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Article published 08/03/2022

Every year on 8 March, the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women all in aid of International Women’s Day. The women of golf should be no exception. As with the rest of the sport, women’s golf suffered a huge set back due over the last couple of years with tournaments in Scotland played behind closed-doors in 2020 and with reduced audiences in 2021.  However, this summer sees a huge comeback for the women’s game with all eyes on Scotland, the home of golf, for the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire and the AIG Women’s Open, which will be played at Muirfield in East Lothian for the first time.

Recent tournaments have seen phenomenal women’s talent step into the spotlight, such as Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist who claimed her third Major title at the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie in 2021 and Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open 2021 winner, American Ryann O'Toole, grabbing her maiden LPGA Tour title at Dumbarnie Links in Fife.

Scotland’s homegrown professional talent is amongst some of the best with the likes of three-time LET winner Carly Booth, who also remains the youngest-ever Scot to qualify for the Ladies European Tour at the age of 17, Kylie Henry who won her first Ladies European Tour title in 2014 at the Deloitte Ladies Open Tournament in Amsterdam and of course Catriona Matthew OBE who boasts 11 professional wins, as well as captaining winning European Solheim Cup team’s in 2019 at Gleneagles, Perthshire and in 2021 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio and becoming the first European Solheim Cup Captain to achieve the feat of back-to-back wins.

In the amateur game, the future of women’s golf looks to be in safe hands, with exciting up and coming talent such as Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling leading the way. The former finished joint-tenth in her major debut at AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in 2021, her participation in which came courtesy of ending a 24-year wait for a Scottish winner of the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship. A win which has also secured spots in both the US Women’s Open and Augusta National Women’s Amateur this year.

This week, Duncan was named in the Great Britain and Ireland squad for this year’s Curtis Cup alongside Hannah Darling who was the first Scottish winner of the R&A’s Girls’ Amateur in two decades. Following this win Darling, who also represented Team Europe in the PING Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in 2019, has sealed exemptions into the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship, the US Girls’ Junior Championship, AIG Women’s Open Final Qualifying and, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur where fans can watch her play this year.

As part of Scotland’s hosting of The 2019 Solheim Cup, which in part targeted increasing participation levels in the sport amongst women and young girls, Scotland is hoping to see success on the national and international stage for many more years to come.

VisitScotland and the Scottish Government remain strong supporters of the women’s game in Scotland, recognising the role it has to play in the hosting and staging of world-class women’s golf tournaments. VisitScotland recently announced a new long-term commitment to the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open and remains a key partner, working with The R&A to elevate the status of The AIG Women’s Open.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with four inspirational Scottish golfers: Beth Allen, Louise Duncan, Heather Macrae and Michele Thomson:

Beth Allan

Beth Allan

I am Beth Allen and originally from California, but now a resident of Leith, Edinburgh and currently in my 18th year on tour and a former European number one.

Who is your female golfing hero and why?

I have many female golfing heroes, but I have narrowed it down to two. One is my mum who is a very good player herself. My mum always encouraged me to play golf, but never pushed me. Ever since I was a young girl, she has created a fun environment for me to play in and continues to do so! She is my number one fan and supporter.

My other hero is Karrie Webb. I looked up to Karrie before I turned pro. I watched her win at Dinah Shore and was always inspired by her competitive nature. I have been lucky to get to know Karrie personally and her passion for growing the game and giving back to players on every level is so admirable. Her achievements on the course are also incredible!

What makes Scotland the perfect stage for women’s golf?

Scotland makes a great stage for golf for everyone because there is nothing like playing in the home of golf. For women, it is especially good because of the quality of golf courses and the backing of women’s golf that we have received. The prize money for the Women's Scottish Open has continued to grow and the attention the women’s golf receives for playing events on courses like The Renaissance Club, Dumbarnie Links and Dundonald Links is invaluable.

What advice you would give to young girls wanting to get involved in golf?

The advice that I would give to a young girl starting out is to make sure to have fun! Golf is a game that can turn into a career, but it doesn’t have to. One of my favourite activities to do is play golf with my friends and family. It is important to be patient and try to enjoy everything that the game has to offer such as being outdoors, exercise and camaraderie.

 

Louise Duncan

Louise Duncan

My name is Louise Duncan, and I started playing golf when I was 10 years old at West Kilbride Golf Club in North Ayrshire. Through the years, I have enjoyed playing golf socially and competitively to a high level.

Who is your female golfing hero and why?

My female golfing hero is Lydia Ko! Lydia is a golfing legend and always continues to impress on the LPGA.

What makes Scotland the perfect stage for women’s golf?

Scotland, being the home of golf, is a great stage for women’s golf as there’s multiple quality golf courses that can showcase the talents of the best in the world, as previously proven. 

What advice you would give to young girls wanting to get involved in golf?

Keep at it, there is no better feeling than hitting your best shot ever! Enjoy going out with some friends and possibly meeting friends for life.

 

Heather MacRae

Heather McRae

I am Heather and a a PGA and Ladies' European Tour professional and attached to Gleneagles Hotel.  

Who is your female golfing hero and why?

Growing up Annika Sorenstam was definitely my hero, to me she changed the game for women. Catriona Matthew is a huge inspiration and role model. Watching her win the Women’s British Open so soon after becoming a mother was amazing and she is such a great person too.  She was always there to offer advice to myself and I am sure to all the other Scottish amateurs and professionals. 

What makes Scotland the perfect stage for women’s golf?

I think since the pandemic the number of women and girls participating in golf has increased and people have been out and getting to see just how beautiful our golf courses are in Scotland. Golf does not always have to be competitive, and I think more people are starting to realise that.

In terms of professional golf, some the best courses in Scotland were designed a long time ago and not for the huge distances that the male professionals hit the ball now. I really think that we, as female professionals can play these championship courses how they were designed to be played and produce great entertainment and performances. I think a great example was Sophia Popov’s win at Royal Troon in 2020 and hopefully we we’ll see something similar at Muirfield this year.

What advice you would give to young girls wanting to get involved in golf?

Do it with a group of friends! Golf is much more fun, especially at the start, if you have friends to enjoy the activity with.  Everyone will pick it up at different speeds but to get started I think it is so important to enjoy the social, fun part with others.

 

Michele Thomson

Michele Thomson

My name is Michele Thomson, I am a Ladies' European Tour pro from Aberdeen.

Who is your female golfing hero and why?

My golfing hero is Catriona Matthew. Obviously being from Scotland, I looked up to Catriona growing up, she is an amazing player and a major winner.

What makes Scotland the perfect stage for women’s golf?

Scotland is a great stage for women's golf as it is the home of golf, there is so many amazing golf courses.

What advice you would give to young girls wanting to get involved in golf?

My advice for girls who want to get involved in golf would be to find a golf course where there are some other girl members and have fun together. Practice hard and you will get the rewards.

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