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3 Reasons you should watch more women’s golf on TV

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If you play golf, you probably watch golf on TV, too. For most, that probably means tuning into men’s events, or at least the four major championships.

But I have a question for you: Why do you watch men’s golf?

It’s completely understandable to want to watch the best and most popular golfers in the world. It’s exciting to watch the golfers you know and love, and witness them blasting 300-yard drives. That being said, if you’re looking to improve your own game, I suggest flipping on an LPGA Tour event, at least once in a while. The players are precise, consistent, and dominant in totally different ways — ways that likely look more comparable to your own golf game. Want to know why? Here are three reasons you should pick up the slack when it comes to watching women’s golf.

1) Shotmaking

LPGA Tour courses (based on their average length) require shots similar to the ones played by the average golfer. While impressive, it’s challenging for me to relate to players in the men’s game who hit a 9-iron almost 200 yards. Most of us don’t have that shot in our bag. It’s more beneficial to me, and to most average male golfers, to see how LPGA golfers manage a golf course and the various shots. For instance, most golfers cannot go for the green on par-5 in two from 290 yards, so what yardage are the women laying up to? How are they attacking a 320-yard hole that isn’t drivable for them, or how do they deal with the second shot from 220 yards on a long par-4?

You can learn a lot from LPGA players in how they maneuver around a golf course while hitting the golf ball similar distances that you do.

2) Swing Speeds

With the average swing speed on the PGA Tour being 113 mph with a driver, it’s a pretty tough thing to duplicate – even for the very low-handicapped amateur player. The average swing speed for a 14-handicap male player is around 93 mph, which is almost identical to the average speed of an LPGA Tour player (94 mph). There’s a rhythm and a tempo that comes along with that speed, which the everyday player can identify with. Next time you tune into the LPGA Tour, put a golf club in your hand and mimic their tempo; this may help you smooth out your transition, or learn to slow down altogether!

3) Accuracy

Professional women golfers play the game how most people want to play (or, how most people should try to play). They are unbelievably accurate, rarely hit it out of play and are very consistent. These players will reinforce the lessons amateur golfers receive from their instructors. Every time I turn on coverage, I am amazed by the course management skills of every player. They rarely find themselves in a precarious position. I think every amateur golfer’s game would improve by channeling some of the accuracy of these women. The bomb-and-gouge style of play often seen on the PGA Tour is effective, but only if you have the strength and speed to escape from the rough or other difficult situations that style leads to.

Let’s be clear: This is not to say that the phenomenal talent that you see week-in and week-out on the men’s tour isn’t worth watching – it is. But if you’re a golfer interested in all aspects of the game (and bettering the parts that you struggle with), you should be flipping on women’s golf coverage, as well. If you’ve got a tee time the next day and don’t have time to get or watch a lesson? Watch a few holes of that week’s women’s event. It’s important to absorb information to improve your game. The men may have the daring feats that everyone wants to pull off, but the women have the game that will translate easier to yours. Do yourself, and your game, a favor and check them out.

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Liz (Carl) Fradkin is the Championship Manager for the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, Team Manager for the Curtis Cup and Women's World Amateur Teams and a PGA-USGA Rules of Golf workshop instructor. Prior to joining the USGA, Liz was captain of the Rutgers University women's varsity golf team.

64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. Stephen Finley

    Jan 9, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Male tour players don’t actually hit the ball “almost 200 yards with a 9-iron.” Nowhere near it under normal conditions. Check USGA numbers for average 5-iron length on tour.

    Aside from that, there are more reasons than “they’re a scaled-down version of the men’s tour, and the scaling down allows lower-quality players to relate to them and model their games after them.” In fact, I’d say that’s not even true. Anywhere near the top of the women’s game you’re going to see women hitting it 260-270 and up, often 300 or more when conditions are right. It’s unbelievable how far they hit it now, often within a club or club and a half of the guys. And the skill level is just way, _way_ ahead of where it was when I was a kid. It used to be that on the rare LPGA event you saw televised, you might see a couple of shots close to the pin all day. Maybe four or five. Today, it’s not unusual at all to see a three-player group with three shots by the hole, or two out of three. You’ll see more shots tight in half an hour now than you used to see in an entire round of coverage 20 or 30 years ago, more in one tournament than you used to see all year.

