#GolfChat – Caddies to Consumerism

For years, the perception was that the LPGA struggled to remain viable. They never seemed to generate the same viewership of the PGA, European, or Champions Tours. Some pundits suggested that the women’s game was not on par with the men because there was no real flash, no power, or that it just not that exciting. Of course this perception is bogus; if you have ever watched the LPGA Tour, you would certainly agree that these ladies have game!

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, promoters were convinced that to sell women’s golf, they needed to jazz things up! They followed the marketing strategy of other sports, that objectifying women sells. So they focused on beauty versus skill. They used images of non-professional female golfers holding clubs to catch your attention. Showing a woman in tight, revealing shorts, skirts, and tops was the way to increase sales and conversely promote golf.

However, this is where I veer from the mainstream view about women and golf. The objectification of women is not selling the sport, they are selling a product, idea, or typecast of something other than golf. The media strategy of showing a woman (who fits a fantasy from someone’s imagination) not dressed for golf, in positions never seen during a golf swing or holding a golf club in a manner to accentuate certain body parts is not focused on golf. This strategy is about consumers who, for the most part, don’t care about golf; regrettably this strategy is economically viable or else they would stop using it.

The use of sex as a marketing strategy goes much deeper than golf. From the early stages of women’s lives, most comments (meant as a compliment) focus on their looks vice their intelligence or performance. What a poor lesson we teach to half of the world’s population; talk about setting women up to fail. However, exploiting this message appears to be successful at pushing products, but does nothing to grow women’s golf.

Like lemmings, the mainstream media embraces this (in my opinion) failing strategy in order to sell to consumers. Economics drives how women are portrayed in advertising and golf is but a small subset of the overall picture. It’s as if the line from Billy Crystal’s famous song – ‘You Look Marvellous,’ which goes, “Nando, don’t be a schnook, It’s not how you feel, It’s how you look,” has taken over the world!

In today’s “in your face”, instant access, instant gratification social media strategies, the real women of golf become overshadowed! This approach acts as a detractor for women who how don’t fit the implied mould, but want to take up the game.

Moving away from mainstream media trying to sell stuff, women’s golf magazines focus on how to be better golfers. It is these publications where women’s golf is best represented; they catch our attention with golfing issues important to women. The LPGA Tour, in my opinion, endorses the challenges of becoming a golfer and follows the primary media model of improving at golf.

Golf, in its purest form, has nothing to do with how a player looks. It is a sport where hitting a white ball into a hole in the fewest strokes is the goal. There is no perfect body type or magic apparel that holds the secret to better performance on the links. It is a sport where personal results might be just having fun, a means of social interaction, or an avenue to compete; ultimately, each player determines what they want out of golf.

Economics is a core reason why women are portrayed in a manner not conducive to the growth of women’s golf. This strategy hones in on consumers with no real regard for anything but to sell something. Until this model fails, it will continue to be used; unfortunately, pending the growth of golf issue advertising budgets, the current economic model of sex selling women’s golf will not disappear! But I will contend that this strategy does not represent women’s golf, it focuses on consumerism.

Women golfers interested in starting or improving at golf would do well to quickly look past the initial barrage of nonsensical advertising. If they can see past the initial layer of craziness, they will realize that there is a completely different foundation to golf. At its core, women’s golf is a world of universal lessons in confidence, discipline, and self-control. It is a sport that embodies a positive message of personal growth. It empowers us to be successful, engaged, and ultimately to have fun. It is time to balk at mainstream consumerism and focus on the real issue; women playing golf.

7 thoughts on “#GolfChat – Caddies to Consumerism

  1. I would love to see someone develop a way to equalize the game to take distance ability out of the equation totally. After giving that idea some thought I realized it is possible if we take out the par 5’s and use separate tee boxes based on your distance. You could make it absolutely equal that way.

    A par 4 that requires me to hit a perfect drive at my normal distance plus a pitching wedge approach shot would play 400 yards for me and for DJ, maybe 500 or more. For one of the women I played the back nine with last week, it would play maybe 300 yards. And we would all be equal as far as our ability to hit the distance is concerned so the game would come down to whether we played up to our own ability.

    I think a game like that would be fun to watch the pros play and would give everyone, including the LPGA players a shot at the title. It’s probably not a good solution to that problem for all golf, but I think we need to find one or in 50-100 years all the pros will have to be 6 foot 4 inches, 220 pounds and hit a minimum of 450 yards to compete at the rate we are going.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: #GolfChat – Articles Worth Reading | The Grateful Golfer

  3. Jim, I completely agree with JJ’s perspective. Until women can crush it 350 off the tee, or soar above the rim for a thunderous dunk, or belt 450 foot home runs they are not going to be watched as much as men, nor compensated the same as their male counterparts. It’s just a fact of life and is not worth worrying about. Interestingly enough, the one exception may be professional tennis, where you could argue the women’s game is at least as compelling as the men’s.

    Otherwise women who want to take up golf should ignore all this blah blah and just go take lessons from a qualified pro. There are plenty of folks who enjoy teaching and playing with women, myself included. The barriers are not as high as one would believe despite the fact that sex still sells golf mags. That will never change, but it shouldn’t be an obstacle to participation.

    Good topic, thanks for bringing it up.

    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Always a fascinating topic, women in sports. I once wrote a sports column all about women being more competitive and fired up during competition than men and I still believe women’s sports are more entertaining than men’s for that reason, but women will always have trouble attracting an audience for one reason: The best woman in any sport can’t beat the best man and viewers of major TV sports only have eyes for the best of the best. If a woman found a way to win the Masters, that would make great TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JJ

      Perhaps, however I can relate more to the LPGA for how I can improve golf. In my opinion, as I stated, it is all economics. If the business model did not work, they would find another way to sell women’s golf.

      Cheers
      Jim

      Like

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