Thoughts on NBC’S all-female broadcast — Nasa Hataoka wins Walmart NW Arkansas — Must-click women’s golf links

The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, September 30, 2021

Once again, history will be made this week on the LPGA Tour. The Shoprite LPGA Classic will feature an all-female broadcast crew on NBC, the first time in the history of televised golf in the United States. While it should’ve happened a lot sooner, it’ll be incredible to witness this important moment and it’ll be refreshing to hear only female voices talk about women’s golf for once (No offense Jerry Foltz, Grant Boone, Terry Gannon, and Tom Abbott. We love you guys.) But, per the usual, it got me thinking about the overarching role women play in the game of golf.

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I think we forget how much women actually make this sport go in all aspects of the game. Women make up some of golf’s most successful social media and on-air personalities and are some of the most trusted voices in the game. Women lead some of the biggest organizations affiliated with golf, helping to influence necessary change where it’s needed most, and are advocates for the future of it. Some loop, some write, some teach, some play, but all are absolutely necessary to the health of golf and it’s the “first-ever all-female” scenarios that highlight the criticality of women across all sports, showcasing the need for females in every situation.

I think about someone like Hally Leadbetter, who is far and away golf’s most popular and most famous social media star. She’s responsible for creating content across a wide variety of platforms for everyone from Golf Digest to the Dormie Network to the USGA and brings her fresh, hilarious perspective to a game that’s often considered stuffy and uninviting. Hally brings golf down to earth and gives it a cool, welcoming vibe in a way that few other creators have ever been able to do, effectively growing the game in a way unlike any other. She is a perfect example of the positive effects that female representation can have on a sport like golf and encapsulates what it means to leave something better than you found it. Hally has paved the way for hundreds of women behind her to continue to impact golf, both in the men’s and women’s spaces.

Looking at this week’s historic broadcast on NBC, we know Karen Stupples, Cara Banks, Judy Rankin, Kay Cockerill, and Paige Mackenzie, of course. But we don’t know the women behind the scenes cutting highlights, creating graphics, or production managing, and rarely are we reminded of their presence and the significance of their role in getting golf television on and off the air week in and week out for the LPGA Tour. It’s important to acknowledge the work that they do on a consistent basis to make broadcasts happen across every major golf tour, that there are just as many if not more women behind the scenes doing their part to keep the game alive. 

We should absolutely be cheering on this team on Friday through Sunday, but let’s not forget the deeper meaning behind the historic moment on NBC. Golf, just like every sport, needs women involved across all aspects of the game and the attention this weekend will bring to the importance of female representation is truly going to make an impact on the industry going forward. 

However, this occasion also provides an opportunity to reflect on the women that have already been showing up and doing the work for all the years before this moment, to appreciate the Beth Hutters and Beth Ann Nichols and Suzy Whaleys of the world yes, but also the camerawomen, the instructors, the graphics operators, the business owners, and the advocates that are the needed female voices in golf spaces. They deserve just as much recognition every day of the year and are worthy of golf’s collective praise because when it comes right down to it, without them, this game would suffer greatly.

This week in women’s golf

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Tweets of the Week

Five at The IX: Nasa Hataoka wins Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

You’ve won for the second time here. How does that compare, how does today’s win compare to the others?

It was pretty tight, very stressful because the other players were so close to me. So it was pretty stressful for me.

What was it like to represent your country in the Olympics, and having that time in your home country, what was that like?

Being extended a whole year with the Japanese golf level going up, I was really, really honored to be able to be chosen. Because I was chosen, I wanted to really prove myself. Kind of didn’t work out that way, but at least I’m very honored to be chosen.

You seem to always play well at this course. What is it about this course that suits your game really well?

The grass type matches what I was playing on when I was young, and so I’m able to kind of know how it reacts, so that kind of helps me. And so I like this course.

What were your nerves like as you were setting up for the round today?

In the morning I was so easygoing I was kind of worried that maybe I better start getting a little stressed out and control myself. But that came to an end and kind of got me.

Playing in the group that you were with, the other two golfers, and you guys were really close, within a shot or two of each other, do you feel more pressure playing when they’re that close or does it matter?

Here and there I did feel pressure, but they’re shot makers. I did feel pressure on the second shots because they are players that really get close to the pin. So that’s where I did feel the pressure.

How memorable is this win out of all the other ones you’ve had?

My first win being here and of course the two hole-in-ones, it kind of feels like it’s my power spot.

What kind of confidence does this give you about the season you’re having as we go through the next stretch of tournaments and close it out just soon?

Winning here with so few tournaments left it’s really giving me confidence to keep going and go for it.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Sarah Kellam, @sarahkellam,
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08, NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Sarah Kellam