The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, February 7, 2019
Golf and gender—Interview with Pratima Sherpa—Must-click links in women's golf
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The Intersection of Golf and Gender
It’s the elephant in the room: golf hasn’t always been a space where women ‘belong.’
In a recent Golf Digest article, PGA Master Professional and LPGA Teaching and Coaching instructor Alison Curdt addresses this exact issue. She starts out by saying how golf is all she has ever wanted to do, but “the game hasn’t always embraced me in return.”
That one stings—but her testimony is raw, truthful and a reality for many women wanting to take up the game seriously (and even just for fun). If you take into consideration that it wasn’t until 2012 Augusta National admitted its first two female members, you realize why the less-than-favorable stigma towards women in golf still lingers. That was only seven years ago.
I encourage you to dive into Alison’s words and experiences as a highly-touted professional in the field and the struggles she still faces today, in the year 2019. As women in sports especially, we’ve always had to fight a little harder. Let her story give you an extra boost of motivation to keep up the good fight.
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Five at the IX: Pratima Sherpa
If you haven’t heard of or about Pratima Sherpa, you should. She is the young woman seeking to become Nepal’s first-ever female professional golfer. She starred in the ESPN Documentary, A Mountain to Climb, last year and since then—a lot has happened. I caught up with her recently for a podcast interview to see where she is at now, what’s next and how her journey to becoming a professional golfer is unfolding. By the way—HIGHLY recommend watching the documentary linked above!
Carly Grenfell: We hear you’re getting ready for college back in the United States. Can you give us an update on where you’re at and what you’re up to these days?
Pratima Sherpa: I just joined the Santa Barbara City College and I’ve taken three days of class already. I’m having such a good time here.
Carly Grenfell: Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing and growing up in a maintenance shed on a golf course in Nepal?
Pratima Sherpa: I’m from Nepal and my mom and dad used to work at Royal Nepal Golf Course. It’s a beautiful course and my dad is still working. I used to see many players playing golf there and I was inspired by those players who were hitting balls so far. I did not have anything except golf. That’s how I started my golf at the age of 11. I used to hit my balls with a wooden stick because I did not have golf clubs at that time.
Carly Grenfell: What was it about golf that made you want to keep playing, especially in a country where it isn’t popular for girls and women to play the sport?
Pratima Sherpa: When I won my first tournament in 2012, I was a little bit nervous. But everyone was there to support me, telling me I can do it. With all of their support and motivation..I wanted to continue my golf game.
Carly Grenfell: In the ESPN documentary you starred in, you come to the United States for the first time and stay with your host family, the Montano’s. What was that experience like?
Pratima Sherpa: The first time when I was on the plane, it was for almost 24 hours. It was such a long flight. We came here and met with the Montano’s family. The Montana family is the best family I have ever seen. They are like my family. We went to Disneyland and it was awesome. And we played golf on different courses. It was amazing.
Carly Grenfell: What’s next for you and what are some of your goals?
Pratima Sherpa: The goal is to transfer to a four-year college, of course. And then golf, I’m going to practice with my coach Don Parsons. My dream is still to become the first ladies professional golfer in Nepal and to play on a golf team in college. I’m very excited about it.