Female Golfers Portrayed in Media Today

Females were not able to play sports nor were they considered athletes until a Title IX law was passed in 1972. There are very few films that feature female golfers as of 2016. However, there are 14 movies of male golfers as the main characters and only two about women. The game of golf was known originally for gentlemen only and ladies were forbidden to play. Female golfers were not recognized until the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA) was formed into the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in 1950. The LPGA tour has made women golfers more recognized, but still today female golfers are not portrayed as often as male golfers are in the media in the United States.

This blog post will be the examination of both a film, Swing Away, and a documentary, The Founders, which feature female golfers. Also discussed will be other golf movies that are all about male golfers with no mention of female golfers. This will look at the reasons why female golfers are not portrayed in many movies. The two films show women golfers and their lives of playing golf and the recognition for them in the public.

The Founders Film

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The Founders is a documentary film directed by Fisk Charlene and written by Carrie Schrader. Released in 2016, this documentary was screened in multiple film festivals all over the United States. This is a great story of 13 amateur women golfers who created the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA), which eventually turned into the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). The purpose of this film was to show how the LPGA was created and that it wanted to have the world recognize that women can also be great golfers. This film is for anyone who believes in the transformative power of defying the odds.

Women golfers were treated unfairly and the world of golf discriminated against them. The film started as both female and male golfers played together in the the All-American Championship in Chicago, but not against one another. The winner for the ladies division got $500 and the male winner got $10,000. Women golfers wanted to equalize the purses for winning, which led them to separate themselves from the males. That catalyst led to the formation of the Women’s Professional Golf Association in 1944. In 1950, the 13 amateur women golfers had gone through many obstacles in order to reach their goal of becoming a professional sport for women by creating the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). The film showed that women golfers were unnoticed for many years and that the LPGA made a big impact on making them more visible. Once women golf was recognized as a professional sport, women were seen as great golfers, and they are now able to earn money by winning tournaments.

A review on The Founders by Violet Lucca discusses the good and bad about the film. “It explains that the LPGA was founded in 1950 and is one of the world’s longest-running women’s professional sports associations, and that it has attracted skilled female athletes of all races and classes the world over” (Lucca, 2016). Also mentioned in the article was that the LPGA never banned African Americans from playing and actively boycotted courses that didn’t permit them to enter the clubhouse. The Founders is a documentary that has a reenactment as well as interviews with the surviving founders of the LPGA. The subjects of the film are now elderly women who stood up against sexism years before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The film highlighted the financial problems of the LPGA’s early years. Women were forced to perform maintenance on the golf course, do the promotional work, and carpool between tournaments. The film discusses what the women had to face while playing golf. There was an incident where one of the top three female golfers in the U.S. was not allowed to enter the clubhouse on the course she was playing on in 1941. Shirley Spork, one of the founders, said, “Golf was a rich man’s game. You couldn’t compete unless you were part of an organization or private club.” This explains why it was not easy for women to play golf before the LPGA was formed. With no organization, they were not able to play unless they were part of a private club, but also they were not welcomed because it was considered a man’s game.

Swing Away

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Swing Away is a sports drama directed by Michael Nickles. The movie was released in certain theaters on May 7, 2016. This movie is about a professional golfer named Zoe Papadopoulos who had a meltdown on the last hole of a golf tournament and got suspended from the tour for it. She then travels to her grandparents’ village in Greece to get away from all the negative attention about her on the media. Being back in Greece, Zoe was able to regain control of her game and helped put the local golf course back in the hands of the villagers. The purpose of the movie is to teach about sportsmanship, the game of golf, and the cultures in Greece.

This is a good movie that presents a real life scenario of a golfer who couldn’t overcome her emotions after missing an important putt to force a playoff. Many golfers have gone through this, and it is great that she was able to turn her life around after her suspension. Zoe Papadopoulos was a professional golfer on the LPGA who had a mental breakdown and disrespected the association, the audience, and the golf course. During her suspension, she headed to her parents’ village in Greece and was able to participate in Greek customs with her grandparents. During her time in Greece, she mentored a ten year-old girl with her golf game. The public golf course in the village was in bad condition and Zoe was able to help the manager out and make the golf course more attractive. Along the way, the owner of the golf course did not accept Zoe as the pro and wanted to reconstruct the golf course into a five-star resort. The deal made was that the owner had to play against the 10 year-old girl that Zoe had been teaching. The girl won. The villagers were the owners of the golf course once again and Zoe headed back to America to play the rest of the tournaments on tour. The beginning of the movie portrayed a female golfer in a negative way, but it also gave much advice for women golfers.