    As for having 290 to the green on a par-5, I’ve actually seen more than a couple of women pull _that_ off. Might take slightly favorable conditions, but the days of making a living on the LPGA tour driving it 240 and hitting 210-yard 3-woods, trying to keep it around par with a tidy short game, etc., are way over.

    I’m not disparaging the women in previous generations — there have always been great players out there — but the strength and speed now, and the level of play, is just incredible. The PGA Tour is always talking about how it’s the “greatest generation ever” (not even close) and how “these guys are good” (they are, but not as insanely perfect as they’re marketed to be), but it’s the _women_ who have made the biggest strides.

  2. JD

    Jan 7, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    If you can tell the difference between a 350 yard drive and 250 through your t.v., you’re probably in the wrong line of work. Women’s golf looks exactly the same on t.v. and I definitely enjoy watching it so long as the coverage is good.

  3. CrashTestDummy

    Jan 5, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    The women on the LPGA are so good. I think a lot of people don’t realize how good they are. They are shooting in the 60s regularly at pretty tough tracks.

    Try shooting under par at any of your tough local tracks with total yardage of 6000-6700 yards. Not many can say that they can do that.

  4. Bruce Ferguson

    Jan 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I have to wonder how LPGA events are covered in the Asian television markets, because in recent years, there has been such a dominance of Asian tour players. I know at least on KBS (the Korean television channel I occasionally watched through a former satellite provider), they made a big deal of LPGA golf tournament results in their sports segments. There seems to be keen public interest in women’s golf.

    I hope that The Golf Channel and network television would commit to providing more LPGA content to expose the game to more American women, and thereby increase overall viewership. There are enough empty voids in Golf Channels line-up as it is. Instead of running Tin Cup and Bagger Vance re-runs hundreds of times, why not run women’s golf features, like exclusive interviews, or a show featuring a female “Feherty” (Christina Kim comes to mind)?

  5. BigSculpin

    Jan 3, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I would love to watch more LPGA golf but I would have to get the GOLF Channel to do so.

    • Stephen Finley

      Jan 9, 2018 at 12:33 am

      Yeah, that’s a shame. They deserve a wider audience, with the level of play today.

  6. Nick Nack

    Dec 30, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    The 4th reason:
    Women’s golf needs more viewers because no one is interested.

  7. Kirk Dunn

    Dec 27, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Way way ahead of you….been doing this fir qyite awhile….they play same ydg courses as most of us do too

    • steve2

      Dec 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      …. and I can think of another additional 3 reasons to watch more women’s golf on TV.

  8. Mike Eovino

    Dec 20, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Liz – You nailed it. As the father of two female junior golfers (and big Lexi Thompson fans), we watch plenty of LPGA golf. They’re a lot better than I am from the tees I play from.

    • Klaus

      Dec 25, 2017 at 1:41 am

      …. and you won’t see a LPGA player pregnant 6 months and trying to swing a golf club…. but I see plenty of men with pot bellies pregnant with fat trying to play golf. It’s hideous and pathetic.

      • peter

        Dec 25, 2017 at 1:42 pm

        …. ouch!

      • Stephen Finley

        Jan 9, 2018 at 12:32 am

        Where are you seeing “plenty of men with pot bellies” playing professional golf at approximately the same ages as the women?

  9. Luke keefner

    Dec 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I like watching LPGA events but our tv coverage sucks in the USA. To many commercials, too many talking heads to many “special stories” to plow through. It’s as if the networks think golf isn’t exciting enough so they have to pump it up somehow. Like baseball. I prefer watching the European tour, I can’t pronounce many of the names, but the coverage is all about the golf, and you can tell the announcers love and play the game. And I don’t have to hear about what college the players went to and how HUGE of a fan they are of there college football teams. Over and over and over. I don’t care!

    • Luke keefner

      Dec 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Correction “ their college football teams”. Sorry

    • peter

      Dec 25, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      I mute my tv when watching golf, tennis, basketball, soccer, and football. It’s amazing how much better it is without the sound of screaming fans and nonsensical commentary. I can see what is happening without distractions…. and when the commercial comes on I stand up and stretch for flexibility.

    • Bert

      Dec 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      Judy Rankin and er talking points are a huge distraction in addition to the excessive babbling by others.

