Women-friendly has a specific meaning in the golf industry: hole distances that offer women players a fighting chance at birdie, wider fairways and few shots that require the player to clear water or other hazards. Not-so-women-friendly: tiny greens; greens surrounded by punitive bunkers that prevent low approach shots; and women’s tees (nowadays called forward tees) that are little more than a set of markers stuck into the ground in the fairway as an afterthought.
“Mostly, it’s about a welcoming atmosphere in the golf shop,” said Patricia Baldwin, former editor of Golf for Women magazine. “Women are remarkably loyal consumers, whether it’s apparel or golf, and they definitely know when they’re not welcome.”
If you don’t think there’s a problem in this regard, check out Peter Finch’s March 2012 piece in Golf Digest, “An LPGA Tour Player Finds Out How Golf Really Treats Women.” Finch accompanied LPGA Tour player Kim Hall on rounds at five courses. With the help of a makeup artist, Hall variously posed as (sexism alert) a frumpy beginner, glamour girl, serious half-decent player and as her LPGA Tour self. Finch reported that Hall’s treatment by male golf shop staff, starters and players spanned from friendly to patronizing to overtly hostile.
So, if you’re looking for golf destinations playable at this time of year that do right by their female customers, try these.
Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando. grandcypress.com.
Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Carlsbad, Calif. parkaviara.hyatt.com.
The Boulders Resort, Scottsdale, Ariz. theboulders.com.
World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Fla. worldgolfhalloffame.com.
Westin Mission Hills Resort, Rancho Mirage, Calif., westinmissionhills.com.
Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, Ariz. loewshotels.com.