it is hard to break down such a complex sport and business into simple pieces, a brief look at some of the key factors should be helpful.
The establishment of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is probably a great place to start. Before that organization came into being, women already played a U.S. Women's Open, the Western Open and the Titleholders. Tournaments of major status have changed, however, as the Women's Open Championship in the UK is now one of four majors, along with the U.S Women's Open, the LPGA Championship and the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The United States Golf Association (USGA) administers most amateur competition, for men and women. In the UK, the Ladies Golf Union is the premier governing body for ladies' amateur golf. This group organizes the Women's British Open and other championships of ladies golf in Great Britain and Ireland. The Women's Professional Golfers Association (WPGA) was formed in 1978. In later years, the Women's Professional Golfers European Tour was established and the tour name is now Ladies' European Tour Limited. But there is so much more to golf for women than the formal organizations and the major tours. The industry that has grown around golf equipment has a significant sector devoted entirely to women's golf clubs, golf balls, and other equipment. For many years, some of the major sporting goods companies such as Spalding, Wilson and Macgregor made ladies' clubs as a sideline to the production of men's clubs. As the status of women's golf grew in the 1940s and 1950s more companies devoted time and resources to producing quality equipment for women.
In 2007, there are at least a dozen companies that have specialty lines for women's equipment, including Cleveland, La Jolla, Nancy Lopez, Jazz, Callaway and Ping. This holds true for golf balls as well, as most major manufacturers have some golf ball designs for women. However, many professionals, male and female, now use the same or similar golf ball. Because marketing and publicity are so important in the promotion of a major sport, golf magazines have been part of the scene for many years. Some of the larger publications devote considerable space to women's golf, but golfing for the woman now has its own set of publications, including Golf for Woman, a publication of the Golf Digest family of magazines. The combination of good publicity and quality play in great tournaments has stimulated the growth of women’s golf to the point that it is a huge undertaking even at the junior and high school level. The explosion of golf's popularity has provided excellent opportunities for girls and young women the world over. Much of this growth has taken place in Japan, Korea, Mexico and other countries. To top it all off, many of the finest golf resorts and clubs worldwide have special golf holiday packages for women. These plans are designed to accommodate the quality play of the modern woman who wants to travel and relax with her friends and associates. To put it quite simply, women's golf arrived a long time ago. Fortunately, it's here to stay.