Women and Golf: Babe Didrikson and the Founding of the LPGA

At this year's Rio Olympics, the world watched as Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Inbee Park of South Korea dueled for the gold medal, with Park coming out on top. The real victor, however, was ladies' golf, as a whole, with the sport enjoying unprecedented exposure on the global stage.

Today, women and golf go hand-in-hand. During our 2016 season at Bucks Run, we have invited women to participate in the great game of golf through a variety of means. Ladies can come to our weekly Thursday night Ladies' Golf Clinics to learn the game and practice new skills. Or, they can become a member of one of our two great Ladies' Golf Leagues. In fact, we are part of a growing trend of courses all over America offering ladies' leagues, discounted lessons, and female-oriented instruction.

But ladies' involvement in golf wasn't always this way. It took the courageous efforts of women in the 1950s to open the sport. One woman, in particular, would gain fame as the "First Lady of Golf." Her name was Babe Didrikson.

Babe Didrikson was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1911. At a young age, she distinguished herself as a superior athlete, but not through golf. At the 1932 Olympics, she won gold in javelin and the 80-meter hurdles. She narrowly missed the gold in the high jump, settling for silver, despite matching the then-world record. She took to the links in 1935, drawn by the scenic beauty of her local course. Ladies golf at the time was mostly an amateur affair, and since she had competed professionally in basketball, she was denied amateur status. Therefore, she competed with professional male golfers instead. In 1938, with only three years experience and without the benefit of lessons, she competed in the Los Angeles Open -- a Men's PGA Tournament. No female golfer before had tried it, and no one after her would do it for six decades.

Through the 1940s, she competed in the Women's Professional Golf Association, dominating the tour. Unfortunately, that tour folded a few years later due to lack of interest. Her status as a fan favorite was instrumental in enticing sponsorship dollars to sustain the tour. In 1945, she again made history when she returned to the Los Angeles Open and made the cut. Being the first woman to make the cut in a Men's PGA event elevated her fame and inspired ladies golf for future generations. Later, along with 12 other women, she formed the LPGA in 1950. As a gold medalist and all-around talent, her presence was a major draw in the early days of the LPGA.

Bucks Run Golf Club is proud to carry on the tradition of ladies golf with special rates, clinics, and leagues. 

Posted by admin at Sep 07, 2016 Category: September 2016
Tags: Bucks Run Golf Club, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Golf, Ladies, Women, Leagues, Clinics