The history of women’s golf
The 3 women golf pioneers
Helen Hicks – the first professional female player
Helen Kicks signed a contract with Wilson Sporting Goods Company in 1934 to become the first professional female player. Hicks won many tournaments as an amateur (the Junior Girls Championship Metropolitan Women’s Golf Association), she made the finals at the U.S. Womens’s Amateur a couple of times and made the first Curtis Cup-team for women. As a professional she won two tournaments (today meets LPGA – Championship) and she was also amongst the women that founded the LPGA in the 1950s.
Babe Zaharias – the first woman to challenge men in a professional tournament
Babe Zaharias –a true legend in the history of women’s golf. She was one of Americas top female golf players in the 40s and the 50s and she became the first American to win the British Women Amateur. Babe Zaharias was also the first woman to challenge men in a professional tournament. An accomplishment that no other woman dared until Annika Sörenstam entered the PGA tournament at the Colonial in 2003. A historic moment that the majority of golf world applauded, although there were still some men who were against it. Among those, Vijay Singh who thought that Annika took someone else’s spot in the tournament.
Annika Sörenstam – the best female golfer of all time
Annika Sörenstam is by far one of the greatest female golfers of our time, with 72 wins on the LPGA tour (10 majors) and with the significant achievement of having shot a score of 59 in a competitive round. Annika started playing golf at the age of 12 and it wasn’t love at first sight. Her parents promised her and her sister ice cream if they came along to the golf course. It wasn’t until she realized that she had talent and her game rapidly improved that her interest picked up. Although her career seems to have headed on a straight line, she was a very shy golfer at first and actually missed a putt on purpose to avoid the spotlight. Annika was a professional golfer between 1992 – 2008.
The dress code for women are starting to change
In the 1920s the dress code for women golfers changed. The outfits became more functional as the long skirts got slimmer and were no longer an obstacle in the golf swing.
LPGA (the Ladies Professional Golf Association) was founded
LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) is the oldest continuing women’s professional sports organization in the Unites States.
The LPGA was founded in 1950s by Helen Hicks, Babe Zaharias, Alice Bauer and Patty Berg to name a few. Fourteen tournaments were held during its first season. Today the LPGA schedule features 33 tournaments each season.
21st century – a changing point
Things are finally looking brighter, women are more accepted on the golf courses and are given new opportunities. Here are some of the highlights during the 21st century.
- Green Queens are founded 2015, the first golf club for women in Sweden.
- 2017 Maria Möller became the first female board of director at the Swedish Golf Association, after a 113 year long wait.
- 2017 the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers allows women as members after a 273 year long wait.
- 2019 the first female tournament is held at the Augusta Nationals.
- 2020 A collaboration between the LPGA-tour and the Men’s European tour is taking place. A groundbreaking new event where men and women will compete against one another for the same prize money and the same trophy.
The future for women golf is looking bright
There is no doubt that women golfers continue to make a mark in the world of golf and the future is looking bright.
Here are some names to keep in mind as we look ahead. Georgia Hall from England, that became a professional at 18. She has already won the Women’s British Open, LPGA Tour and two times on the Ladies European Tour.
Another young female golfer that aims for the stars is Nelly Korda from the USA. With a victory on the Symetra Tour and two wins on the LPGA tour she is well on her way. Her sister Jessica Korda, has also a victory on the LPGA. This makes them the third pair of sisters ever to win on the LPGA. Another pair of sisters who also won on the LPGA are Annika and Charlotta Sörenstam.
Women’s golf is headed towards bright future and it is with hope and great anticipation we follow along on its journey.