Golf is a sport which while not as popular as other sports, has a large number of fans who are devoted, both to the sport and to its athletes. Everyone has a favorite golfer or someone who they would cheer for in a given tournament.
However, men’s golf is usually what people think of when they think of golf, particularly men like Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
On the other hand, women’s professional golf is on the rise and its history, while brief, is already full of exciting events.
The Start of Professional Ladies’ Golf
Golf has been played by women since its inception. Even during the ban in 1457 in Scotland, golf was played by both women and men. Compared to the men’s PGA Tour which was founded in 1929, the LPGA was founded in 1950, a mere 21 years later. It is worth noting that the LPGA came after the WPGA (women’s professional golf association), which was founded in 1944, but had bad seasons since 1948 and was disbanded in 1949. The LPGA, while based in the United States, operates all over the world, particularly when it comes to women’s major championships, two of which are not in the United States.
The LPGA is one of the many organizations today which handle women’s golf.
Another noteworthy organization is the Ladies European Tour, which was founded in 1978 under the name of Women’s Professional Golfers’ Association, part of the UK and Irish PGA. It separated from the PGA and formed its own independent company in 1988. It changed names in 1998, settling on Ladies European Tour Limited in 2000. There were tensions with the LPGA until 2020, when they agreed to join forces to help develop golf in Europe.
Women’s Major Championships
Unlike men’s major championships, of which there are four, women’s major championships are more. There are five of them, the Evian Championship, the Women’s British Open, US Women’s Open, Ana Inspiration and the Women’s PGA Championship.
Ana Inspiration was founded in 1972 and elevated to major status in 1983; the US Women’s Open was established in 1946 and was immediately recognized in 1950 as a major; the Women’s PGA Championship was established in 1955 and was immediately a major. The Women’s British Open was established in 1976 and became a major in the LPGA Tour in 2001; the Evian Championship was established in 1994, and it became a major in 2013.
Women’s Golf – History Lesson
The first known woman golfer was Mary Queen of Scots in 1552. Women played golf over the centuries, but became more active as golfers in the 20th century. The first membership ever that was offered to women was by Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Southampton, New York in 1891. In 1895, the first amateur women’s tournament was organized, Women’s Amateur Championship.
Over the course of the first half of the 20th century, there were plenty of sexist remarks and women golfers were denied entrance to various clubs, in the United States and Europe, which led to the formation of the LPGA by 13 professional golfers, all women. Their names are Alice Bauer, Babe Zaharias, Bettye Danoff, Betty Jameson, Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Louise Suggs, Marlene Hagge, Marilynn Smith, Opal Hill, Patty Berg, Sally Sessions and Shirley Spork, with Patty Berg as the president. Two of the thirteen, Marlene Hagge and Shirley Spork are still alive and attending tournaments as spectators.
Women’s professional golf, unlike men’s, is not as paid nor as popular, but it is being worked on by ladies all over the world, as well as men who want to see the sport succeed. Golf is an amazing sport and women’s golf is one of the reasons why.