  10. Larry Schmidt

    Dec 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I would love to watch the ladies play this great game but when 95% of all womens golf is only on the golf channel and only the majors on national TV it’s kind of hard to watch. If you want to grow the game then get the game on national television.

  11. Joro

    Dec 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    My ex Daughter in Law caddied for years on the tour for Faldo, Stenson, and others and when asked she caddied for Michelle Wie in a few events. After caddying for Wie she said that men should be watching the women more because it is more realistic to most men in distance, management, and swings. She said the men are too unrealistic to be watching the big hits and long irons and play the game they can’t.

    Great article.

    • Peter Douglas

      Dec 21, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Her name wouldn’t happen to be Fannie would it?

  12. Razor

    Dec 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Great article and rings true. I’m sure the younger golfers think this article is totally wrong. They just love smashing the ball. I’m in my 50’s and out drive most of the 25-35 year olds in the club. I’ve always said watch the LPGA they are great players and like your article states. More close to an average golfers swing speed and distance. Played in a KPMG Major Pro Am and ALL the girls were super friendly and totally respected the amateur golfer. One even gave me her range spot! Yes. They are easy on the eyes. But they have game and can totally kick our butts. They are good. Please watch and learn how to shoot lower scores.

    • peter

      Dec 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      What do you “watch” when looking at LPGA players? Be specific.

  13. bonifacj

    Dec 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Don’t watch a lot of golf, but love watching LPGA pros swing. In large measure, swing tempos just gorgeous. Similar to watching Els swing.

    • stevek

      Dec 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      I occasionally like to watch LPGA players to study how they develop their kinetic energy chain from the ground up to their shoulder torque rotation.
      Their swings are very smooth and slower than the men’s swings but it’s easier to see their legs, hips and shoulder rotation mechanics… because the women wear shorts and skirts that expose their leg and hip action.
      Most don’t wear baggy pants like the men so it’s easier to see their kinetic chain developing. The ladies come in different shapes and sizes so it’s interesting to see how they manage their swing mechanics.

  14. Skip

    Dec 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I watch the LPGA, but my 170mph driver ball speed doesn’t really translate well to their games. Still, can really appreciate the level of skill.

  15. Taylor

    Dec 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Women golfers are outstanding players. But they play like robots, there’s no excitement or fist pumps or any emotion.

  16. Dave Freeman

    Dec 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I agree Liz. When watching women’s golf, I have always been impressed with how good their swings are. They seem to move the way instructional videos teach you to move.

  17. Chris

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Are you kidding?? Who watches women’s golf for the golf??

  18. Jack Nash

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I watch to count how many caddies line up a supposed Pro. I also enjoy using my sun dial to time the decision making process before an actual shot is hit. There’s Maybe 15 females worth watching on the LPGA that have a game. Other than that it’s just a fashion show.

  19. frank cichon

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I try to watch the LPGA. It is TOO SLOW! The odd time when the camera picks them up running from a tee box…it makes me laugh. Why not enforce the rules and save 30-45 minutes per round. Regarding the article…..I do not recall seeing ( in this century) any LPGA player hitting a 200 yard second shot to any par 4 (is possible if she mishit her drive) Again life is too short to spend watching the LPGA. Hope Santa brings me a new PVR as I wore mine out watching golf on TV

  20. Big Wally

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:45 am

    The women do not hit it closer and their short games are not nearly as good as the men and their putting is not as good.
    I tune in but it is like watching paint dry. The are slow and humorless.

  21. Marc

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Liz:
    I volunteer at an LPGA event every year. My assignment is the range. The range is like getting a backstage pass to rock concert. I see everything. Even though there are women on the LPGA tour who are very long, there is also many players who hit drives less than 250 yards. The difference is their wedge play. It’s uncanny how good they are from 125 yards and in. And the reason they are so good is that they PRACTICE! They practice for hours and hit hundreds of balls. And they are extremely nice to the fans.

  22. Brenden Grant

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Hey all: Great article Liz spot on. I’ve been saying for years That GolfWRX should do more LPGA witb and not just from tournament winners since their bag setups just like the way they play a course is more like how most amateurs play. Thanks…????????????????

