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Course operators hold key to female play

Course operators hold key to female play

Thank you for posting the article on realistic ways to grow the golf game with more participation by women (“Women’s golf advocates tout access,” June 25). I have witnessed first-hand what it will take. My wife is an avid golfer, starting to play only in her late 40s. We usually play together and have done so at many courses in the U.S., ranging from bucket-list to mom-and-pop venues.

Based on watching her experiences, I believe the key to encouraging more women to play is really quite simple. It requires a change in mindset by most course operators. Examples include having a welcoming attitude to women (which is not often the case), making the course comfortable for women (benches and clean restrooms on the course, ball washers at the forward tees and not just at tees where the men generally play), and treat them with respect (too often female golfers are treated as mere tag-alongs and duffers). In short, treat the women as golfers, not merely as women who may play golf. 

Ponder how many male golfers would quit the game if they were treated in the same manner that most female golfers routinely experience.

We all like to be made to feel important and valued, men and women alike. Using that guiding philosophy in a business model will reap great rewards by increasing the female participation rate in our great game. 

It’s not about apparel in a pro shop. It’s about respect, pure and simple.

Ted Comstock
Lancaster, N.H.

Golf’s best-kept secret?

I am blessed that I have a spouse who not only understands why I love the game but also decided to give it a try and likes playing, too. It has made our life much more fun. As much as I like playing with the guys, I look forward to the nine-and-dine Saturdays with my wife. It is why I read Julie Williams’ article with interest (“Women’s golf advocates tout access,” June 25).

It was very intimidating for my wife when she first started playing, and I was so pleased when she made the decision to get involved with the Executive Women's Golf Association and play with the gals on Monday nights during the summer. She has participated for five years now. She is not a highly skilled golfer, and this group never has made judgment of her or any of the gals who play. It also provides an environment void of the machismo (euphemism for an uglier word) that happens sometimes when we play. The social aspect is as equally important to the golf for this group. It has been good for her and her confidence as a golfer.

That being said, we went into this spring wondering what was going on. No renewal notice, no emails, no communication. Finally, we called the local group leader and found out that the EWGA was now LPGA Women Who Play. We had to find the website on our own, figure out how to renew from the old group and then received nothing in the way of confirmation from the new organization. We have gotten not one item of communication from LPGA WWP. My wife still proudly displays her EWGA bag tag with her name on it (no new tag to put on) and still refers to the organization as the EWGA with gal golfers whom she meets.

If the LPGA Women Who Play wants to make an impact, maybe it should start with its marketing department. Right now, from our perspective, it is a well-kept secret.

Jason Marineau
Bristol, Conn.

Tee-ball for beginning golfers

The average male golfer (20 handicap?) has a tough time hitting fairway woods and irons off closely cut fairways. The average and above-average male golfer can't hit it out of 3-inch rough. The average and above-average male golfer can't get it out of fluffy sand bunkers. And the average male golfer probably averages 40 putts on double-cut, rolled greens. 

So why would we expect that beginner female golfers would want to play under those same conditions and rules? They can't get the ball airborne, can't get it out of the rough and bunkers and they have to rush for fear of a slow-play letter. A lot of times, they don't finish holes. 

And Jane Geddes wonders why more women don't take up the game.

I watch beginning women on the range and watch them hit ground balls with every club in the bag, except the driver. Have any courses experimented with a program that allows women (and some men) to put it on a tee for every shot through the green? Would it make it more enjoyable to be able to cover 100 yards in one shot instead of two or three? Would it make it more enjoyable to be able to hit it out of the rough or chip it out of a bunker?

We have tee-ball for kids beginning in baseball and softball. Why not tee-ball for beginners in golf?

Charlie Jurgonis 
Fairfax, Va.

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