August 2008

 

Support Women's Golf...

If you look at the local golf scene, mostly all the buzz is about the up and coming young male Vietnamese players, but relatively nothing is mentioned about the girls. In fact, I am unaware of any golf program specifically targeted at young girls.

Ok, sure, there are always some "Ladies Specials" to help attract women to the courses mid-weed, but the truth is that if you really want to delve into it, the ladies have always gotten the short end of the stick…so to speak.

The last Vietnamese ladies SEA Games golf team was during my tenure as coach back in 1999 and again in 2001, but after that, the powers-that-be decided to conserve resources and focus only on the men.

There is no doubt that the men have made huge strides over the last 10 years or so and deserve to be recognised for their efforts. Many of them are my former students, so I take pride when they do well, even when under a new coach or teacher. Once part of the family, always part of the family I always say.

But I am depressed by the lack of recognition and support for the ladies.

If you look at the list of female Vietnamese golfers, the same names can be found atop the leader boards time and time again...it hardly ever changes.

Back when I was with Thu Duc, we held a Ladies League which was highly appreciated by the female members of the golf community, but since then, only Dean Cashion bothered to take the initiative to launch a ladies-only tournament – which was a huge success, by the way.

For some reason, club managers and tournament organisers feel that there is "no money in ladies golf" and prefer to concentrate on the men because they are the breadwinners and there are many more male players than female.

Somebody better take a look at the amount of Asian ladies on the US LPGA Tour.

Vietnam is playing catch-up to the rest of the world in terms of developing young players due to its late start, but if this trend continues, Vietnam will be light-years behind Korea, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan in regards to female players.

I have heard all of the ridiculous arguments over the years: "Women are the weaker of the sexes and shouldn’t play sports." "Women have to rely on their husbands for their money and they have limited budgets, so clubs make no money from the women."

What a load of fertilizer. Ok, let’s look at this rationally...

"Women are the weaker sex." Yeah, right. Men pass out crying while passing a kidney stone, so can you imagine them trying to have a baby? Weaker, my butt. I have seen women pick up a burning hot pot from the stove barehanded without so much as a grimace whereas men would be screaming and looking for ice.

The fact is that women can tolerate a lot more pain then men. They are stronger in many ways than men and scientists even claimed they are more suited for space travel than men. The only difference is that women are not as physically strong as men (but that is changing through better conditioning).

In golf, physical strength is less important than technique and mental toughness, which is why the game is perfectly suited for everyone.

Men and ladies can compete head-to-head fairly, husbands can play with their wives and, indeed, the children can also join in thanks to different tee boxes and handicaps.

So why do many clubs insist on looking at women as "second-class citizens?"

Well, there is no doubt that there are far more male players than women and therefore, men dominate the weekend bookings, which is fair because they work Monday – Saturday and need to relax at least one day per week.

Women, on the other hand, can play a round of golf while the children are in school during the week.

Which leads me to the other common objection: "Women have to rely on their husbands for their money and they have limited budgets, so clubs make no money from the women."

This is a fair comment, but it must also be remembered that more and more women own their own businesses and are General or Financial Directors of large corporations. While they still bump against the "glass ceiling" from time to time, many have broken through and have even built their own golf courses and banks.

Considering that, in addition to working, women still usually have to cook for their families, take care of the children and make sure the household is well maintained.

Personally speaking, it seems that clubs should try to take extra special care of the women because if anyone deserves a break, it’s them.


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