Monday, March 30, 2009

5 Questions With Another Passionate Golfer

(No, it is not Women's Golf Month yet - I just found this video fitting.)

Today's guest is a fellow blogger on the Women Talk Sports with me. Sherry Tabb is in the golf industry and a strong voice for women in golf. Her blog, Ladies On The Tee is dedicated to help women embrace the game of golf in greater numbers. The mission is to develop a community of women that will share their experiences, their ideas, their successes and their overall passion for the game of golf. Sherry took a moment out of her busy schedule to be my guest today.

1. When did you start writing about golf? What inspired you to start Ladies On The Tee?

I started my blog in October of 2008. I have been in the golf business for 13 years now. I own Tee 'M Up Enterprises which specializes in helping organizers of golf events. During this time I have noticed the overwhelming lopsidedness of the number of men playing versus women. In particular the lack of golf and business networking with most women playing the game struck me as regrettable. There was and is so much misunderstanding, fear, and intimidation about the value of golf in general and in the business world when it comes to the female perspective. Added to my personal desire to help women embrace the game of golf was the extra motivation to provide a women's golf community and resource center since the premier women's golf magazine, Golf for Women, shut down last summer. That was the last straw. It was time to act on my passion and take my business to another level.

2. How long have you played golf? What's your handicap (if applicable) and how often do you play?

Interestingly, I started my golf business without knowing a whole lot about golf. While rehabbing from shoulder surgery I was invited to play in a golf scramble. Since my shoulder was not completely rehabbed I was not able to take a full swing or swing hard so I had a fair amount of success playing. I was hooked!! That was 13 years ago.

My handicap is currently 12.9 index but I have not played a lot over the past couple of years. What a work in the business but not play regularly. That is my goal this year - to play more. Hopefully to get in a round or practice at the range at least once per week. When I played every week my handicap was 8.9. I'd like to get it back to single digits!!

3. What other sports have you been involved in during your life? What competitive or team sports have you been involved in, if any?

Tennis - I started playing at the age of nine and made it my career as a teaching professional for close to 15 years. I became the first female Head Tennis Pro in my area. I competed locally as a junior and into adulthood. I specialized in doubles towards the end of my career due to chronic shoulder problems. I won numerous titles in Singles & Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles over the span of my career.

Additionally, I played about every sport possible from the time I learned to walk. Before organized sports I would play baseball and basketball with the neighborhood boys (much to my older brother's dismay) In grade school I played on our school's kickball, volleyball, and softball teams. High school - I played on our basketball and volleyball teams.

In addition, I played on ASA (American Softball Association) and USSSA (US Slowpitch Softball Association) teams starting while I was in high school and continued until I was in my late 30s. I traveled around the country playing and competed in a few National Tournaments. I played tennis and softball for the University of Cincinnati.

I would have to say that overall, tennis was my real passion until injuries required that I step away from the game. Golf is now my passion, both playing and supporting its growth in any way that I am able. I have competed in a couple of local golf tourneys and had the good fortune to win the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Mixed Couples title with my partner, Kevin Manley. That was a blast because I was a relative newcomer to the game and wasn't even sure of the scoring system being used (Stableford System). That probably helped keep me focused since I didn't realize we were in contention!!

4. Who do you consider to be good role models for women and girls in the world of golf? Are there others that you consider good role models outside of golf? What makes a good role model in the sports world?

There are 2 names to jump to mind as role models for womens and girls in golf. Without a doubt, Nancy Lopez is one of the greatest ambassadors of the game and goes above and beyond to give back...all the time! Paula Creamer embodies that same understanding of 'her place' in the game of golf today. Both of these women are 'class acts' and we all can learn a lot from them...the way they handle themselves in good and difficult situations, the respect they have for the game and its history and their responsibility to give back through their charitable involvement.

There are so many remarkable women in sports today an din the past that would qualify for this classification. Chris Evert is one of them. She did not possess 'natural talent' but took her game to the top of the rankings through her mental toughness, drive and determination. She continues to give back through her Academy - helping youngsters get involved in the game even today. Pat Head Summit is also a role model - she has a drive and capability of pulling the best from her players. She has gone where few (even men) have gone with her coaching career.

The common characteristics that I deem important to be a 'role model' are: integrity, positive self-image, community involvement, realization of their place in the game and the importance of being 'accessible' to their fans. To summarize, a role model is a 'class act'. Things are not 'about them' but about all who they touch and whom touch them.

5. What do you think would get more women playing golf? What challenges do you think women face on the course that are unique to them?

More outreach from those of us who do play. This could be in the form of an invitation to take a lesson together, join a league, go to the driving range, attend an event, watch golf on TV or just go to the course to play for fun. Once a person sees what the game is all about and that you don't have to be strong or an accomplished athlete to play, a light bulb goes off and some of the 'walls' come tumbling down.

Also, an emphasis is needed from the course management to make women feel welcome from the moment they arrive on the course until they get in their cars to leave ( See my article "Is the Golf Course YOU Play 'Female Friendly'?). We definitely need to get rid of the "Old Boy's Club"!

Personally, I think that there is an underlying sense of 'I don't have time to play a game' that more women than men have. Getting over that is a huge hurdle. This requires education of all that golf can offer...stress reduction, physical exercise, enjoying the great outdoors, social/business networking and FUN!

Other challenges may be related to the stereotype that women in general are slow players. Have you ever seen how much time some older male players take just looking for lost balls??? Now that is SLOW.

There is a great sense of fear and intimidation for a lot of women that they don't belong or they aren't good enough. Trust me, hackers come in all sizes, shapes and sexes. Given that there are more men playing the game than women, it is fair to say that there are more BAD male golfers than women. That does not keep them from playing NOR should it.

As long as we all take the time to learn basic golf etiquette and some basic rules of the game that is all that is needed. There is a handicap system in golf that 'evens the playing field' for golfers of all abilities. The game of golf is one in which you challenge yourself more than compete against others. It is a game that, if you so desire, you can go play by yourself.

There is so much more that I could ramble on about this wonderful game. The game of golf needs women for its survival. Women and girls need to understand that we are a vital force in this arena and embrace golf for whatever personal reasons desired.


Sherry said...

Thanks, Apryl! I appreciate all that you do for women's sports.

All the best!

Apryl DeLancey said...

Thank YOU Sherry!

Lindsay said...

I like how she said there are plenty of bad male golfers out there, and that doesn't stop them from playing. It shouldn't stop women either! I think a lot of women are afraid of not being very good or slowing down the game. Taking a lesson from a female golfer would be a great idea for a lot of women.

And I agree, the golfing atmosphere is set up for the "Old Boys." I mean really, young women with low cut shirts bending over to grab beers to hand out? Hmm...

Apryl DeLancey said...

I see the bad men on the course all the time and even play with some!

DaveAndrews said...

Great perspectives, Sherry. Keep plugging for the women's game!