An errant shot: How toxic masculinity has suppressed the achievements of women in golf


Erika Holmberg

The 2021 PV varsity girls’ golf team poses after placing runner-up at the 2021 state championship.

Erika Holmberg, Copy Editor

“She’s a girl, what else did you expect?” commented one. 

“I bet DJ’s gonna get his real win tonight with that wife of his,” said another.

These derogatory comments are just a few of many taken from the PGA Tour Instagram page directed toward females in the golf industry. 

The achievements of women in golf are being suppressed by the toxic masculinity of male golfers, and it all stems from the sport’s sexist origins.

Known to many as the “rich white man’s game,” golf has been a male-dominated sport since the mid 1700s. The sport dictated social status and wealth, only being played by men until the late 1800s.

Even with the addition of women’s golf, equal representation within the sport was far from present. 

Early golf courses forbade women from entering clubhouse bars and lounges. Women often couldn’t even share part of their paid membership with their male spouse. 

Through the legendary works of female golfers Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias, women in golf have made their mark on history, redefining the limits of the game. Sadly, their work is being destroyed by the sexualization of female golfers in the industry. 

When one turns on the golf channel, there is an immediate difference seen on the screen between the male and female golfers. Tiny skirts and scandalous tops cover the bodies of nearly every female on screen, while the men sport a pair of pants and a polo. 

This dress code is not the fault of the players. It is the result of a century-long battle between the legitimacy of competitive female golfers. 

Senior PV girls’ golfer Lily Dumas reflects on the difference in treatment of female golfers. “There are many times where people assume that girls are not serious about golf. I think there can be many factors that contribute to this opinion including scoring differences and people’s opinion on golf as a sport” she stated. 

Gaining respect from their male counterparts has taken a long time for female golfers to achieve. Seeing as it is still a problem in the 21st century shows signs of the sport taking a step backwards.

“While I can confidently say that inclusivity has improved even in the past five years that I’ve been playing, there is still a clear need for more integration of the male and female sides of golf,” expressed senior PV girls’ golfer Jillian Keppy. 

Professional golfer Michelle Wie has worked to combat inequality in the golf industry. Her LPGA movement “#Hoodiesforgolf” has sparked conversation regarding the treatment of female golfers. The movement’s proceeds are put towards the LPGA Renee Powell Fund and the Clearview Legacy Foundation, which both support the growth of African American women in golf. 

Although Wie’s and many others’ movements are making worldwide statements, the golf gender gap remains a threat to the growth of the game. 

“There are issues when it comes to things like rules and gameplay being different for women,” stated Keppy. “I think that if we all came together and realized that gender has no direct correlation with ability, we would have a great start to creating a more inclusive environment for golfers of any identity.”

Vast improvements have been made to the game of golf since its founding, but that must not overshadow the inequality still lingering on the course. 

Women in golf are worth watching, and it’s time to finally bring them up to par.