A review of the movie Swing Away was written by Simi Horwitz. Swing Away was a sport and family movie that gives inspiration for female teens and golfers. The review discussed about the good and bad of the movie. The movie presented the female professional as emotional, strong, and community-oriented. While her suspension, she made progress with her golf game and helped the community of the village get their golf course back. Throughout the her suspension, Zoe learned about the power of resilience, heritage and second chances. The story of the movie was a great connection between the game of golf and Ancient Greece. It was mentioned that golf was formed in Ancient Greece. The film is very enjoyable and can be watched by any age in certain theaters. Mentioned in the article was a interesting fact about how “Swing Away was the first movie that featured a professional golfer as its heroine” (Horwitz, 2017). Compared to other sports, golf movies only had two films featuring females golfers, while there are 14 movies on male golfers.

Movies About Male Golfers

While the above films featured women golfers, the vast majority of films star male golfers. Some movies that feature male golfers are Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore, and The Greatest Game Ever Played. These movies mentioned and many more movies did not give the chance of having females as the main roles or any part in the movie about the game of golf. Caddyshack was directed by Harold Ramis and produced by Douglas Kenney. Happy Gilmore was directed by Dennis Dugan and Bill Paxton directed the Greatest Game Ever Played. Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore is a comedy and sports movie while the Greatest Game Ever Played was a drama, sports and history movie. This is to show that there are many golf movies only featuring male golfers and only two films were found including female golfers. This shows that not many female golfers are portrayed in movies and tv shows. If female golfers are shown in movies, they are shown in a negative way such as in Swing Away or on the side and usually not a big part of the golf story like in the movies where men are the main characters that were mentioned previously. Swing Away featured a professional woman golfer as the admiring figure. The Founders documentary showed the start of female golfers and the ladies professional organization.

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An article called I Just Want to Play explored women, sexism, and persistence in golf. This evidence connects to the fact that there are so many male golfer movies and few films featuring women golfers. There is a lack of women golfer representation in the media. In the early years of golf, there were barriers for women to play golf until the LPGA was made. Still with the Title IX law, women feel worthless as males are more popular in the media and in general to watch. The authors of this article wanted to discuss the barriers for women in golf and the strategies for them to play. They did a study of ten interviews, which consisted of recreational women golfers who faced discrimination on the golf course. They felt unwanted, ignored, and unnoticed on the course. Also mentioned in the article were ways to end gender-based discrimination in golf to make it more inviting for women by “having more of them work at golf courses, provide more merchandise gears, allow them to play from any tee grounds, and promote nine-hole play” (Mcginnis, 2005). Many women just want to play and so reducing gender barriers to play golf needs to happen. It should be the same in the media for female golfers to have the same amount of coverage as males.

Conclusion

All research has been presented to provide information about why female golfers are not portrayed enough in the media today specifically in films and shows. The Founders was a good documentary to show the creation of the LPGA and the start of recognition for female golfers. Swing Away was very inspirational and gave an impression to young females that golf can be played by females and they are able to overcome any obstacles that they face. The LPGA tour has made women golfers more recognized, but still today female golfers are not portrayed as often as male golfers are in the media in the United States. If discrimination between genders in golf make changes, golf could be the first towards equalizing genders in sports history and can lead to equal exposure between women and men in the media.

Learning Moments

One learning moment I had from this course was in Week 1. We had to read some course texts for our discussion post and what intrigued me the most was this article called “Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth”. It was one of the most interesting articles for me in this course. This article was mostly about fast checkers and how can students approach websites differently. You don’t realize that many people don’t pay attention to a website on if it is reliable or not. I have learned about choosing accurate and reliable sources for research papers before. At times I do check websites or articles if they are reliable, but at other times I just think there are good enough information to be true. What I learned most from the article was about understanding “fast-checkers”. I have never heard of fast-checkers before and the strategies and techniques that that they do, fascinates me. Fast-checkers has three strategies which are to read laterally, research more about the subject they are reading, and they scroll to the bottom first to look more at the reliable sources. I am thinking about trying these strategies and it can help me in the future with researching websites and how to learn more about a subject. This article made me realize that I am glad I pay attention to which websites are reliable when it comes to research so I am able to have the knowledge of the correct information. It also helps with figuring out which websites are reliable and teaching new techniques for researching.

