Golf was traditionally a men’s sport for centuries. Originating in Scotland (UK), informal and undocumented games were played. It wasn’t until 1764 that the 18-hole game was official. There is a running joke on the golf course saying: Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden. At hearing this I would chuckle, but I was curious if it was based on any truth.
So, when and how did women enter the world of golf? Women in all parts of the world now play golf for pleasure and competitively.
Several professional tournaments for women were staged during the 1920s and ’30s. Important players from this era include Glenna Collett from the U.S. and Joyce Wethered of Great Britain. It was not until the 1940s that efforts began in earnest to form a professional golf organization for women. The first, the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA), was chartered in 1944.
The WPGA did not continue past 1949, unfortunately. It did pave the way, however, for the Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA, to form shortly after in 1950. The LPGA is now responsible for five (5) major championship tours for women to compete on a national and global level. The US Women’s Open, established in 1946, carried over under the LPGA’s wing. This open is the oldest tour established for women.