BBC news journalist and presenter Naga Munchetty is an avid golfer. She's tell Women & Golf the importance of her ladies section and why not all lady golfers feel the same way.
By Naga Munchetty
So my golf game is improving slowly and steadily – I’m pleased to say it, because I’m no longer petrified about what will happen when I strike a ball, but also because I am BORED of talking about what is going wrong. It’s far more fun to savour and retell tales of good shots after a round.
I definitely put down the improvement to lessons and practice but also to ladies’ club golf. I don’t think that I’ve ever been so grateful that the ladies’ section at my club makes such an effort with the ‘fun’ competitions. Be the format ‘Best 2 Scores out of 3’, ‘Texas Scrambl’e, ‘Dubai Stableford’, ‘Viennese Waltz’ , the list is almost endless… It has managed to lure me back to enjoying golf again, even when my shots have been shocking and the encouragement from my various team members has proven invaluable.
I’ve been thinking about what being part of a ladies’ section means to me. I’ve taken it as a given fact; you’re a member of a golf club, so of course you play a part in the section. However, recently I’ve come across a few ladies at various clubs who have deliberately not participated in ladies’ days, preferring to play with their husbands or with like-minded friends who also prefer not to join in.
I do find this odd. If it weren’t for the less intense competitions I would be a nervous wreck when it came to Medals or Stablefords, and I wouldn’t have a clue who half the ladies were. Now I know the majority of them and am perfectly comfortable playing any format with any of them.
One lady I spoke to said that she didn’t want to embarrass herself in front of others or annoy anyone as she was just a beginner. I told her that we all started at the beginning and that anyone who has forgotten that should take a good look at themselves and recognise how idiotic they are being.
I know some ladies who have deliberately gone out of their way to make newer players feel unwelcome in casual groups because they are “too slow” or “take too long” – I wouldn’t mind if these fussy ladies were playing off scratch and were playing to earn a living but when they have average (at best) club handicaps and have held those for years, I simply can’t take them seriously. They haven’t improved, but think it perfectly acceptable to sneer at or hinder others who, although are not yet good players, ARE keen to be better.
When there are ladies who resolutely stick to their cliques, it is all the more important that ladies’ sections work hard to develop fun competitions which are suitable for everyone – regardless of handicap.
Once ladies are assured that there is a place for all types of players in the less serious competitions, it undoubtedly builds confidence. Lo and behold they start to enter the knockouts or qualifiers and surprise, surprise that means more goes towards funds for the ladies’ section.
The above is an extract from Naga Munchetty’s column in the July/August issue of Women & Golf, on sale on Friday 5 June. Never miss an issue, visit https://subscribeme.to/women-golf-magazine