Not too long ago, women weren’t even allowed to play golf, and it wasn’t until 1894 that the first women’s golf tournament was held in the US at a 7-hole course in New Jersey. Men thought that women didn’t have the physical strength to swing a club. That the pure force needed to swing a club was actually un-ladylike…AHEM, rufkm?! It being Women’s History Month and all, we wanted to dive into some ~history~ and share a little more about some incredibly talented women who shaped golf for us as we know it today.
First off, we have to give Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1567) a little credit, since she’s known to be one of the first female golfers, ever. SLAY, QUEEN. Did you know she also started the term “caddie” deriving from “cadets” which were her assistants/advisors on the green? And, the St. Andrews Links golf course was built during her reign, which centuries afterward became the first ladies golf club, in 1867. Preeeeettty cool.
Other names to keep in your back pocket…
Issette Miller changed the golf game for women (and men) tremendously. In 1893, she was a leading female golfer and developed the concept of handicapping in order to level the playing field a bit.
Gloria Minoprio, also known as the mysterious golfer in black. She’s the inspiration behind our name - Prio. A little more about our girl Gloria, because she is simply iconic…Before the 1933 English Ladies Championship, Gloria rolled up and announced that she was going to play in the tournament using just one club. And to shock the old fashioned people further, she wore PANTS. Thanks to her we can now cartwheel on the green freely without exposing our undercarriages.
Babe Zaharias was the first to attempt playing in a professional men’s tournament, but after two rounds she fell too far behind and the next woman to attempt this wouldn’t be for another 60 years or so. However, Zaharias continued to play on, and in the 1940s and 50s she was one of America’s first female golf sensations. She was the first American to win the British Ladies Amateur in 1947, winning 82 tournaments in her career and was awarded countless titles. Go, Babe, go!
In 1967 the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Hall of Fame acquired a physical premise in Georgia, with inaugural members Betty Jameson, Mae Louise Suggs, Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias. However, it wasn’t until 1998 (MIND BLOWING) that it merged with the World Golf Hall of Fame, to include both men and women.
JoAnne Carner joined the LPGA Tour at age 30 in 1970, and is the first and only woman to claim the US Girls’ Junior, US Women’s Amateur and US Women's Open championships. That’s THREE USGA golf events. Damn.
1990 rolls around, and Juli Inkster is the first woman victor at the Invitational Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, where both men and women competed together. She continued crushing it in her career and, among many other awards during her time, was recognized as one of the LPGA’s top 50 players and teachers in 2000. And, she’s still playing today - keep an eye out for her!
We hope you like learning about the women who paved the way for us to golf today as much as we do. Not only do we pride ourselves in starting a women’s golf apparel line that is cute AF, but we also are excited to continue making golf more accessible for women, by providing tips and tricks to make the sport feel less intimidating. We like to keep things light here at Prio, and encourage anyone who wants to play golf to pick up a club and get out there.
Bottom line is, we’re making our way, ladies. Don’t stop now!