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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Before There Was A Feminine Mystique

LPGA Founders, c. 1950
When Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963 the LPGA was thirteen years old, the wobbly teenaged progeny of thirteen women who were driven to create a space for women in the very masculine sphere of professional athletics.

Friedan intended to give a name to the vague, almost anonymous discontent many women felt about the contours of their lives as wives and mothers in an increasingly suburbanized and masculinized mid-century American culture.  It was a book that directly or indirectly changed all our lives.  But even as The Feminine Mystique resonated and then mobilized the world of women's golf was in a transformational moment.

Those thirteen women, who traveled together from one tournament to the next, who marked their own hazards and developed the pairings for their tournaments, built an organization that has surely surpassed even their wildest dreams, global in scope, the spearhead, standard-bearer and role model for more than six million American girls and women who swing the sticks.  And the bean counters tell us that women golfers in Korea, Japan, and China, the new frontier for golf, are yet to be counted.  But given the heroines' welcomes Shanshan Feng receives at LPGA events in China and Inbee Park receives in Korea, I'd speculate that those thirteen women who really wanted nothing more than the right to play golf as professionals rolled a ball that's still picking up steam.

When I teed off today in a joyous celebration of the first day of spring, I enjoyed the fruits of their labors as well.

Thank you, Founders!