6 women breaking barriers in golf and leading the way for female participation
"If you want to play, you have to play with boys. If you want to stick around, you have to beat them..."
The times, they are changing.
The participation numbers amongst females in Ireland are still on the rise and, across the world, more and more are being inspired.
The 20x20 initiative kicked off in earnest last week, aiming to increase participation, coverage and advertising in women's sport with by 2020 and there is a genuine sense that this campaign will be more than just words. That there will be follow-through.
— 20x20 (@20x20_ie) October 15, 2018
Media will commit to more coverage and when more young girls see that coverage, when they find new heroes, more of them will pick up bats, clubs, helmets and balls and they will become like their idols.
On the fairways, golfscape.com is leading the charge to keep ladies players in the press and in the minds of the next generation.
In Ireland, the rate of women taking up the sport is destroying that of the men - already more established, granted.
Sinead Heraty, Chief Executive of the Irish Ladies Golf Union said:
“It is very positive to see a narrowing of the gender gap regarding participation in sport.
"In particular, it is very encouraging that golf remains unchanged as the 7th most popular sport in Ireland and has achieved an increase in female participation since 2015.”
The seventh most popular sport with numbers increasing for three years straight now. That can have other positive effects like getting the sport onto programmes.
Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of the Board of the CGI said:
“These figures are a great boost for the game given the many efforts being made to increase participation in golf through the CGI Get into Golf Programmes.
"We continue to be fully committed to growing the game on the island of Ireland through recruitment and retention initiatives.”
But, beyond these shores, there is hope and inspiration.
In that vain, golfscape is introducing the women who have contributed to the golf industry through elegance, talent, determination, and much-needed competitiveness to a sport once known to be male-dominated.
In the light of sharing positivity and motivation, they have collaborated with some of the most prominent women in golf to create a message of support to all other female players.
Attended the Rio Olympics 2016 and set the record with 62 (-9) and a hole in one.
Maria Verchenova is the first Russian to become a full-time member of the Ladies European Tour. Before starting her professional career in 2006, young Russian golf prodigy won a prestigious Austrian Amateur Championship, she became two times Russian Amateur Champion in 2004 and 2006. After winning Slovenian and Lithuanian Amateur Championships Maria decided to be a professional.
After her amazing performance at the Olympics, she became the Winter Golf Cup Ambassadress and therefore contributed to the organization of three winter events in prestigious ski resorts in the Alps in 2018.
Winner of the Ladies Scottish Open and Swiss Open 2012.
Carly was born in Scotland and turned professional in 2009. At the age of 17, she became the youngest-ever Scot to qualify for the LET. As a youngster, Booth was able to practice on the course made exclusively for her and her brother, by her father Wally at the family farm near Comrie. ‘My older bro got me into golf and I lived and dreamed about becoming the best golfer as a young girl’ she says.
In 2012 she took her first professional title at the Dinard Ladies Open, part of the LET Access Series, followed directly by her first win on the main Ladies European Tour at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open. She quickly followed this victory with another at the Deutschebank Ladies Swiss Open and finished 2012 5th on the Order of Merit.
Launching the #inviteHER campaign to grow women's golf.
“Born and raised in Muskegon, Michigan I grew up in a hockey/golf (Happy Gilmore, if you will) household.”
Hailey started playing golf when she was 9 years old and was awarded the Michigan Woman Golfer of the Year in 2015. Hailey turned professional after graduating with a degree in Sports Broadcasting but after going to LPGA Qualifying School, she realized the lonely grind of the tour life wasn't for her. She did not, however, give up on her passion for golf and started working for the LPGA Women's Network as a content producer/host. In fact, alongside her team, she has just launched the #inviteHER campaign which aims to grow women's golf and invite more women to the game.
“My passion is to grow the game. I feel the game of golf helps women to feel empowered and earn self-confidence that they cannot only use on the golf course but also in their daily lives. I hope to inspire women to give golf a try and use it as a tool to connect with other women. Golf gives a positive support group where women are coming together and lifting each other up, rather than competing with one another and putting each other down.”
The first African-American golfer on the LPGA Tour since 2001.
Shasta Averyhardt’s pathway to golf began at the age of 7 on behalf of her father. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, she pursued the game of golf with a dedication that landed her with a full-ride golf scholarship to Jackson State University. With a successful collegiate career, Shasta set her sights on the LPGA Tour. She earned her LPGA Tour card within two years after graduation.
Shasta has learned over the years that the pathway to success is first knowing your life’s purpose and then being able to take the next step with confidence. The best inspiration she has received was a quote that stated, “You should never, absolutely NEVER ask someone else what they think you should do unless that person has already done what you want to do.”
Turned Pro on a handicap of +1, 43 months after picking up a golf club for the first time.
Madeleen's story of turning professional started not too long after she relocated to Dubai in 2012. Working as project coordinator, she came to realize that she was spending too much time indoors, missing the healthy and active lifestyle she had previously enjoyed back in South Africa. She took up the challenge of golf and made quick progress.
In October 2013 Madeleen started individual coaching sessions with Matthew Naylor at The Address Montgomerie Dubai and progressed to a single digit handicap in less than a year. She then became a member at Al Badia Golf Club where she won the Ladies Club Championship in 2016, setting the 36 hole course record, less than three years after setting foot on a golf course for the first time.
Miss Missouri winner and Miss USA contestant.
"Till this day, my dad is still my favorite playing partner.”
Katie Kearney is a successful model who has worked with esteemed brands such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Redken, Escada, and more. Kearney started her own swimwear company, Strings Swimwear, which donates a portion of every sale to an anti-human trafficking foundation in South Africa. After winning Miss Missouri, she was asked to play in charity golf tournaments regularly. She began posting her swing on social media and one day Callaway reached out wanting to partner. She was already playing Callaway so it was a no-brainer
"My ideal definition of success is the perfect balance of those both; a lifelong, happy marriage and family alongside a career that I love and enjoy every day. Once you have found the happy medium of both is when you’ve achieved success. All too often, I feel people give up their dreams for someone causing unsettled resentment in the future. Alternatively, having an amazing career with no one to share with is equally disheartening. Being fortunate enough to have both is a true blessing.”
Growing the game for our next generation.
Elise Lobb is not a regular golf player. She is a social media sensation and has an army of followers who admire her for golf, beauty, fashion, and tutorials. She was born in 1994, began golfing at the age of 3 and is friends with some of today’s most popular golfers.
This game, according to Elise, teaches you integrity, patience, self-discipline and much more. She has had opportunities to work with Golf Digest, LPGA and PGA Tour as well as hosting a golf show on Fox Sports. I’ve been blessed to have a platform to use and really want to continue to inspire and encourage future golfers, especially young girls to not be afraid to pick up a club for the first time.
“To whom much is given, much is required.”