Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Alice Hewson on the rise of women’s golf

Posted on 3 February 2020 by Hamish Percy
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Women’s golf has made huge strides over the last few years and recently turned pro Alice Hewson is extremely pleased with the way the direction the sport is heading.

Alice, 22, became the first Englishwoman to play a competitive round at the Augusta National last year and won the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship back in July. She is now currently in America preparing to play on the Symetra Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET).

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Golf is a sport which is often accused of being too white, too male, too elderly and too exclusive. However, in recent years the sport has been making positive steps to increase women’s participation. Major clubs like Royal St George’s and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews have not only dropped their men-only membership but have made positive moves to attract more females into the sport.

A recent partnership between the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LGPA) and the LET has already began to push women’s professional golf to new levels. Their vision is clear- to strengthen the presence of women’s golf.

A thriving European women’s professional tour is critical to help women from the continent pursue their professional golfing dreams and to help the game to grow globally.

With women’s golf experiencing a great surge of growth in the US, the joining of the LGPA and LET will hopefully lead to similar results across the pond, expanding the women’s game in Europe.

The LGPA’s mission is to provide more opportunities for women in the game. Over the past ten years, the LGPA has had success partnering with other golf stakeholders including the PGA Tour, R&A and PGA of America to enhance opportunities for women worldwide. Their new partnership with the LET will hopefully create the strongest possible women’s tour in Europe.

A strong women’s tour in Europe will expose huge numbers of young girls to the great athletes and role models of the LET helping to inspire a generation and increase participation.

The venture will be jointly managed by the LPGA and the LET and, through their combined resources, will seek to fast track an expanded LET schedule. The partnership aims to immediately increase playing opportunities for women in Europe, and to have that schedule growth lead to both increased financial opportunities and an optional pathway to the LPGA for the tour’s top performers.

The LET has recently announced that it will offer record prize money of £15.2 million for the 2020 season, an increase of almost £4 million on last year.

Although still £42 million behind American prize money Alice believes the LGPA and LET partnership will help European women’s golf.

“They are doing really well, the fact that they are joining together in the future is going to bring a lot more events back to Europe,” Alice said.

“Europe has really struggled the past few years and the introduction of more events to play in with bigger prize funds will drive the growth.

“It is definitely going to help more girls want to get into it and more girls be able to survive on the tour.”

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The Royal and Ancient (R&A), who organise the Open, are also making great changes to women’s golf, having recently launched a Women in Golf Charter to drive an increase in the number of women and girls playing and working in golf.

The charter aims to develop a more inclusive culture within the golfing world and to allow more women and girls to flourish in the predominately maledominated sport.

“The R&A are already doing a really great job, the introduction of events where it’s both men and women competing for the same prize money in the same week, same courses, I think that is doing wonders for the women’s game,” Alice said.

“Even just getting people to the golf courses to see what level of golf we are producing and stuff like the Solheim cup this year where it was just an incredible show to watch.

“I think it gets people excited about women’s golf and just how good we are and once that excitement is there, there will be more funding going into it and it will just spiral upwards and everything will get better.”

Alice even had some advice for young girls aspiring to follow in her footsteps and become professional golfers.

“Definitely get a good coach, getting the basics right to begin with and early on are really important to golf.”

“Learn to love practice, it’s not always fun and it’s not always nice.

“But you have to work through it and when you see the progress with your coach and by yourself, its really encouraging and you can go anywhere with it.”

Alice is looking for sponsorship from companies and individuals to help her achieve her dream of playing on the Ladies European Tour and the Symetra Tour, donate here.

Check out a snippet of the interview below.