Golf Maidens

June 08, 2018

Golf Maidens

(Women who dominate in the Game of Golf)

Golf began when some bored Scotsmen began hitting pebbles with sticks in the 15th century. Mary Queen of Scots, the first woman golfer, is responsible for the concept of caddies on the golf course. When she played, French military cadets, or “caddies,” assisted her. Mary Queen of Scots helped spread enthusiasm for golf when she introduced the sport to the French when she studied in France. Today, golf is often seen as a primarily male-dominated sport, but women have been changing it and developing the game since as early as the 15th century. Here we’ll take a look at the origins of modern golf, and the women who helped to shape it into what it is today.

The Royal Start

(The First ever Woman Golfer in History)

Golf as we all have known it today can be almost wholly attributed to one very unusual figurehead: Mary, Queen of Scots. In the 1550's she commissioned a golf course to be built at St. Andrews in Scotland after playing and enjoying a similar game in France, and thanks to her influence it soon became a widely-enjoyed game across Scotland, then in the UK and beyond.

There are notable moments in which includes the invention of the word “Caddy”, which is derived from the French Military Cadets who assisted her when she was playing the game. Mary Queen of Scots helped spread enthusiasm for the game of golf when she introduced the sport to the French when she studied in France. It doesn’t end there; she had her first ever golf-related public scandal when she was spotted playing golf just days after her husband’s death.

During her trial in 1587, a game brought trouble to Mary Queen of Scots when it was pointed out that she’d played golf just few days after the death of her husband, Lord Darnley, in 1567. Her prosecutors said hitting the links so immediately following his death indicated poor if not suspicious character, but if the script had been flipped would her widower’s time on course have been viewed as the meditation of a man in mourning?

Perhaps she’d made a habit of beating her courtiers, dropping one too many birdies to find a friend in the clubhouse, never mind the courthouse. In any case, she lost her head.

Notable Scottish historian George Buchanan wrote at the time that Mary, Queen of Scots was playing “sports that were clearly unsuitable to women”.

Unfortunately, her legacy didn’t last long, and women golfers weren’t heard of again for several centuries. Golfing became an elite sport, often associated with business discussions which, of course, women were considered to have no place in at the time.

The next major milestone for women wouldn’t come until 1867 when, noting the lack of venues for women to play golf, the very same St. Andrews formed The Ladies Club, the first women’s golf organization. This triggered a steady rise in women’s golf associations, and competitive championships for women soon followed.

It’s Time for a Change

In 1789 the intellectuals of the French Revolution mandated equal physical education for boys and girls, but Napoleon tore that apart 20 years later and put formal sports back to boys-only.

The Germans did better, instituting regimented women’s athletics in 1793, but such moves barely cleared the hurdles and so by the mid-1800s women’s sports were mostly framed as play, and not as a competition for sports such as archery, horseback riding, swimming, tennis and, of course, golf. This new recognition gave women a chance to start making changes to the game again, and in 1893 top golfer Issette Miller invented the first golf handicap system, leveling the playing field and opening up the sport to less experienced players.

At the end of the 19th century, even as the club-and-ball game was starting to take hold in America, men nearer to golf’s ancestral home were working diligently to come up with ways to keep the ladies in check. One who worked particularly hard at this was a certain Lord Moncrieff who, would you believe, decreed that women should not hit the ball any further than 60-70 yards.

“Not because we doubt a lady’s power to make a longer drive but because that cannot well be done without raising the club above the shoulder,” he wrote. “Now we do not presume to dictate but we must observe that the posture and gestures requisite for a full swing are not particularly graceful when the player is clad in female dress.”Babe Didrikson Zaharias a woman golfer once said “It’s not just enough to swing at the ball. You’ve got to loosen your girdle and really let the ball have it!”

Later, in 1938, Babe Didrikson Zaharias put women’s golf on the map again, becoming the first woman ever to compete in a men’s tournament, the Los Angeles Open. Other women followed, and in 1950 she was a co-founder of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), now the oldest women’s professional sports association in America.


It’s All about Girl Power

(The Top 5 Greatest Female Golfers of all time)

There's always going to be a spirited debate whenever the topic of "greatest of all time" in anything comes up.For the purposes of this story, we'd like to discuss the merits of -- arguably -- the top 5 greatest women golfers of all time. In a game which is deeply rooted in history and tradition, golf has witnessed some legendary female golfers. The greatness of a golfer is measured by the totality of their on-course careers. This includes their results, demeanor, interaction with spectators & media and overall impact on the playing of golf.

