Whistler Traveller Magazine - - CONTENT -

In the sum­mer months, there is no short­age of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties to en­joy in Whistler. But in re­cent years, one sport in par­tic­u­lar has caught the at­ten­tion of ladies: golf. Com­plete begin­ners and ex­pe­ri­enced golfers alike are head­ing to the range to learn new skills, hone their tech­nique, and en­joy the so­cial as­pect of the sport. With sev­eral lo­cal cour­ses of­fer­ing unique events and clin­ics geared to­ward ladies, there are more op­por­tu­ni­ties than ever be­fore for women to brush up on their game.

A Shift in Golf Cul­ture

All the lo­cal golf cour­ses agree: The num­ber of women play­ing golf in the Sea to Sky has ex­ploded in the past few years. The tra­di­tion­ally male-dom­i­nated and some­times stuffy cul­ture of the sport has evolved, be­com­ing more ca­sual and be­gin­ner-friendly with an em­pha­sis on the so­cial as­pect of the game. Dun­can Sav­age, direc­tor of in­struc­tion at the Whistler Golf Club, has ob­served an in­crease in ap­petite for the club’s women’s-only clin­ics. “This pro­gram be­gan when golf was grow­ing ex­tremely quickly, and Tiger Woods or An­nika Soren­stam had ev­ery­one in front of the TV on Sun­days,” Sav­age ex­plains. “The in­dus­try was see­ing growth from the fe­male cat­e­gory — but the feel­ing of golf is in­tim­i­dat­ing to new­com­ers. By cre­at­ing a more fun and com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment with like-minded in­di­vid­u­als, we could make some head­way get­ting peo­ple over the first hur­dle.” Women’s golf ap­parel is in high de­mand. While in the past, male gear dom­i­nated golf sales, sales are now much closer to 50/50. “One of the big­gest changes we have no­ticed in the Sea to Sky area is the more re­laxed club rules,” notes Mi­randa Fo­ord, co-owner of Peak Per­for­mance Whistler. “I per­son­ally be­lieve this was a smart move and must be re­lated to the LPGA fash­ion we see nowa­days on TV — for ex­am­ple, the in­tro­duc­tion of the shorter length of the women’s golf shorts that come in a younger cut and many fun colours.” Padraic O’Rourke, head golf pro­fes­sional at the Fair­mont Chateau Whistler Golf Club, has noted a sim­i­lar trend — fe­male mem­ber­ship has jumped nearly 10 per cent in 2018.

Younger Women on the Rise While golf can be en­joyed by all age groups, lo­cal cour­ses have seen a spike in pop­u­lar­ity with women in their late 20s to early 40s. “Our 2018 Ladies Les­sons pro­gram sold out a month be­fore it sold out last year,” says Ja­son Lowe, gen­eral man­ager of Nick­laus North Golf Course. “Groups of friends are sign­ing up to­gether and the de­mo­graphic is wide­spread, but it’s great to see many ladies in their 30s gain­ing in­ter­est.” Woody Bishop, gen­eral man­ager and ex­ec­u­tive pro­fes­sional at Big Sky Golf Club in Pem­ber­ton, has noted a sim­i­lar trend with the club’s ladies’ golf pro­grams. “I would say that there is a wide va­ri­ety of age de­mo­graph­ics, but we have cer­tainly seen an in­crease in the 25 to 40 ages in re­cent years,” Bishop says. “They seem to view it more as a so­cial out­ing.” Fo­ord agrees. “We are also see­ing an in­crease in the sport with younger women from the 35 to 45 cat­e­gory. I have many friends who love the so­cial golf les­sons that are of­fered in Whistler that fin­ish with a glass of wine. What bet­ter way to meet peo­ple to also play with!” It’s Of­ten All About the So­cial As­pect It’s easy to see the ap­peal of golf — it’s a so­cial game, with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to have fun with a four­some of friends both on the fair­way and at the club­house. “I would cer­tainly say that the so­cial as­pect is a ma­jor fac­tor — if not the only one — for most ladies,” ob­serves Big Sky’s Bishop. “If they can get out, have fun, and laugh while play­ing some golf and maybe hit a few good shots here and there, then it is con­sid­ered a suc­cess. Our goal is cer­tainly to make fun and laugh­ing the most im­por­tant as­pect of any ladies’ event we host.” O’Rourke of the Fair­mont Chateau Whistler Golf Club agrees that the so­cial as­pect is a big part of the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity in women’s golf, as is the gen­eral de­sire to learn a new sport in a friendly set­ting. Many of the women’s-spe­cific pro­grams of­fered in Whistler and Pem­ber­ton of­fer both in­struc­tion and the chance to so­cial­ize af­ter­ward. “We make sure the so­cial as­pect is max­i­mized. In­cor­po­rat­ing din­ner and wine for all the out­ings is key, es­pe­cially for ladies,” notes Lowe from Nick­laus North, where each les­son is fol­lowed by din­ner and wine. Dress­ing for Com­fort, Per­for­mance and Style Golf ap­parel has come a long way in re­cent years, ac­cord­ing to Peak Per­for­mance Whistler. “Women’s golf clothes are more tech­ni­cal now with fast-wick­ing, com­fort­able, and high­per­form­ing qual­ity fab­rics. Our prod­ucts are de­signed for a fash­ion-minded per­son on the move,” Fo­ord says. One stand-out piece from Peak Per­for­mance’s golf col­lec­tion is the women’s Sun­ning­date short suit, a mod­ern twist on the tra­di­tional golf­ing dress — think stylish romper made with highly tech­ni­cal fab­ric. It’s breath­able, quickdry­ing and su­per comfy. Gear is de­signed to be func­tional, yet fash­ion­able enough to also wear off the links. “One of my favourite shorts that I wear al­most ev­ery day in the sum­mer, even off the golf course, is the women’s golf Col­drose shorts that come in plenty of fun colours,” Fo­ord says. Visit peak-whistler.com.



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