09 February 2017
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Women are outperforming men in Golf – Fact not fiction!

June 14, 2016
Lexi-Thompson-golf

It’s about time the phrase ‘women are simply not as good at golf’ was tossed out of the window since women performing better than men is no new phenomenon, as this article explains.
Morgan-Pressel
Above: Morgan Pressel

For the first time in more than a century, golf is to feature in this year’s Olympics in Rio and we’re hoping that it will create the tipping point where the women start to get equal coverage. Certainly the signs are that golf is on the up, John Lines, PGA professional and CEO of GolfSupport, one of the largest UK Golfing equipment stores comments,

‘Over the last five years, we have seen a strikingly positive increase in the number of women wishing to pursue golf and we are keen to see female golf membership increase significantly from its current 15% in the UK.’

Big brands are starting to take note, KPMG have showed their commitment by  vowing to sponsor the Women’s PGA Championship for the next five years; increasing the prize winnings to $3.5million; more than doubling the previous purse.

Stacy-Lewis-Golf
Stacey Lewis, sponsored by KPMG

Some argue that despite women playing the equivalent tournament (LPGA), women do not attract the same audience as the men, clearly this is a visibility problem, rather than an ability issue. When you take driving accuracy; the rankings of the top 5 female players of last year by CMBE achieved a higher accuracy percentage than 4 out of 5 top male players. Moreover, Henrik Stenson was praised for the best GIR score since Tiger Woods in 2006. Tiger Woods had achieved a score of 74.15%, yet LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson achieved 77.23% Greens in Regulation in 2015; higher than both of her superior male counterparts. And of course the result did not get any media coverage.

Lexi-Thompson-golf
Above: Lexi Thompson

The nature of women performing better than men is no new phenomenon. The same story runs throughout professional golf, in 2006 when Tiger Woods shot the second highest GIR percentage, Lorena Ochoa made 75.5% beating him. It would be unfair and unwarranted to disregard the capabilities of women in golf since the best females have performed better than men for years. Kelly Robbins, at her best has averaged 78.7% GIR in 1997 and Annika Sorenstam scored 79.7% in 2001 and 2002.

Others also argue that women cannot be deemed better than men at golf due to their shorter courses. The average yardage for an LPGA Tour is 6,400 yards, and men have 7,200 yards; an 800 yard difference. On the surface, it looks to be the case that women are given an unfair advantage, but in reality men have a 50 yard advantage average per drive, giving them a maximum of 900 extra yards over 18 holes. Do the maths – and women do play the exact length as men. The statistics don’t lie, and in some cases women outperform men, so we ask again, why don’t they get paid the same?

There’s a long way to go, it’s not as simple as paying women the same as men – professional golfers rely on prize winnings and sponsorship deals, but with this summers enhanced profile through the Rio Olympics, we’re hoping that we can start raising the profile of the sport and in turn increase participation.

Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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