Here, we had picked up the five greatest female golfers of all time:

Annika Sorenstam

    Annika Sorenstam might be the best female golfer of all-time and if she isn't No. 1, she's very close. She won 10 majors on the LPGA Tour in the 1990s and early 2000-aughts, and more than 70 LPGA tournaments total.

    Combining a cool efficiency with a passionate desire to win, Sorenstam was among the best players on Tour from her debut in the mid-1990s through the remainder of the decade. But as the century turned, Sorenstam went on a run of success that rivals or surpasses anything else ever seen on the LPGA Tour.

    Sorenstam turned pro in 1993 and became Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour. She moved up to the LPGA in 1994 and, although she didn't win on the LPGA, was Rookie of the Year there, too. (She got her first professional win in 1994, at the Women's Australian Open.)

    That first LPGA win finally came at the 1995 U.S. Women's Open, and Sorenstam took off on what might be the best career in LPGA history. From 1995 through 2006, Sorenstam won eight money titles and never finished lower than fourth on the money list.

    She won 69 tournaments and 10 majors in that span, andbecame one of the best players throughout the mid- to late-90s, winning three times in 1997, six in 1997, four in 1998, twice in 1999, and five times in 2000.

    Mickey Wright

      Mary Katherine “Mickey” Wright was a California girl who took up golf at the age of 12. Was one of the early superstars on the LPGA Tour and, many still argue, its greatest player.

      She is a former American LPGA female professional golfer. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1955, and enjoyed meteoric success over her 15-year career. She won an incredible 82 LPGA Tour events, placing second (behind Kathy Whitworth) on the all-time list, and 13 major championships. She is the only player in LPGA Tour history to hold all four major titles at the same time.She was winning important junior tournaments within a very short time. Among those victories was the 1952 U.S. Girls Junior and 1954 World Amateur.She attended Stanford University and studied psychology, but after finishing as low amateur at the 1954 U.S. Women's Open, Wright decided it was time to turn pro. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1955.

      It took her a year to win her first tour event, the 1956 Jacksonville Open, but then she was off on running. She won three times each in in 1957, 1958 and 1959, and five times in 1960.

      By 1961, she was such a star that she already had a tournament named after her - the Mickey Wright Invitational, which she won.In all, Wright won 82 tournaments and 13 majors. She accomplished the career Grand Slam by the age of 27.

      The year 1969 was Wright's last full season on tour. She had some nagging foot and wrist injuries, and she was worn down from carrying the banner as the LPGA's biggest star.

      Kathy Whitworth

        Kathy Whitworth won more tournaments on the LPGA Tour than any other golfer in tour history. No PGA Tour player ever won more than Whitworth, either. Kathy Whitworth won 88 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, more than any other golfer (and more than any golfer has won on the PGA Tour, too).

        Whitworth was born in Monahans, Texas, but most of her childhood was spent in New Mexico. She started playing golf late, at age 15, but by 1957, the year of her high school graduation, she was winning the New Mexico State Amateur.

        She won the same tournament again in 1958. She briefly attended college in Odessa, Texas, before turning pro in 1958. It took Whitworth four years to get her first LPGA win (1962 Kelly Girl Open), but once it came, Whitworth's career exploded. Her last great season was 1984 when she won three times, and her final victory came at the 1985 United Virginia Bank Classic.

        Along the way, Whitworth served three stints as President of the LPGA Executive Board, where she helped shape policy and campaigned for the growth of the LPGA Tour. Whitworth continued playing in senior events after her LPGA Tour career ended, and also became a highly respected teacher of the game. She captained the U.S. in the inaugural Solheim Cup.

        Nancy Lopez

          Nancy Lopez, whose best years were in the late 1970s and 1980s, was one of the best and most popular LPGA golfers of all time.

          Nancy Lopez burst onto the golf scene in a blaze of glory, she then settled in for a long ride - interrupted by the birth of her children - that inevitably took her to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

          Lopez's father, Domingo, introduced her to the game at age 8 and tutored her development. She won the New Mexico Women's Amateur at age 12 and the U.S. Junior Girls Amateur in 1972 and 1974. Playing the U.S. Women's Open as a 17-year-old amateur in 1975, Lopez finished tied for second. In 1976 Lopez was named All-American for her play at Tulsa University.

