Giving women's golf a big push and boost

Tanah Merah Country Club's lady captain Gillian Sim believes that having more social golf events will encourage more women to play the sport.
Tanah Merah Country Club's lady captain Gillian Sim believes that having more social golf events will encourage more women to play the sport.PHOTO: SINGAPORE GOLF ASSOCIATION

It is said that at the end of the 17th century, Scottish judge Lord Moncrieff suggested that women golfers should drive the ball no further than 70 or 80 yards.

His reasoning: "The posture and gestures required for a full swing are not particularly graceful when the player is clad in female dress."

The eminent judge should have been around today. And he would have changed his opinion if the organisers had invited him to the recent HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club, where the world's leading golfers gave an exhibition of the beauty of poise and swing.

Women's golf nowadays is such a graceful, desirable and stylish sport that fans are attracted to their events for their high standard, appeal and charm.

The game has come thus far since women golfers wielded their clubs in 1552. And over the years, the barriers preventing women from playing the game have been falling; from removing prejudice against the ladies' game to allowing them admission to reputed clubs such as Augusta National, Pine Valley and Muirfield.

Still, statistics show that in many countries, women make up only about 25 per cent of the golf-playing population. In Singapore, surveys show about 18,000 of 70,000 golfers are women.

The principal reason for that is that women have several roles to play - career woman, mother, homemaker and caregiver in addition to household chores.

And so, even the sporty types take to the game at a later stage in their lives when the children are old enough to fend for themselves and their household duties are lightened.

Jasbir Kaur is one of them. The septuagenarian was an avid sportswoman in her younger days, playing badminton, tennis, squash and every game her siblings played in the small towns in Malaysia.

The once-familiar face at Sembawang Country Club, whose best handicap index was 29, took up the game in her mid-40s and still plays the occasional social round.

The wife of popular retired armed forces personnel, Colonel Gurcharan Singh, now a course designer, said: "When the kids were young, I had to look into all their matters and I did not have time for golf. But once they were old enough, I joined my husband and friends like club player Kim Sagadeva at Sembawang."

To promote the women's game, the Singapore Golf Association (SGA) is organising an International Women's Day golf campaign this month.

Women golfers will also be asked to post a photo or video on Facebook or Instagram of themselves hitting a shot/swing/putt/chip and explaining why they love golf. They have to include the hashtags #teamgolfsg #womensgolfday.

The SGA has prepared a Happy Women's Golf Day post with messages from president Ross Tan, general manager Jerome Ng and committee member Goh Kui Hwa.

Social media participants can win a Grand Prize (golf game with local female professionals at Tanah Merah Country Club (TMCC)/Sentosa Golf Club/Seletar Country Club/Singapore Island Country Club), and a goodie bag from Titleist/FJ.

The SGA will collate the photographs from all flights and end off with a finale post to celebrate Women's Golf Day. Sixty other women will win lucky draw goodie bags from Titleist/FJ in celebration of SGA's 60th anniversary next month.

TMCC lady captain Gillian Sim said: "To encourage more women to play golf in Singapore, I would recommend more social golf events in country clubs. This is a great venue for ladies to meet up and share contacts.

"For career women, deals can be confirmed and relationships can be developed. When I was country manager for Singapore and Malaysia for a firm, I would bring my customers to play golf and got to know them better."

Dominic Wall, an R&A director, summed up: "The R&A sees the International Women's Golf Day as a great initiative to encourage participation and inclusiveness globally for women's golf.

"The Singapore Golf Association, Tanah Merah Country Club and Acushnet Golf are to be congratulated on their commitment to this initiative and their support for women's golf in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2021, with the headline 'Giving women's golf a big push and boost'. Subscribe