Female golfers have been making a name for themselves in the game since the late 1900s. Often ignored or overlooked in the history of the game, indeed golf stands for ‘Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden’, we thought we would collect some of the best female players and celebrate their professional achievements. We’ve focussed in on American players and their LPGA stats.
1. Annika Sorenstam
Arguably considered to be one of the greatest female golfers to have ever lived, Annika Sorenstam combined cool efficiency with an overwhelming passionate desire to win. She made her debut in the 1990s and continued to be one of the best players on the circuit for the next decade. As the century turned Sorenstam continued her blazing trail of success by surpassing all records and reaching heights that had never been seen on the LPGA Tour.
– Rookie of the year 1994
– Member of the World Golf Hall of Fame
– LPGA Tour Money Leader 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001 – 2005.
2. Mickey Wright
Educated at Stanford, but taking up golf when she was 12, Martha ‘Mickey’ Wright was one of the greatest female golf players from the late 1950s onwards. She used to talk about playing as if she were playing in a fog, standing back watching the earth in orbit with a golf club in her hands. She won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1964. Beth Daniel considers Mickey Wright to have one of the best swings she has ever seen and is often considered to be one of the best in the game by her peers.
– Vare Trophy Winner 1960 -1965
– LPGA Tour money leader 1961 – 1964
– Named the greatest female player of the 20th Century by the Associated Press.
3. Kathy Whitworth
Claiming the title of Most Tournaments Won over both the LPGA and the PGA is Kathy Whitworth. She was the first LPGA player to surpass $1 million in career earnings, which in the 1980s was no small feat. Born in Monahans, Texas, she began playing golf at the age of 15 and won the 1957 and 1958 Mexico State Amateur Championship. She is an 8-time LPGA Tour Money Leader and a 7 time LPGA Vare trophy.
– A member of the Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame
– Served three terms as LPGA president
– Captain of the U.S Solheim Cup Team, 1990 and 1992
4. Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Having her legendary name bestowed upon her due to her incredible baseball skills, Babe Didrikson Zaharias is one of the greatest female golf players to have ever lived. She has had 41 tour victories including winning the U.S open in 1948, 1950 and 1954. Not only an excellent golfer but also an outstanding athlete in basketball and track and field. Her polymathic skills also stretched to singing, sewing (she made many of her own outfits for golfing) and even harmonica playing. Didrikson is arguably one of the greatest people ever, let alone golfers.
– Being a polymath in the arts and sports and having very little formal education (she dropped out of high school)
– An LPGA Tour money leader in both 1950 – 1951.
– Being fantastically quotable, when talking about her power she said; ‘I just loosen my girdle and let the ball have it.’
5. Nancy Lopez
Possibly one of the most popular golfers in the game, Nancy Lopez reached her peak in the late 1970s and 1980s. Ever the pragmatist, Lopez has been quoted talking about the game that defined her life saying; ‘the simpler I play things, the better I play’ as well as ‘do your best, one shot at a time and then move on. remember that golf is just a game.’ Practical and over achieving, Lopez is one of the greatest female golfers to have lived.
– She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame
– LPGA tour Vare Trophy (scoring) winner for 1978, 1979 and 1985.
– Coming second at the US Women’s open several times.
Blake Jones is a sports journalist and golfing enthusiast. She often attends the PGA and LPGA, she blogs about women’s issues in sport regularly. When looking for golfing clothes she often looks to resoruces such as www.lesports.co.uk