          She left college after her sophomore year and turned pro in 1977. That year she finished second again in the Women's Open. In her first full season on the LPGA Tour, 1978, Lopez's charming personality, megawatt smile and amazing golf propelled her into superstardom.

          She won nine titles total, including five tournaments in a row.

          She made the cover of Sports Illustrated, won the Vare Trophy, and was named both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.

          There is no doubt that Nancy Lopez is one of the greats in the history of women's golf and the best player from the late 1970s to late 1980s. But there is one gaping hole on her resume, a lack of more majors - and specifically, never winning the U.S. Women's Open.

          Her company, Nancy Lopez Golf, makes a full line of women's clubs and accessories. Lopez also does occasional television commentary.


          Babe Didrikson Zaharias

            Quote, unquote: "Before I was ever in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived. "I just loosen my girdle and let the ball have it",

            Babe once said. She is undoubtedly one of the greats in the history of women's golf. But a strong argument can also be made that Babe Didrikson Zaharias was the greatest female athlete of all-time.

            Writing about her in 1939, Time magazine described Babe as a "famed woman athlete, 1932 Olympic Games track & field star, expert basketball player, golfer, javelin thrower, hurdler, high jumper, swimmer, baseball pitcher, football halfback, billiards, tumbler, boxer, wrestler, fencer, weight lifter, adagio dancer."

            Babe grew up in Texas, daughter of immigrant Norwegians.

            She was nicknamed after Babe Ruth because of her baseball talents (she later barnstormed with the famed House of David team).

            She didn't even take up golf until she was in her 20s, she then won the first tournament she entered, the 1935 Texas Women's Invitational.

            And she worked hard at her game, hitting as many as 1,000 balls a day. All her work paid off and won a lot, including her first major at the 1940 Western Open. She won 17 of the 18 tournaments she entered in 1946-47, including the U.S. Women's Amateur in '46 and British Ladies Amateur in '47.

            Babe won on the Women's Professional Golf Association tour, too, the predecessor to the LPGA, of which she was a cofounder.

            Babe was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1953 and underwent surgery, and returned to win the 1954 U.S. Women's Open by 12 strokes, plus the Vare Trophy. Her cancer came back in 1955, and won her last tournament played, the 1955 Peach Blossom Open, then was too ill to continue.

            In December of 1955, barely able to walk, Zaharias had a friend drive her to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. She knelt down and touched the grass one last time, and died months later at age 45.

            What’s in the Bag?

            (Gearing up)

            Just like any other Male Golfers, Females also need a couple of good and reliable tools to gear them up for the game.

            Golf Clubs

            The major purpose of a golf club is to make solid contact with the ball and create a reliable amount of lift, depending on the type of club used. Women generally have a different swing profile to men and the swing speeds are slower, mass strength is lower and hands tend to be positioned closer together. There are exceptions to this, of course, but as a result most manufacturers now offer at least one set of golf clubs for women. Learn more about the history of women in golf, Check out: Golf History Facts.

            Fashion (Proper Attire)

            The golfing world has moved on from what used to be considered “proper attire” for both women and men.

            While in the distant past it was a game associated with nobility, in which men were expected to wear button-down shirts with ties and women played in dresses as golf outfit, these days there are far fewer restrictions on what’s considered acceptable. See also: Get Dressed for the Game

            Although it still depends on the course you’re playing, as some considered themselves more exclusive than others. The LPGAs own dress code is very relaxed, allowing sleeveless and collarless shirts to be worn during play as well as the traditional polo shirt often associated with the sport and of course, don’t forget the Golf Shoes. (for women's golf tees and golf accessories, you can visit online stores like golfgearsdirect.com.au for the best fashionable golf tees for women without compromising comfort.)

            It also makes room for both shorts and skirts, with no length requirement but does draw the line at denim, cut-off shorts and gym clothes. Unsurprisingly, some golfers do like to look good out on the field.

            The famous quote “Gentlemen only, Ladies Forbidden” will now be forgotten for things had rapidly changed. Women have already proved themselves not only in the Golf world but also in other sports. The world of women’s golf is always growing; more and more young women are finding themselves attracted to the sport, making it a very exciting time to be watching the women’s majors.