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/02/why-students-cant-google-their-way-to.html?cmp=soc-edit-fb

Another learning moment was in Week 6 from a course text called “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier”. I always thought the news was a good thing, but through this article, it could be a bad thing. I don’t often watch or read the news. I only look to see what is the weather locally and if anything big is happening in Portland. Also, I like to know news about my home state which is Hawaii. The article mentions that the news is misleading, irrelevant, toxic to our body, increases cognitive error, and etc. It is interesting to learn that news consumption could be a disadvantage and lead to health problems. Mentioned in the article that the news can trigger the limbic system and makes your body become stress. The news can also disrupts concentration and can weaken comprehension. In a 2001 study, two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Also, some news has flaws that make people think it is right. I was taught that the news is important to watch and listen, but throughout this course, not watching the news could be a good idea. Watching the news can lead to many emotions from learning about something bad or good from the news. Staying away from reading about the news could be a good thing because you won’t have to find out how corrupted a certain part of the world is. I don’t usually watch the news and I am going to leave it that way because some news are not true also. From what I learned from the article will help me make decisions whether I will read the news information or not, and if will be benefit me or not.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli

Work Cited

Dugan, Dennis, et al. Happy Gilmore. Special ed., Universal Studios, 1996. https://search.library.pdx.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=CP71171321620001451&context=L&vid=PSU&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Fisk, Charlene, et al. The Founders. Level 33 Entertainment, 2017. https://search.library.pdx.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=CP71259768990001451&context=L&vid=PSU&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Horwitz, Simi. “Film Review: Swing Away.” Film Journal International, 11 Oct. 2017 http://www.filmjournal.com/reviews/film-review-swing-away

Lucca, Violet. “The Founders.” Sight and Sound, vol. 26, no. 9, 2016, pp. 75–76. https://search.library.pdx.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_proquest1816621378&context=PC&vid=PSU&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Mcginnis, L, et al. “I Just Want to Play – Women, Sexism, and Persistence in Golf.” Journal Of Sport &Amp; Social Issues, vol. 29, no. 3, 2005, pp. 313–337. https://search.library.pdx.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_wos000230783200005&context=PC&vid=PSU&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Nickles, Michael, director. Swing Away. Freestyle Digital Media, 7 May 2016. https://www.swingawaymovie.com/the-team.html

Paxton, Bill., et al. The Greatest Game Ever Played. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2005.                                                                                        https://search.library.pdx.edu/primoexplore/fulldisplaydocid =CP71113416230001451&context=L&vid=PSU&search_scope=. all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Ramis, Harold., et al. Caddyshack. Warner Home Video, 1980. https://search.library.pdx.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=CP71155253260001451&context=L&vid=PSU&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

This entry was posted in Spring 2018 by jasminecabajar. Bookmark the permalink.

About jasminecabajar

I am from Wailuku, Hawaii and I am a sophomore at PSU. I am on the PSU Women's golf team and I have been enjoying it. My hobbies are playing golf and basketball, working out, exploring different places, and hanging out with my family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Female Golfers Portrayed in Media Today

  1. Hello Jasmine,
    I love to play and watch golf but had never considered the lack of representation and obstacles female golfers had to overcome just to be recognized in the sport. I think it is really interesting/inspiring that female golfers were fighting for equal rights in the sport before the 1960’s women’s rights movement. Additionally, Zoe’s meltdown in Swing Away shows the public and organizations may be more quick to judge females in sports. Historically, there have been many male golfers with poor attitudes and unsportsmanlike conduct who have received few to none penalties. Nice job on the post, it was really interesting!

  2. Hi Jasmine,

    The essay provides an in-depth description of the struggle of women golfers to be recognized in the game of golf. The writer has summarized a documentary The Founders and the movie Swing Way to show that women golfers are not being recognized even by the media today. Emphasizing equality between men and women through the transformation of the status of female golfers.

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