  23. fran

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Great article ! I would watch the LPGA more if they showed the analytics and visual track and trace data that is shown for the PGA players. It`s a little boring listening to the announcers when the visual data is so much more compelling and informative.

  24. Gregory M Haney

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I am an avid fan of the LPGA and have been to many of their tournaments both overseas and in the USA. Having said that I have numerous complaints. First the TV coverage is less than ideal ( I am being kind here!) as are a few of the announcers. I would like to watch some golf with a few commercials in between instead of Watching so many commercials with a little golf in between!! Here is what I often see; three putts, one swing, go to commercial. Two putts two swings and go to commercial. A number of the tournaments are so bad with this that I turn it off. And most of the coverage is just about putting. With certain announcers, I hit the mute every time they speak. I won’t go into names but some of the announcers should have been gone a long, long time ago. Kudos to Kay Cockerill and Karen Stupples and a few others.

    I have measured several tournaments. Most all of the time the distances are not what their score card is showing, i.e they are shorter on many holes.

    In many of the tournaments I have been to, there is often a long gap between the next group, in other words you can sit on a hole and there is no one in sight for some time.

    Yes, the PGA is guilty of many of the same things. I was just watching a rerun of the HSBC Champions from China this past October. In the 4th round, it took 2:45 minutes to play 9 holes!!! And that is with a two some or three some. No lost balls, no lengthy rulings, some wind. Pro golfers who smoke it long and very straight for the most part. 2:45 for 9 holes is insane!! I know the PGA issued its’ first penalty this past season since when was it, 1999!!!!!

    I know the coverage of the LPGA does not have as many cameras as for the PGA, but I would like to see more of the other golfers as well instead of watching the leaders do 18″ tap ins!!!!!!

    So, my summary is that if you want better exposure and more people to watch, IMPROVE THE TV COVERAGE (and announcers). Many other male watchers that I speak to about this absolutely agree with me. I met Mike Whan several years ago, twice at tournaments in Asia and would sure like to share my thoughts with him :-).

  25. Gord

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I tell my friends all time – if you want to improve, watch the LPGA. Watch them in slow motion to see how a 100lb woman can hit the ball 260yds – straight. Most men that I play with can’t do that – me included!

  26. Rob

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Liz, this article is spot on. Well done!!

  27. Alphonso Dubachette

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Great article Liz! I couldn’t agree more that as amateurs we all should watch the LPGA and how they use course management. My wife has asked me why I watch the women play, and I’ve given her the same answer. Realistically they play similar to us so I like to see what yardages they’re playing and clubs they use. Of course I watch the PGA, but if I could hit my 7-iron 200yds+ I wouldn’t be a 12.5 handicap. This was probably one the best and most relevant articles I’ve read in a long time.

  28. CB

    Dec 20, 2017 at 10:28 am

    This article is absolutely true. Sure I watch the PGA, who doesnt. But the LPGA (and champions IMO) are better to watch if you are trying to learn and take something away. The precision is amazing.

    Nice writeup.

  29. Rene

    Dec 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

    FInally! I can convince my wife that I watch the LPGA because of their game, not their long legs and short skirts! 😀

  30. BB

    Dec 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Awesome write up. Best one to me.

  31. Peter Douglas

    Dec 20, 2017 at 4:26 am

    I think they dumb it down to much. Watch the clubs they hit most of the time!
    LPGA stands for (Lob Wedge, Pitching Wedge, Gap Wedge….all day)!
    Some very good players but pace of play is tedious.

    • Jack Gallagher

      Dec 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Good point Peter Douglas, if you mean the tournament organizers being the ones who dumb it down. Regardless of gender, they shouldn’t set up any course with par fours that are reachable with a driver and a wedge (of any variety) with the exception of the drive-able par four holes.

    • Skip

      Dec 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      LPGA, lol good one.

  32. TA

    Dec 20, 2017 at 3:39 am

    T, A, & L, right?

  33. t

    Dec 20, 2017 at 1:50 am

    reason #1 need a nap
    Reason #2 need a second nap
    Reason #3 need a third nap

  34. The dude

    Dec 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Good article….something that is known, but worth reinforcing

  35. Davemac

    Dec 19, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Slow play is the bane of professional golf, the game is almost unwatchable. Unfortunately the ladies are ever SLOWER than the men!
    The sooner they ban caddies from lining a player up along with the huge green reading books the better.

