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Sometimes it's hard to be a woman golfer

Jennifer MarioBy Jennifer Mario,

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - We all have our pet peeves - cars dawdling along in the fast lane, the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, etc. Golf comes with a whole golf-specific set of minor annoyances.

Everyone has played with the guy whose idea of "ready golf" is to hit when they're damn good and ready. Or, they've had their partner's cell phone ring right in the middle of their backswing.

Well for us women, on top of all the usual golf annoyances, there are a whole separate host of irritations to really get our panties in a wad. Men, you can all count yourselves lucky for never experiencing things like this:

"It's a par 4 for me, a par 5 for you." What's up with that? At the end of the day, why should my 92 mean something different than yours? If the architects honestly thought that a hole plays too long for the ladies, then here's a crazy idea: move the tee box up. Wouldn't that make a lot more sense than having an entirely different par system?

By the same token, don't try sticking red tee markers on the white tee box. Pony up the cash and give us a real tee box, please. While you're at it, would it kill you to give us a ball washer or trash can?

Sarah MacDougall, a sports marketing consultant in Raleigh, N.C., has a different tee box peeve.

"Tee box position should be based on handicap, not gender," MacDougall said. "I play from the ‘ladies tees' because I'm not good enough to play from anywhere else. But if a guy is a 30 handicap, why the hell is he playing from the back tees?"

A fine point. Why indeed? Every now and then I step back to the whites just so I can play the same tees as my male playing partners (to the detriment of my score). But I think they would actually poke needles in their eyes before playing the reds with me - which brings us to the next pet peeve.

Sexism. True story: I walked into a pro shop with money to spend. I'd decided to splurge on a really nice set of irons - Callaway X-14s, to be specific. We're talking about an $800 purchase. I stepped to the counter to ask for help, but the salesman turned away so as to continue his telephone conversation uninterrupted.

Had he been helping another potential customer, I would've had no problem with this. But from what we could hear, this was no customer. "I know!" he shouted to the person on the other end. "The beer wench was so hot! I'm serious, man, that course had the hottest cart chicks I've ever seen."

No, I'm not making this up. The good news is, another salesperson emerged from a back room and earned a nice commission.

I'm not saying I need gentlemen to hold the door for me or doff their hats when I enter a room (although I certainly wouldn't complain if they did). But yakking about the hotness of the "beer wench" in front of a customer - any customer, female or not - is simply unacceptable. Save the frat boy talk for the frat house. Duh.

Not enough shopping. What's the point of that microsection of the pro shop they call "women's golf"? Haven't they figured out by now that women 1) like to look good and 2) have money to spend?

Give women something to buy and they'll buy it! And they won't just buy the shirt - they'll also buy the shorts, the matching hat, a gift or two for their golfing friends and, oh yeah, a new glove while they're at it. Give us a real "women's golf" section, with plenty of styles and sizes and a reasonable range of prices. Sometimes I feel like Romy and Michelle crying over "Pretty Woman:" Why don't they let her shop?

Inhi Suh, an executive at IBM, decries this lack of selection.

"Come on, where's the creativity and fun? Dressing like a guy doesn't mean that you'll play like one (good or bad) so why not get with the times," Suh said. "This includes accessories like wind/rain breakers, hats, sunglasses, socks, shoes, etc. Let's get rid of the boxy style with polo collared shirts and boxy shorts. And can we have better colors than pastel?"

Amen, sister. Let us shop!

Unisex golf bags. They have women's clubs, women's shoes, even women's balls. I'm not sure why a ball cares about the gender of the person hitting it, but whatever. The one thing they don't have is women's golf bags.

No wait, technically they do. If you ask for one at the pro shop they'll point you to some overgrown flowered cosmetics bags for the cart-riding powder puff set. But ask for women's walking bags and you'll get the usual arrow pointing toward the singleton walking bag section.

Unlike balls, bags should know the gender of the person using it, because the average woman is neither the same size nor shape of the average man. That means we need bags with shorter straps.

Even on its shortest setting, my bag dangles somewhere south of my buttocks and I have to pinch the straps together across my shoulders or they'll slide off - talk about a good walk spoiled. Golf bag designers of the world, please give us a decent women's walking bag!

Many women complain that their pet peeve is stereotypes - because they're women, they're assumed to be slow, bad, too talkative, fill in the blank. Assumptions like that are actually kind of an "anti-peeve" of mine.

Bring it on - there's nothing I like better than to watch one of those ass-umers struggle to defend his manhood after I smack a drive that waves to his ball as it passes it by. Think I'm slow because I'm a woman? I'm not the one spending half my day in the woods, big boy.

Tammy Wynette had it right, sometimes it's hard to be a woman. Good thing a good round of golf makes it all worth it in the end.

Jennifer Mario is a regular contributor to the TravelGolf Network and the author of "Michelle Wie: The Making of a Champion" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2006). A graduate of Duke University, she lives in the Triangle area of North Carolina with her family.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Golf Shopping for Ladies

    Lefty wrote on: Apr 28, 2005

    Respectfully, as a man who tries to buy clothes at ANY given store, the selection is infinitisimally smaller than the 'Ladies' section. Frankly, I for one am glad to have a place where the clothing and accessories for sale are geared primarily toward men!
    Ladies, you have over-run everything else that has been traditionally 'sacred' to men, leave our Pro Shops alone!
    Cheers! From Ohio!
    Lefty Forever


  • Golf In General

    Jane Craft wrote on: Apr 26, 2005

    I started playing golf in 10/03 and after a year, my handicap was 19. I love golf now but it is mind boggling to me that someone doesn't do more for the women in the pro shops. Trust me, that's where your money would double. We like to play and look the part of a lady, not always dressing like the guys. To be honest the guys like it when the ladies look nice so do your homework and give us a better share of the pro shop and you'll see more customers and happier golfers who get there early to shop!


  • Ladies Golf

    Ms. Bernie Gristwood wrote on: Apr 13, 2005

    Obviously from Paul's comments, he does not play with women much, spouse, girlfriend or otherwise. If he did then he'd realize what is said is true.
    My comments are there is nothing worse then a 30 plus male playing from the back tees. IT'S HANDICAP, BOYS! Play where you should.
    And while I'm at it, may I add several other beefs? Since when does looking for your lost ball include pulling out "willy" and urinating where other people may soon have to walk? Come on!
    Also, if there are others playing from tee boxes forward of yours, why rush to your carts and head out to the fairway before the other, ususally female, player hits? The secrets out, now you know why my aim is so good. Opps, Fore!


      • RE: Ladies Golf

        paul fisher wrote on: Apr 25, 2005

        yes, it is handicap, If you are playing in a copetition that states that you will play off the white tees then that is what you do.
        In men's golf we do not favour the weak other than their handicap.


      • RE: Ladies Golf

        George Lee wrote on: Apr 24, 2005

        Well said Ms Gristwood


  • ladies golf

    paul fisher wrote on: Apr 13, 2005

    ladies are not supposed to have balls.
    If they want equalism on the course then why not do away with ladies comps and just have one big open one.
    same goes for tennis as well.


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