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Women Find Friendship, Camaraderie and Balance Playing Golf

National Association Brings Women Golfers Together to Learn and Play

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Women Find Friendship, Camaraderie and Balance Playing Golf
© Augustus Butera / Courtesy of Conde Nast
With so many apparent career benefits for women who play golf, why aren't more female golfers on the links? Susan Reed, Editor of Golf for Women magazine, thinks it may be due to what she calls 'the self-embarrassment gene':
Golf is a difficult game to learn. It takes eye-hand coordination to hit a small ball with a long club; there are also lots or rules and etiquette that go with the game.

Women in general, don't like to embarrass themselves, either in a business or a recreational setting. So they'll make pretty damn sure that they're competent before they go out and put their skills on display.

Observationally, this seems more true for women than for men, who don't seem to have the same self-conscious or self-embarrassment gene when it comes to sports.

Realizing that a self-conscious woman is less likely to step up to the tee - let alone put one foot on a golf course - a number of consulting firms assist women in learning how to utilize golf as a business tool.

Nationwide, a non-profit organization - the Executive Women's Golf Association - has local chapters in over a hundred communities to provide women opportunities to learn, play and enjoy the game of golf for business and for life.

Instructional clinics, leagues, outings, and reserved tee times enable any woman at any level - from novice to lifelong golfer - to expand her circle of contacts among other professional women.

Red Cross Regional CEO Marci Henderson got involved with EWGA after a cross-country move to a unfamiliar city. New to golf, she initially joined a golf club so she could play in a league and meet people. After the season ended, however, she realized she didn't play enough to justify the club's steep membership fee, so she considered other options:

I joined EWGA because it was a more effective use of my money and it affords me the chance to meet a lot of people. I didn't know anybody when I joined and there were 40-50 members in the chapter. Today there are over one hundred.

The opportunities to learn, play, and meet other women golfers are extensive. With four leagues, three nights of golf, weekend social events and a chapter championship, anyone can participate at any level. We have members from all walks of life, from both the business world and the not-for-profit sector.

It's definitely one of the top ways to establish yourself in a new community, and it's also been a way to have some balance in my life.

Jaclyn Grosso, communications/media relations director for a university law school, had learned to play golf at age 13. But she dreaded the lessons and the atmosphere at her parents' golf club, where other girls her age had been playing for years. After two summers she put down her golf clubs, not intending to pick them up again.

Yet ten years later at age 25, she gave it another try and realized "what a great and challenging game it is." To brush up on her skills, she took some lessons and at 33 she joined EWGA.

Today, at 36, Grosso - like Marci Henderson - relies on golf to maintain balance in her life:

I became involved with EWGA to meet other professional women who golf. I joined the first year without a partner, met someone to golf with, and now we're very good friends.

EWGA is ideal for someone with basic skills and a grasp of the general rules of the game. I'd suggest coming to a social event first to see if it's a good fit. It's very well organized, and the 9-hole leagues are a perfect two-hour outing after work.

I have a one-year-old son. My husband and I each have one night a week to golf and socialize and its proven to be a good balance for us. Balancing a career with a young family is challenging. But I think it's important to build and retain professional relationships outside of work and EWGA offers that.

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