    Talented yes, more relevant yes, watchable no.

  36. Bruce Ferguson

    Dec 19, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Agree on all three points. I wish that more LPGA events were broadcast . . . not only because I can relate more to their swing speed and distance, but to expose golf to more women. I think women who know very little about the game assume it’s “a man’s game”.

  37. Scott

    Dec 19, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Totally agree and I’ve said your comments for years. LPGA players hit distance more in line with me. They’re shot making is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, watching the men on PGA hit a 350 yd is impressive but I’ll never do that. I walked the course one day during us open at trump and was amazed the distance and shot making I was seeing. Lexi crushed a drive I thought the cover came off the ball. Tremendous article.

  38. james

    Dec 19, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    You refer a lot to you…..Who is you, as this article is being read by many different people.

  39. David Alan Cheever

    Dec 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I agree completely. I can relate so much more to how the ladies hit it. I went to an LPGA event once and was amazed how 80% of them landed their tee shots in an area the size of a blanket. well, almost, but damn.

    Watching the men is dull, frankly. Same swing on all of them. 9 million yard drives. yawn..

  40. SK

    Dec 19, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    I love to watch the ladies swing, particularly if they are wearing shorts or skirts and I can see their bare legs and their hip action going into their shoulder rotation.
    I’m not being sexist, I’m just saying that the male golfers are fully clothed and it’s difficult to analyze their leg and hip action under their pant legs.
    The golfswing kinetic energy chain starts at the feet and legs, and then into hip and shoulder rotation. This is where most of the ‘power’ is generated from the mass momentum of large body parts.
    Lady pros come in many sizes and shapes and their ability to swing a golf club is openly revealed if you can see the body unencumbered by baggy clothing. It’s good viewing if you know what to look for in the golfswing kinetic energy chain.

  41. Jonathan

    Dec 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I agree with all your points. If given the choice between LPGA and Champions Tour I always watch LPGA. Competition is typically very tight on LPGA, which makes it enjoyable to watch.

  42. MRC

    Dec 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Well said Liz. I watch LPGA events all the time. Rhythm and tempo is something I struggle with…..No better way to improve than to watch the LPGA.

  43. Rob

    Dec 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Watching a few holes however, will take you about 3 hours as the pace of play is an embarrassment… and caddies lining players up! What is that. Otherwise, lpga/let tours are brilliant.

  44. Jim

    Dec 19, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    This is a fantastic article and i couldn’t agree more about the women’s game. They have similar carry distances to men but are just phenomenal in every aspect of the game. I really enjoy watching them but my only gripe is that the LPGA plays course way too short. They “say” they play at 6500 yards but never do and they always play them super firm and fast and seem to be hitting wedges all day outside of the par three. These women are talented, let them hit some longer clubs!

    • ChristopherKee

      Dec 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      I agree here. Ariya Jutanugarn plays an iron off the tee 99% of the time. She doesn’t even have a driver in her bag. I know golf shouldn’t be about “distance” but it shouldn’t be about just wedges either.

      • Andrew Pavlov

        Dec 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

        Golf is about getting the ball in the hole in the least number of strokes possible period and nothing else. Whatever clubs someone uses to do so are the right ones.

        • ChristopherKee

          Dec 20, 2017 at 11:51 am

          You’re correct. And I don’t care if they use a putter from tee to green to be honest, it would probably be entertaining to watch. My observation of the club used off the tee by Ariya was to the challenge, or lack of, some of the girls have off the tee on the course.

          I feel a lot of them are way better than the tour is showcasing. I would prefer the easier courses to be a bit longer to challenge some of the more capable players. It’s the same thing I like to see on the men’s tour.

          These are the best of the best women in golf, I would just like to see them really challenged.

        • Jack Gallagher

          Dec 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

          If that were true, Andrew Pavlov, then there is every justification to play courses that are only 5,500 yards in length for the men, and 4,500 yards in length for the women. It would have an audience of one – Andrew Pavlov.

  45. MacAllan

    Dec 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I’m a Swe golfer with hcp 5 and I have said this to my golf friends a long time ago, we have more to learn from LPGA than the PGA Tour.

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