24th September,2014

Female Trouble......

~~I have seen women do things on the golf course guys will never do. Sometimes the people who treat women golfers the worst are........other women golfers.
In golf-industry is a particular way of speaking, the dismissive, rude, even cruel behavior we see some men exhibit toward women is known as a barrier to entry. In practical terms, a woman has to damn near burn with desire to play the golf game that is historically, culturally and demographically dominated by men.
Though men control the playing field, they aren't the only bad actors out there. Women exhibit plenty of unkindness and cunning; they just express it differently, more subtly, and in culturally determined ways. Men can be hostile to women they perceive as invading their sacred playing grounds, but women, who have no claim of propriety to the golf course, tend to take out their frustrations and aggressions on each other.
I am a longtime teacher of golf and human behavior; I teach lessons to all-men, all-women and co-ed groups at my golf academy in Bulgaria, Lighthouse Golf Resort. Men are pretty upfront in the way they act. They're always teasing, being sarcastic, provoke and annoy each other. Women interact differently. Not always, but often, I will see that they talk behind each other's backs. They watch and whisper, 'Oh, she's not very good.' They do the whole comparison thing right away: the clothes, the body, the level of play.
I have seen women pull things on the course men will never do. When men golfers putt a ball inside the 20cm-30cm from the hole, they usually give the putt and pick it up. Women make each other putt the ball in the hole. They know you can miss. They want you to miss, to see you embarrass yourself. This “pick it up” ONLY applies when we play a social game not in a golf tournament where the ball has to be put in the hole.
Golf rules, it turns out, are one of the singular and favored forms of female distress. I shall write very soon on my blog a story called “Attack of the Rules Queens,” where I will describe devious players who intimidate opponents and less-experienced golfers with allegations of rules violations. It will prompt for sure enormous women golfers’ reaction.
Every golf course has them, and every woman golfer needs to beware. Women golfers can turn golf round into a horror story; they have reduced players to tears, and caused other women to quit a competition, or a golf club.
Interestingly, how males and females react to a good performance also sometimes differs. When I played as pro in California and who has spent time on the men's professional tours I observed: that when you walk into the players' lunchroom guys seem genuinely happy for the person who walks in who's played well. The mood in the Ladies PGA Tour players' lounge can be different, I know because I have worked with the best women players in the world and I can say that when a professional woman walks in after a great round the response isn't always supportive. I could sometimes feel the resentfulness, the jealousy.
Can be true--that men are often unwelcoming to women on the golf course--when we dig deeper, we see that women can be exclusionary as well. I remember Karrie Webb the former world number 1 on LPGA being a talented junior golfer in Queensland and trying to play with the adult women's groups at her club. No ways were they going to let her play with them, as I recall. I guess they thought she would make them look bad.
So what am I to conclude? After years of studying humans in primitive societies, I can say that "feminine" and "masculine" behaviors aren't innate but a result from socialization and cultural expectations. And those behaviors evolve. I am already observing different behavior in younger golfers. The men less than 40 years of age that I worked with couldn't care less if they play with women. In the same way, I see some of the younger women players I worked with treating each other more openly and honestly, with less backbiting and gamesmanship.
As we all continue to evolve, I'll take inspiration from my experience and also from the women golfers at Lighthouse Golf Club in Balcik. On our weekly golf tournaments during the summer, our more experienced women, have always been on the first tee, welcoming, making introductions, encouraging, cheering on the group. When a new member shows up for the first time, our women members have always put a new beginner in their foursome and arranged a follow-up game with other women. Something I would like to see more from our men members at Lighthouse Golf Resort.
On any given afternoon, our women members can arrive at the club as a single and walk to the first tee, joining a couple of guys they barely know. They will walk the course together and commiserate about the diabolical bad bunkers. By the end of the round, they have forged new friendships. It's a shared love of the game, an opportunity to meet new people. As that oldest of sayings goes, the GOLF BALL doesn't care whether it's a man or a woman standing over it. And neither should we.
 

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