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  • Alistair Tait

Time for MacLaren to let her clubs do the talking

Meghan MacLaren let her clubs do the talking yesterday when she won the second instalment of the Rose Ladies Series.

Hopefully it's the start of a new trend.

MacLaren shot a 3-under 69 at Moor Park to win by two shots despite a two-shot penalty for playing a wrong ball. She earned £5,000 for the victory.

Hopefully she can let her clubs do most of the talking in future instead of having to constantly beat the drum for equality. MacLaren is an important voice in women’s golf, one more in the game need to listen to, especially men, particularly those in charge of running the game.

Indeed, the huge imbalance between men and women in positions of power and influence in this game just shows how far we have to go before we get achieve the simple concept MacLaren is campaigning for: gender equality.

Her blogs via should be required reading. Unfortunately, she has to keep bringing up the same subject. Just last month she penned a heartfelt blog which read:

“I’m more tired than anyone of the supply and demand argument when it comes to gender equality in golf.
“This isn’t a woke millennial take on having every possible demographic equally represented at the highest level. I can’t speak for others and how they feel or are valued, I don’t have that experience. But I have experience of how it can feel to be a female in this world. That’s the point that keeps getting missed.
“Ultimately, it’s just about respect. That’s all.”

Imagine having to write this in 2020?

I’ve been a golf writer for 30 years, and in that time the women’s game in Europe has moved. Backwards. It’s got worse. Less tournaments, less prize money, less opportunity for women to blossom. It’s been a sorry state of affairs.

This week was supposed to have seen the top women amateurs compete in the Womens Amateur at Kilmarnock Barassie. (The championship has been postponed until August 25-30 at West Lancs Golf Club). As I noted yesterday, this championship has produced a plethora of great champions in recent years – Celine Boutier (2015), Georgia Hall (2013), Azahara Munoz (2009), Anna Nordqvist (2008) and Carlota Ciganda (2007).

Yet these great players have had to go to the LPGA to ply their trade. That’s not new. Laura Davies, Karen Stupples, Catriona Matthew, Janice Moodie and others paved the way years earlier. These are the obvious success stories. What we don’t read about are the promising players who’ve had to give up on their dreams of playing professional golf because there was just no way to make a living in Europe. Mel Reid, another important voice in today’s game that needs to be heeded, has talked in the past about losing money trying to play the Ladies European Tour. LET players have had to get part-time jobs to help fund their dreams.

Women have faced hurdles most men haven’t had to overcome. Thankfully, the tide seems to be turning.

The Rose Series is a fantastic initiative for women’s golf. Well done to Justin and Kate Rose for setting it up. Hopefully it’s not just a one off. Surely there’s a sponsor out there who can take this forward?

The Clutch Pro Tour is open to both men and women, not to mention seniors and amateurs, to help them develop their games.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has made getting more women and girls into golf one of the R&A’s main goals. Women account for around 13% of the total number of registered golfers in the UK, a figure that hasn’t moved in years. The figure is above 30% in some European countries.

The European Tour is now staging mixed events as part of its attempt to elevate the women’s game.

Meanwhile, the merger of the LPGA and LET earlier this year was a huge boon for the women’s game in Europe. While coronavirus has taken the sheen of what should have been a record LET season, the future looks good because of the LPGA’s involvement. MacLaren told Sky Sports:

“Going forward, I think the LET is in the strongest position it’s ever been in so I’m really excited to see how this partnership pans out.”

Aren’t we all? Hopefully 2020 is the start of a revival of the women’s game in Europe so that MacLaren let her clubs do more of the talking in future.

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