Women in Golf: Highlighting the Contributions of Top Female Golfers, Coaches, and Industry Leaders
Golf has always been a gentleman’s game. But over the years, it’s become more of a gentleman and gentlewoman’s game… Women’s golf is just as exciting as the men’s sport!
Pioneers in Women’s Golf
Mary, Queen of Scots: The Original Female Golfer
The first woman known to play golf was Mary, Queen of Scots. Born in 1542, she learned to play when she was young and continued into adulthood.
She greatly impacted the sport, introducing the French to the sport and creating the idea of caddies… As well as being the woman who commissioned the famed St. Andrews Links course in Scotland.
Babe Zaharias: The Ladies’ Legend
There’s not much Babe Zaharias couldn’t do—she gained All-American status in basketball, was an expert diver, a talented roller-skater, and excelled in track and field, setting four world records and winning three medals in the 1932 Olympics.
Zaharias started playing golf at the age of 24. When denied amateur status, she entered the men’s Los Angeles Open, becoming an instant golfing celebrity despite missing the cut.
Babe is also one of the founding members of the LPGA and won an impressive 82 titles, including a still-unrivaled 17 straight women’s amateur victories and every single golf title available at the time.
Other Female Golfing Pioneers
The women’s golfing world has seen some of the world’s best players, including:
- Edith Cummings, 1920s: The first golfer ever, male or female, to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.
- Glenna Collett-Vare, 1920s: American Hall of Fame golfing champion, author of 2 golf-related books, and only woman golfer to have won 59/60 matches in a year (with her one loss being a complete fluke).
- Patty Berg, 1950s & 60s: Turned pro in 1940, shattered knee in 1941, served in the Marine Reserves from 1942, returned to golf in 1943. One of the 13 LPGA founders, won 57 LPGA & WPGA events, and was the first female golfer to hit a hole-in-one during a USGA event!
- Annika Sorenstam, 1990s: Sorenstam has the most wins of any female golfer (90). Retired in 2008, but still heading up the LPGA’s career money list at the end of 2022!
Influential Female Golf Coaches
Players aren’t the amazing golfers in the women’s golf world. These women are leading the way in the coaching arena, helping lay the foundations for the next generations of female and male golfers.
- Pat Hurst: Head coach of the women’s golf team at the University of Southern California. Former LPGA Tour player and 1986 USGA Girls Junior champion.
- Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott: Founders of VISION54, a coaching program. Coached ten major winners and four top-ranked players and authored four best-sellers.
- Suzy Whaley: First woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event and first-ever female PGA of America president. Named one of GOLF’s “Top 100 Teachers in America” and now runs her own coaching business, Suzy Whaley Golf.
- Sandy LaBauve: Founded the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, which helps introduce the sport to girls and provides talented young female golfers with opportunities to compete.
Industry Leaders Shaping the Golfing Industry
Some admirable ladies are shaping the golf industry away from the tee boxes and bunkers.
- Mary Lou Bohn: President of Titlest’s golf ball division, the first woman to hold this position in the company.
- Anne Broholm: CEO of AHEAD, a golfing apparel & accessory company.
- Molly Solomon: Golf Channel’s Executive Producer & Executive Vice President of Content. Played a huge role in boosting the visibility of women’s golf.
A Significant Impact on the Sport of Golf
Every female golfer we’ve mentioned (plus countless others) has greatly impacted golf and women’s sport in general. These ladies have shown that anything is possible. Here’s to all the women who got us here and all those who will take us into the future!