Carly Booth hails 'more supportive' environment for girls in golf
Carly Booth believes golf is a lot more welcoming to young girls these days compared to when she encountered “older women who weren’t very accommodating”.
But, in an exclusive interview coinciding with International Women’s Day, the trail-blazing Scot insisted more can still be done to convince young females that golf is a “fun sport”.
Booth was just 11 when she became Britain’s youngest ladies’ club champion at Dunblane New, having joined her older brother, Wallace, in being bitten by the golf bug.
She was also the youngest Scot to qualify for the Ladies European Tour, where the 29-year-old has won three times, but she had to overcome resentment along the way.
“When I grew up, I played with older women who weren’t very accommodating,” Booth, speaking in her role as an ambassador for International Leisure Group (ILG) which incorporates golf retailer and leisure brands American Golf and Online Golf, told The Scotsman. “I guess I didn’t know the difference at the time, but I do now.
“Everyone is more supportive. They are wanting to see a difference in quality and giving girls more of an opportunity to take up the sport.
“As pros, I think that is what we have been trying to achieve. To try and make golf more feminine, more accessible for people to take up the sport.”
Figures published by the R&A in December showed that the total number of golfers globally has increased by 5.6 million over the last five years.
The 2020 Great Britain Golf Participation Report showed that 25 per cent of female golfers were new to the sport and tried it for the first time because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However female golf growth in both Scotland and England lags well behind countries like Germany, Austria and Latvia.
“I’ve played golf from a young age and we’ve seen an effort being made to try and promote and enhance the game and also find equality. We’ve also seen a change in apparel as people have tried to invest in the women’s game.
“It’s still a continuing process but I feel a difference has been made, especially since I turned pro.
“I think a big thing we are trying to do is get young girls involved. I was very blessed with my situation, having an older brother that played and growing up on a farm with a golf course.
“It’s about how we can get them involved and aware that this is a fun sport to be involved in. It can be simple things like grass roots, schools or junior academies that we can maybe still make progress with.”
Booth, who is recovering from a shoulder operation that led to her getting a medical exemption on the LET, speaks about golf with real passion.
“It’s something that makes me happy. It makes me sad, too, when I don’t play well,” said the Comrie woman. “It’s brought me so many opportunities. I’ve met so many amazing people through it and I’ve travelled the world.
“I’m blessed to play this sport and I’m blessed to hopefully make it better and especially in the women’s game.”
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