How to combat sexism in golf — Players to watch at Stage II — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, October 21, 2021
If you haven’t read this Golf Digest article on sexism in golf, stop what you are doing and go read it. Now. I’ll even link it here for your convenience.
Read it? Okay good. I feel better.
This is a long-overdue conversation on sexism, one that EVERY woman in golf has had, but very few men have discussed. Therein lies the problem. And it’s an issue that has much larger implications for the game than just being drivel that trolls spew on the internet. The abuse and misogynistic rhetoric that the six courageous women featured in the piece talk about is the kind of thing that can kill the game and it’s time that the men in golf get with the program.
It’s 2021. Women should be able to look, dress, and act however we like, especially on our own social media accounts, but there’s still this antiquated mindset in golf that you have to look good while playing well if you ever want to garner respect. It’s pure sexism — something as a female in the game that I’ve NEVER understood and it’s one of my biggest points of contention along with being told where the “ladies tees” are located.
For those women covering golf, the sexism becomes even more volatile. Though they’re doing the legwork to tell the stories of the people hitting the golf shots and driving the content that most golf fans can’t get enough of, it seems that female personalities are subjected to even more criticism, almost all of which is focused on appearances, not the work being produced. Seeing some of the trash in the comment sections of Kira K. Dixon’s or Amanda Balionis’s or Michelle Wie West’s posts is absolutely disgusting and it makes me wonder about the quality of the person on the other side of the keyboard.
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I’m stating the obvious here, but this is the biggest discrepancy in how men and women are treated in the golf world. No one comments saying Jordan Spieth needs to lose a little weight or that Dustin Johnson should smile more or Brandel Chamblee should choose a different suit color. This is solely a women’s issue and it’s one that’s going to require an entire culture to change their thinking, something that sounds awesome, but unfortunately is highly unlikely.
So what do we do to help eradicate the nastiness that permeates the fringes of the golf landscape? For starters, the report feature on every social media channel is a powerful tool. If you see something, say something and for Twitter and Instagram, that vocality can originate with just the touch of a button. We don’t need to comment back. Just flush ‘em out with silence, inattention, and the ‘Report’ option.
We can put a quash on the discussions of the appearances of female players when brought up in conversation. Turn the tide on the topic by bringing up a notable stat of theirs or talk about a tournament they’ve won. Ignorance is often the root of hatefulness so there’s nothing wrong with providing a negative Nancy a healthy dose of education.
Finally, I think we can use the comment section for good. There’s nothing stopping us from encouraging the women in golf we enjoy following both on and off the course. Don’t be afraid to post a positive note to your favorite player or respond to a content creator’s story with a fire emoji. While you think they may not see it because they don’t interact with you, I guarantee those little niceties go a long way for those in the limelight and affect them more than you’ll ever know.
Though negativity in the golf space is a tough issue to tackle, those of us who want to combat it can do our part by supporting our fellow females both on and off the golf course and social media, helping to drown out the noise and make the golf world safe for everyone.
This week in women’s golf
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Five at The IX: Players to watch at Q-School Stage II
The former Oklahoma State cowgirl is in her second month as a professional and has already captured two Ladies European Tour titles at the Creekhouse Ladies Open and the Estrella Damm Ladies Open. Of her counterparts that turned pro around the same time, Stark has had the most success so far and should be easily in the top 45 at Stage II.
One of the most decorated players in Arizona State women’s golf history, Linn Grant is a force to be reckoned with on the golf course. She’s already won an LET Access Series event and finished second in two LET events and though she was exempt into Stage II and hasn’t played in Q-School before, Grant will be in the mix to medal come Sunday.
If you follow women’s college golf at all, you’ve definitely heard the name Pauline Roussin-Bouchard. The Frenchwoman comes to Stage II after forgoing her last two years at the University of South Carolina where she won five events and reached the top spot in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Roussin-Bouchard is another player that’s had some early success winning the Didriksons Skaftö Open in late August and brings a ton of confidence into her first Q-School appearance.
Gina Kim (a)
Gina was the medalist for Stage I which took place in the middle of a whirlwind summer for the Duke senior and it’ll be interesting to see how she fares this week at Plantation Golf and Country Club. Kim has likely played more golf than anyone in 2021 and I wonder how full her tank is heading into Stage II.
Belton is a former World Long Drive competitor and has been trying her hand at professional golf on the Symetra Tour. While she hasn’t made a cut this season, I’ll be curious to see how she fares.