Are we underestimating the impact of periods on participation? Fostering a supportive atmosphere for everyone could be a game-changer.
There’s no doubt that golf is experiencing a significant shift towards inclusivity and diversity. Once an almost exclusively male past-time reserved only for a certain demographic, the game is slowly but surely opening its doors to anyone who cares to give it a try.
And one essential aspect of that transformation has been encouraging more women and girls to take up the sport.
Things like the Women in Golf Charter and the increasing visibility of women in professional golf have begun to pave the way for more females to get into golf.
As an industry, we’re starting to break down centuries-old barriers to participation for women. And as more females take up golf, we’re increasingly recognising that we need to address their unique needs and requirements – both on and off the course.
But one thing I don’t think we’re giving enough attention to is periods and how to manage them on the course.
Time to break the taboo
I follow @thefoodmedic on Instagram (if you don’t follow her, you should – I promise you won’t regret it), and in a post this week she said that three in five girls have skipped sport because of fear of leaking on their period.
I don’t think I’ve ever not played golf because of my period, but I’ve definitely had A LOT of uncomfortable rounds when Aunt Flow has been in town. No on-course toilets, the worry of leaking and uncomfortable cramps all combine to make it almost impossible to concentrate on anything else. Let alone actually enjoy your game.
And whilst more and more things become available to improve women’s experience in sport during their period, I think what the issue boils down to is twofold.
One, we don’t talk about our menstrual cycles enough (why is it still such a taboo topic?). And two, as an industry, we underestimate the impact that periods have on participation in golf.
What we should be doing about it
Last year we wrote about the leak-proof underwear from PUMA and Modibodi. Now the brands have taken that one step further and introduced a two-in-one active short; a breathable, fast-drying and leak-proof solution to playing on your period. They’re super absorbent and have built-in bike shorts for extra comfort and peace of mind.
A dress-code-confirming pair would be fantastic for golfers for protecting against periods, pee, discharge and sweat. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been worried as I’ve stood over the ball before).
Or the FabLittleBag, which offers a sustainable, discreet and convenient solution for sanitary product disposal on the course.
Making sure females feel comfortable enough to keep playing whilst they’re on their periods may not be the only solution, but it represents a powerful step towards getting more women and girls into golf.
If nothing else, introducing more female-friendly facilities is a way for golf courses to signal their commitment to inclusivity and create a more welcoming environment for everyone.
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