The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, December 12, 2019

Representation in golf — Interview with Stacy Lewis — Must-click links in women's golf

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Representation in Golf

Something our CEO at the PGA of America always says, when it comes to our vision and long-term strategic plan, is that we want golf to look like the world. We want golf to be an activity anyone can take up without any barriers in getting there. We want every person of every race, gender, sexual orientation, age, abilities and background to play golf, or give golf a try, and to having fun doing it. We want every person to know that golf is, in fact, a game for everyone. We want every person to feel welcome and comfortable on a golf course.

“There was a moment in the late 1990s when commentators, journalists and analysts predicted the sport was on the precipice of a demographic equalization. The catalyst, of course, was the rise of Woods, who became a beacon of hope for African American representation in the sport.” (via NBC)

Fast forward to 2019 and we still aren’t quite there.

This vision is certainly no cakewalk, and will certainly take years to fulfill. But I will take this time (shameless plug) to tell you about several ongoing PGA initiatives that are working to close this gap. And ultimately, get us to a place where the perception of golf as it stands isn’t about power, money or white men—it’s about being a game for anyone and everyone. If you haven’t heard about it before, PGA REACH is the PGA of America’s 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America. The mission of PGA REACH is to positively impact the lives of youth, military, and diverse populations by enabling access to PGA Professionals, PGA Sections and the game of golf.

This mission statement is brought to life through PGA HOPE (introducing golf to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being), PGA WORKS (offering access to individuals from diverse backgrounds—whether by gender, age, race or color, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, disability, religion or Veteran status—into the golf industry to gain experience in all facets of the golf industry) and PGA Jr. League (a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls to learn and enjoy the game of golf). Brick by brick, we’re attacking this very issue head on and doing some really powerful work to chase down the diversity issues we face in golf today.

Just yesterday, the Harvard Business review published an article written by our Chief People Officer Sandy Cross and Founder/CEO of Jopwell Porter Braswell. Jopwell is a diversity hiring startup that helps companies connect with and recruit underrepresented ethnic minority candidates for jobs and internships and a partner of ours at the PGA. Although this piece just focuses on the golf workforce, the data in this article is extremely interesting and I want to lay out some of these statistics that really caught my eye.

  • Within 25 years, people of color are projected to be the majority in the United States.

  • Once it was explicitly stated that the PGA of America wants to recruit professionals from various backgrounds, the likelihood of applying for a job with the PGA went up from 46% to 64%.

  • More diverse companies are 33% more likely to financially outperform their less diverse counterparts.

  • When [survey participants] asked to name the main obstacles to why they have not applied for jobs in the golf industry, the aforementioned lack of awareness (27%) and access to contacts in the industry (26%) were cited as the top two reasons.

Maybe these findings are surprising to you or maybe they aren’t. Either way, diversity and representation matter in the golf industry. If it isn’t a priority now, we will be losing out on a lot of employees, customers, fans and golfers in the long run.

Along these same lines, and something that I always push for, is getting more women to play golf as well. Comparatively to how more diverse talent for companies yields more profit than their less-diverse counterparts, think about the power of introducing golf to more girls and women—the ones often making the purchasing decisions and the ones introducing their daughters to the sport years later. If my mom played golf, I can almost assure you I would have played before the age of 27.

On this front, I stumbled across another great article dissecting equality (or lack thereof) in women’s golf. The World No. 1 in long drive, Kiwi Phillis Meti, spoke out about her experiences in Long Drive. The prize money is probably the most glaring issue she deals with, but she also dives into the drop in competitors over the years, why she wants more Polynesian girls, being of Cook Island heritage, to pursue the sport and how she was introduced to the game (hint: her mom was involved!)

“You can’t say the guys get more eyes on their game because we’re on the same TV show at the same time. And my world record of 414 yards is longer than at least half of the men’s field, so I’m not happy about it.” (via

I mean how savage is that quote? Couldn’t not include that.

To tie today’s topic all together, if you remember last week I talked about Michelle Wie landing a broadcast deal with CBS during the Masters this coming April. Representation of someone like Michelle Wie in the booth matters. Representation matters even beyond the golf course. It matters when it comes to who is playing the sport, but also who is watching. If you can see it, you can be it.

This Week in Women’s Golf

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

New episode up on the podcast! Check it out.

Check out Power Plays. Amazing insight on the LPGA if you haven’t read yet!

Juli Inkster announces an annual senior award.

This famous music group will headline the LPGA’s 2020 season opener.

Three-time LPGA winner recently passed away.

Here’s a great feature on LPGA rookie Jennifer Kupcho and her path to success.

Stacy Lewis weighs in on maternity leave for athletes.

Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational donates $50,000 to the city of Midland.

Sung Hyun Park looks to defend title at 2020 HSBC Women’s World Championship.

Alison Curdt named Southern California Golf Professional of the Year.

LET just announced a new event in Saudi Arabia. Here’s why it’s controversial.

All-black high school team’s success shows golf’s persistent problem with diversity.

World’s biggest hitter seeks equality in golf.

Top amateur golf moments of 2019.

Brooks and Li turn their attention to the LPGA season.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Stacy Lewis

While we are on the topic of equality and representation, I thought an interview of Stacy Lewis speaking about maternity leave of athletes would fit nicely into this week’s newsletter theme. You can see her full interview here with Yahoo — highly encourage you to take the five minutes to listen!

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Stephanie Livaudais, @Livaudais
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by The IX Team