How Dim­mock is mak­ing a stand for women’s game

Annabel Dim­mock tells Kate Rowan that nails, make-up and celebri­ties would aid a cooler im­age

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page -

As Annabel Dim­mock holds her hand up to flash a set of shiny, jet-black nails, she sud­denly be­comes se­ri­ous. “I love hav­ing very long fake nails, but they started to make me grip funny, so I had to go back to short ones.”

Beauty regimes may seem a friv­o­lous topic for a se­ri­ous ath­lete to be dis­cussing on the eve of a ma­jor, but Dim­mock’s re­flec­tion on how fash­ion can im­pact her golf game throws up a se­ri­ous is­sue for her sport; the per­cep­tion of golf not be­ing par­tic­u­larly cool, par­tic­u­larly as a sport for girls and young women.

Ahead of the Evian Cham­pi­onship, which tees off to­day, Dim­mock tells The Daily Tele­graph that em­brac­ing the in­di­vid­u­al­ity of play­ers could be key to chang­ing attitudes. “Golf is cool – I am sick of the stereo­type that is an older per­son’s sport,” she says.

The Sol­heim Cup hope­ful con­jures mem­o­ries of a young Ian Poul­ter as she ex­plains the joy she takes from chang­ing her hair colour – hav­ing pre­vi­ously been shock­ing pink she is now con­sid­er­ing pur­ple – to em­pha­sise how she would like younger peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence her sport. “It is so im­por­tant that we have char­ac­ters in golf and that is what gets the views. If you have some­one like Poul­ter, it makes you want to watch. Women’s golf should use the girls’ per­son­al­i­ties a bit more. We can be girlie girls but we can still rip it. We can hit the ball fur­ther than these guys we see at the club, I love that! Em­brac­ing our in­di­vid­u­al­ity and that we wear make-up like other girls is a sell­ing point for our sport. A lot of the girls will have some­thing in their bag if they need to freshen up.”

She de­scribes 83-year-old Gary Player as “the coolest guy in golf ”, as they struck up a friend­ship when she played at the South African’s in­vi­ta­tional tour­na­ment, and has mes­saged him for gym tips.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in Higher Den­ham, Buck­ing­ham-shire, was not aca­demic in school. “I hated school, I hated study­ing and I hated teach­ers telling me what to do. The only sub­ject I was ever punc­tual for was PE,” she says. But she is sharp, with a nat­u­ral sense for mar­ket­ing as she pon­ders the im­por­tance of younger celebri­ties em­brac­ing her sport.

“You see peo­ple like Justin Bieber or [Amer­i­can bas­ket­ball player] Steph Curry post­ing about golf on so­cial me­dia and that makes golf seem re­ally cool, whereas a lot of peo­ple my age think it is for re­tired peo­ple. For girls, you need to have some re­ally big fe­male celebri­ties play­ing.”

It is not sur­pris­ing then that Dim­mock, a self-pro­claimed fan of the “Kar­dashian fash­ion” style, nom­i­nates a mem­ber of the re­al­ity tele­vi­sion clan, 21-year-old cos­metic mogul Kylie Jen­ner, as a po­ten­tial tar­get to help grow golf ’s ap­peal among girls.

Although Dim­mock has yet to break on to the LPGA Tour or make the im­pact her friend Ge­or­gia Hall did in win­ning last year’s Women’s Open, she is not daunted by the chal­lenge in the Alps, as she se­cured her first Ladies Eu­ro­pean Tour vic­tory at the Jabra Ladies Open at the Evian Re­sort in May.

Dim­mock opted to pur­sue golf over foot­ball, hav­ing played for Queens Park Rangers as a teenager. “I was bet­ter at foot­ball than golf. It is chang­ing now but there was more of a ca­reer for girls in golf than there was in foot­ball then,” she says.

Dim­mock does not shy away from the fact that a key mo­ti­va­tor for her suc­ceed­ing at golf, de­spite the pay gap with the men, is be­ing able to in­dulge in her pas­sion for fash­ion. “I like the finer things in life, I am mas­sively into fash­ion. When I won I treated my­self to some new clothes. Treat­ing your­self is re­ally im­por­tant, it re­minds me of all the hours of prac­tice I have put in. That is my mo­ti­va­tion – and is for a lot of women in dif­fer­ent jobs.”

Her sunny dis­po­si­tion is only clouded when asked about her thoughts on Muir­field only now ad­mit­ting fe­male mem­bers. “Ugh, it an­noys me that there is that old-fash­ioned way of think­ing. We are in the 21st cen­tury and that needs to change. It frus­trates me.”

Dim­mock sees boost­ing the sport’s fash­ion im­age as another fac­tor: “When I re­tire I would love to bring out my own cool golf clothes line that peo­ple would en­joy.”

For all her verve and en­thu­si­asm to bring women’s golf into the main­stream, she be­lieves the breakthrou­gh might not hap­pen un­til she is re­tired.

“I am ex­cited for women’s golf, even if it doesn’t hap­pen for me. I would look for­ward to see­ing if the younger gen­er­a­tion can get to a point where it is like ten­nis and there is equal pay. Even if we could get to a place where there is an equal amount of tour­na­ments.”

Fash­ion­able: Annabel Dim­mock feels women’s golf would en­joy a makeover

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