How Women Found Their Swing

Through family ties, retirement, friendship, and the support of loved ones, women are finding their way to the fairway and breaking barriers that once kept them from the game.

We asked KINONA fans: How did you first learn to golf? We’ve gathered their stories to share their journeys into the world of golf and you’ll see, golf is a game that welcomes women from all walks of life.

Family Ties: The Bonds That Drive Us

For many of us, the golf bug starts early. We get introduced by family members who love the game themselves and bring us along. As KINONA fan, Sandy Greco, puts it, “My love of the game began with my parents. It’s in my DNA!”

Sometimes the source of golf inspiration starts even further back in the family lineage. Like Margaret Greenfield, family passion for the sport started nearly 100 years ago: “My parents were avid golfers. My dad started playing when he was very young. In fact, he went to golf camp in the1930s! Every time I play I know they are on my shoulder watching.”

Of course, inspiration from family is ongoing too! While golf is mostly an individual sport, as Jessica Bowman explains, it’s more fun with a teammate. “My mom and I travel together around the state and play in all kinds of fun golf competitions and cheer each other on along the way. I’ve also made her a KINONA fan!” 

Breon Dunigan with her son who inspires her golf game.

Breon Dunigan with her son who inspires her golf game.

Through the Eyes of a Child

Sometimes, it's the little ones who inspire us to pick up the clubs. Many women are inspired to play out of love for their children and a desire for quality time with them. As one passionate golfer, Judy Vong, attested, "My 13-year-old daughter inspired me to play golf. Learning to play golf alongside her has been a refreshing experience because she’s confident in the game and gives me tips on how to improve.”

As one proud mom, Jessica Guzman, explains, "It was my daughter’s love and passion for golf that made me want to give the sport a shot. She and her dad spent hours on the course together and I realized I was missing out on memories.”

The power of a child’s passion and interest in golf is certainly a reason you can’t ignore. “My 12 year old daughter encouraged and inspired me. I see how much confidence, determination, FUN, and mental and physical strength golf has given her. I wanted in on the fun,” says Lisa Davis.

Judy Vong and her 13 yo daughter who gives her tips to improve her game.

Judy Vong and her 13 yo daughter who gives her tips to improve her game.

Retired and Bored? Not Anymore!

Retirement doesn't mean slowing down; it means more time to hit the greens! It can open doors to new experiences, and golf has become a favorite pastime for many women seeking an active and engaging lifestyle.

Meet Mary Moore, who found herself working back on Barksdale Air Force Base after retiring, driving past the golf course every day. “I went to the golf course, rented clubs and started to try to golf. I didn’t know what I was doing but I fell in love with the game. I went home and told my husband I was giving my two weeks notice and I was going to learn how to golf. The first year I golfed alone then the ladies group invited me to play with them and were so encouraging. They provided a lot of tips and laughs. Twenty-two years in the service and stationed at some great places to golf but I wasn’t a golfer until I retired… it's kind of ironic.”

Retiree Mary Moore sinking a putt in KINONA.

Retiree Mary Moore sinking a putt in KINONA.

Friends Making Fairway Memories

You never know when asking a friend to play a round will turn into a lifelong love of the game. As Ruth Fox states, “I had a great friend who was amazing at golf and I wanted to be like her. My dream is still alive and, though I’m not as great as she is, I’m still trying.”

More and more women are also finding ongoing support and inspiration from other lady golfers. “I have built a community of women that have encouraged the development of my game and are just a fun group to spend time with and I am grateful for them,” says Diane Menago.

It’s not just small groups of friends that women are discovering at the golf club either. The clubhouse can be a whole social scene. Kristy Mernaugh joined the golf club near her house and instantly found 75 new girlfriends. “We play every day and encourage new ladies to join,” she says.

Patricia Cooper with a golf buddy at the Chubb Classic, Naples Florida.

Patricia Cooper with a golf buddy at the Chubb Classic, Naples Florida.

Breaking Glass Ceilings

We can't ignore the historical gender gap in golf, but women are smashing those barriers, teeing off with confidence, and enjoying benefits that have traditionally been reserved for men. According to golfer Linda Miles, “I learned to play for business reasons. Deals and promotions were happening on golf courses and I wanted to be in the game.”

The best part is that what often starts out as a way to network and ease business deals develops into a lifelong love of golf. “I initially pursued for business purposes as I grew tired of sending clients to play golf with my peers,” says Christina Kitchens. “But I soon found that I enjoy the lovely courses and the bonds made.”

Linda Miles, who picked up golf to level her work playing field, with her golf buddies.

Linda Miles, who picked up golf to level her work playing field, with her golf buddies.

Giving Back Through the Game

For many women, inspiration comes from seeing how the game gives back to others. Though not often thought of as a philanthropic sport, there are many organizations that use their clubs for good through fundraisers and volunteer work. As Vanessa Ngo explains, “My father encouraged me to start playing golf to help me learn life lessons and gain confidence in myself. The game has certainly done that for me and more. I now spend my time volunteering to teach disabled veterans and junior golfers. The hope and enjoyment they receive from learning the game motivates me to play my best.”

For some, their involvement in charity work evolves into a personal love of golf. “Many years ago, I sponsored golf tournaments as a way to raise funds to pay tuition and expenses for disadvantaged students. I was not a golfer but one of our key sponsors challenged me to learn in exchange for his return the following year. I accepted that challenge and have been playing for 21 years,” says Ovetta Smith.

Vanessa Ngo volunteering to teach children about the game.

Vanessa Ngo volunteering to teach children about the game.

Every woman has her own unique journey into golf, but the love for the game unites them all. From the seasoned pros to the fresh-faced beginners, they share a bond that goes beyond the tee box. We are thrilled to be a part of this community of strong, determined women lifting each other up and celebrating every swing. Let’s get out there and play some golf, ladies!

We want to hear from you too! We're showcasing the real stories of real women golfers, in an effort to inspire more women to play their best game.

Who inspires you in the sport? Who encouraged you to start playing and who motivates you to keep playing your best?

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