Women golfers talked loud and long

Written by Staff Writer

Once upon a time, the game of golf was played by aristocrats only, an elite group composed of the finest of men and women from the nobility.

The city of London hosted the first International Ladies’ Golf Association (ILGA) Tour Championship in 1923, and the players had to be grand. The prizes were offered to millionaire golfers, something unheard of in 1924.

The women players were encouraged to change their clothes and come dressed more modestly, and undercutting their rank and ranking was not allowed. And the rules, which stipulated no gossip, no gossiping, no speech out of turn, were strictly enforced. They were highly respected.

In 1925, however, these men-only conditions were overturned and the gentlemen’s clubs in England took no part in the event, leaving the women golfers to play each other. A second year followed in 1926, with women once again invited to join the Masters, Muirfield and St Andrews.

Emily Pedersen is in the field for the Saudi Ladies International Pro-Am in November. Courtesy of Solzen Club

Bud and Judie Wilde (who were married in 1935), both innately good golfers, would take the initiative and hold sessions for the ladies, passing on their tips as they got older. Despite this, Gertrude Cecil, a member of the 1948 British Open and 1955 US Open, insisted that “rehabilitation is a worthwhile thing only to those with abnormal habits and abnormal character,” according to newspaper reports. She was given the job of nursing the women, but with no training in behavior.

Many considered the game too dirty to play on the public course, but this attitude was gradually relaxed, paving the way for the creation of the women’s professional league in 1960, which became more accepted, winning a golfing rights claim in 1973. And in 1978, the first men’s professional golf event in a women’s event. The most popular and recognized name in women’s golf, Margaret (Susie) McDermott, used to work for Jimmy Sinclair (17th-ranked in the world by the International Ladies’ Association), who was one of the organizers.

This led to the creation of the International Ladies’ Championship in 1979, and a brand new amateur tournament to launch with it. Women from all over the world came together to take part in a week of friendship and competition.

CNN interviewed three-time winner and current president Ilhee Lee about her success in the tournament.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, but my first year was almost like it was a holiday. Being part of that moment was amazing.

“Every time I am there, there’s so much pride inside of me that I didn’t even know was inside of me until I won.” – Ilhee Lee

At one time, golf was so played up and used only by men — with men setting the rules and all the qualities and values of what the game stood for. When I was playing, I was inspired by this idea of all of these women from all over the world.

On the golf course, I used to look at the ball and say, ‘This is my ball — I want to play.’ And as I’m playing, I’m the boss of my own golf club.

Even though I’m very competitive, I tend to share the title of captain and vice-captain with other captains, because we all love golf.

It’s amazing when we win, but it’s even more amazing when we lose. Nobody understands or appreciates your emotions better than the winners.

Georgetown is a beautiful, historic golf course, and we have about 150 history enthusiasts who come from all over the world to play.

It’s fantastic to see your hard work reflected in the course and you can see how it’s helping the history and culture of Georgetown.

“The Royal & Ancient (Bobby Jones) called the game the perfect gentleman’s game. How can you not appreciate that?” – Ben Crenshaw

There were a few wives and girlfriends and some moms who came along, and there was a lot of fun — with an underlying seriousness as well. And, of course, taking part in the first-ever women’s professional tournament was a major achievement for all of us.

Golf is about friendship and sharing a passion and an appreciation for being able to make the effort to work out, practice and have fun. It’s also the game of taking yourself out of your comfort zone and taking a chance.

And that’s one of the great things about golf.

After a difficult and hard-fought match, I’m no longer the underdog, and the game has really relaxed me and made me more focused and mature.

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