It’s other women, and rules, that put women off from playing golf
One of the leading fashion designers in the UK has said golf club rules and other women golfers are two of the main reasons why British golf clubs have such a problem recruiting ladies to play the game.
The UK has one of the lowest golf participation rates for women in the world, even though research has found that there is huge demand from females to play the game at a time when many venues are desperate for new business.
Emma Hope MBE, who has designed shoes for some of the most famous women in the world, and is a keen golfer, said that other female golfers can present an unwelcoming attitude to women.
“I don’t think it’s particularly the blokedom of golf that is the problem,” she told The Independent.
“I am often approached by women I have never met, in the ladies’ changing room of the golf club to which I’ve belonged since 1974, with that curious expression of a she-lion dressed in plus fours, to ask me, ‘are you a member?’ Well, why wouldn’t I be?
“And then there was the woman who, seeing me sitting blamelessly on the terrace, thought I was in need of some gratuitous bossing-about and ordered me not to go into the clubhouse with my spikes on.”
Hope added that bossy women mixed with strict golf club rules, especially surrounding dress codes, could push other women away from the game.
“There was a letter asking me never to bring my, trying hard to be smart, nephews again, dressed as they were in their best black jeans and my sneakers.
“Golf clubs can be great; they are an important haven of camaraderie for older people who have maybe lost a partner, a cosy refuge where they are always welcome. I just wish their oldster bent towards a Val Doonican-meets-Stepford Wife dress code could be widened a bit so that everyone could co-exist.
“My beef is with the laminator mentality. Let loose with a set of poorly spelled regulations on a plastic sheet, these people run amok. Today it’s dress code in the bar; tomorrow, the world. My lovely father used to wear whatever he liked and didn’t take any notice of any rules. Being a man, he could do that, and if women ever feel that comfortable in a golf club, I’ll be delighted. But their gender isn’t the real issue.”
Meanwhile, golfer Trish Johnson has said she thinks a lack of role models is a key factor in why so few girls take up golf.
Johnson, who has won 18 Ladies’ European Tour titles, said: “Golf is a trendy sport but it’s only trendy to men because the footballers play it, the actors play it,” she said. “Justin Timberlake – he adores golf.
“But you name me an actress or even a female sports star whose sport isn’t golf who says what a great sport golf is. There’s no one for the young girls to look at but for the guys there’s hundreds of them.”
Image by Big West Conference.