Women & Golf reader and life-long golfer, Laura uncovers an inequality in golf that you might not have thought about before.

Written by Laura, Women & Golf reader

There seems to be an area of inequality in golf that’s not being addressed which I believe to be a ticking timebomb in relation to the growth of women’s golf in the UK. I have searched for other articles regarding this issue, and it doesn’t seem to be being talked about.

But I believe that this is the right time to start.

I sat down one evening to start looking at the amount of annual leave that I will need to use next year to play the competitions I want to. To my horror, I totalled 22 days.

For background, I am a four-handicap golfer who plays for the county and is looking to enter some of the more prestigious competitions. I work full-time and have a standard 25 days of annual leave a year. So unless I don’t go on holiday next year, I am once again going to have to be in the position of not being able to play in everything I want to.

I have been a golfer all my life and have always accepted this as it’s just the way it is, and I will just have to miss out as a working golfer.

Is it the same in the men's game?

Whilst working out what my priorities will be I was curious. So I did a comparison on how much annual leave I would need to take to fulfill my golfing needs as a man.

I knew it would be lower, but I was shocked at just how much lower it was.

As a man in my club and county, I would need to take one day off a year and around three additional days for some of the more elite competitions. So four days off in total. And even if this wasn’t possible, there would still be a very full and fulfilling golfing calendar.

Such a discrepancy doesn’t feel fair. And this calculation is without playing in any of the women's medal or Stableford competitions at my home club. I have long since resigned myself to the fact I will very seldom enter them along with most of the trophy competitions which also happen in the week.

I am fortunate to be in the position to be a member of a second club which has a tee closure on Saturdays for women’s competitions. Most competitions run both on the weekend and the weekday, but this is the only club I know of running competitions in this way. As you would expect there are a good number of working women who have joined to improve their access to competitive golf.

It's not just a club issue

This is an issue that goes right to the heart of golf. Counties and England Golf are both running competitions in the week when the majority of the working population will struggle to play.

This issue to me has always been seen as an annoyance, but right now I am worried about the future of women’s golf if things do not change.

The economic picture in the UK is bleak and people will be needing to work longer. There are going to be fewer women able to retire at 50 and start to play golf for something to do.

This means we need golf to be attractive to the working women demographic; there is no other hobby that I can think of that requires women to use all of their holiday allowance to play in competitions but doesn’t require the same commitment from men.

I have seen so many young women go away from golf when they start working and have a family as the women’s game is currently not compatible with the working demographics' life.

This is before we start thinking about the recession the UK is facing. Golf memberships are a luxury. For a working woman who isn’t able to play the golf they want to, then sadly it’s going to be much easier for them to give this up in comparison to a man who is able to play in competitions most weekends and has far fewer barriers to participation.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I feel it’s an area that we need to start addressing at all levels before irreversible damage is done to the women’s game.

What do you think? Is this something you've experienced? We want to hear from you. If you liked this article, you'll want to read our latest features about the World Handicap System.