Go to Google and type “first woman to” and look at the autofill. My results, the top five are
- Run a Boston marathon.
- Run a marathon.
- Run for president.
- Win a Nobel Prize
- Head IBM.
Alright, now for the men, the same search “first man to” my top five results:
- Walk the Moon
- Orbit the earth
- Climb Mount Everest
- Give birth in the World
- Fly across the Atlantic
In 2020 LPGA viewership has expanded, the yearly purse total has nearly doubled in the last ten years, and more people are packing local golf courses. With this boost in profile, it is also important for the future of the game that those who decide to experience this sport, have the best opportunity to do so.
With the future of Golf on the line, what do Leadership in Women’s Golf, Roger Bannister, and Your Local Golf club have in common?
For some backstory, if you are unaware of the “Roger Bannister Effect”, the story goes that for years all critics said that the four-minute mile was impossible to beat. However, once Roger Bannister broke this “insurmountable barrier” within 2 months a flurry of others also accomplished the record. To this day almost 1500 people have broken the 4-minute barrier and in many countries, it is the standard for elite runners.
How does this relate to getting your daughter interested in the game?
The numbers say that the average age of a golfer is 54 and that 67% of on-course play comes from men. This, however, is not necessarily the pioneering image to which junior girls aspire. In fact, science tells us that we are more likely to build confidence and self-esteem necessary to compete by seeing someone of the same gender competing in the sport we play.
While men comprise 67% of on-course play, women contribute to a respectable 46% of golf played off-course (driving range, putting green, top golf, etc.), of which over a third is at the junior level.
Junior girls have many different barriers to entry – the most significant being that there are not as many leaders in women’s golf to look up to. While the LPGA is booming and there is more talent than ever, this is not the image seen on many local golf courses.
In the last few years organizations have just begun to recognize the importance of creating opportunities for girls in golf, but there has not yet been a “Roger Bannister” effect of sorts until recently.
The G2 Golf Academy is the first golf academy designed to provide the best opportunities for girls in golf and, in partnership with Troon Golf, have launched an initiative to bring the G2 proprietary training program to Troon facilities around the country.
If your local course does not yet have access to this program, here are some simple ways to get your daughter out on the course:
- Compete ‘with’ instead of ‘against’: With a lack of peers and mentors, you become both. Instead of competing against each other, find challenges where you must work together. This helps build a bond while also creating challenge (Ex. Alternate shot putting, alternate shot up-and-downs, a certain # of greens in regulation on the golf course, etc.)
- Give her a challenge: On the range instead of trying to coach technique, try giving her a target to hit. Start with a target like hitting another golf ball 6ft – 10ft away then move the target further or have her take different clubs to perform the same task. This problem-solving process can be some of the best coaching and it will empower her to feel more creative.
- Start short and go long: (*When she is ready for the course) Courses are designed for adults and typically for men based on carry distances and bunker placements. Let her start from 25-50 yards out. If this is too easy, move back to the distance where she can make par for the hole. This will also speed up play and allow her to develop her short game, which brings up the next point.
- Make a chipping challenge: Chipping challenges can be the most challenging and rewarding for on-course play. You don’t need to be a professional to develop a great short game. (Game example – 1pt chip it on the green, 2pts to putt it within 2ft of the hole, 3pts if she makes a one putt. Play 9 holes and try to score 25pts total)
- Set a Goal beforehand: Instead of showing up without a plan, set a goal both you and your daughter must achieve before you leave (ex: two 3ft putts in a row, or hit 5 shots exactly as planned, or 3 up and downs in a row, etc.). This keeps things focused, fun, and clear.
- Invite Friends: More than the connection with you, bringing peers into the mix can help lessen the barrier and create positive memories.
The future of Women’s golf is flourishing as over $80 million will be up for grabs on tour this year.
While getting your daughter involved in golf may seem small, there are many personal benefits to participation, including leadership and empowerment. Traditionally, golf has existed as a “boys sport”. However, as this trend changes, the future leaders in Women’s golf will come from those who remain inspired by their experiences today. Your next steps? Find your local course and let’s build that future.
Get to work.