Only someone golf crazy would call their dog, Putter, so we are delighted to welcome and introduce Dr. Kelly Price as a WomensGolf.com contributor. Over the coming months, Kelly will be writing on the latest research related to golf for women.
“It’s always in your bag,” my Mother says. I hear her say this when I top the ball, make a perfect drive, miss a short putt or sink a long one.
As a little girl, I remember watching her play and being amazed by her fluid swing. I reminisce about how she never got frustrated, savored the great shots, and learned from the missed opportunities. She taught me how to tee it up just right, how to line up my shot and she made sure I knew that playing from the women’s tees are not, in any way, inferior.
And this was the beginning of my lifelong love of the game of golf.
However, golf has been present in my life in many other ways. Aside from growing up around golf in my home state of Tennessee and being a member of the same Country Club for over 30 years, I have been fortunate and lucky enough for golf to be a part of my professional life, as well.
My time at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, allowed me to experience golf from a new angle and learn many new things about the industry. I was quite fortunate to be able to work there, meet some wonderful people and acquire several life skills that I still use today. I was also able to work part-time at local clubs when I moved home to Tennessee to pursue my doctoral degree.
After obtaining my Ph.D. in Retail and Consumer Sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I began my professorship at East Tennessee State University, where I presently work. My time there is spent teaching in the Digital Marketing Master’s degree program and conducting research, some of which has been in the sport and golf area.
Having been both a player as well as someone who has worked in the industry and one who has academically studied it, there is one issue that stands out to me. This issue is the role of women in the sport. Many of us have experienced some of the discriminatory issues that still exist as female players and industry professionals. However, I have also discovered in my academic career, that women’s golf is a topic that has does not have nearly the attention it needs or deserves.
You may be asking yourself, “Why should I care if women’s golf is studied by a bunch of professors? What do those studies matter in everyday golf operation?” Actually, it matters a lot. You see, there is a very important bridge that must exist between academics and practitioners. Activities that practitioners do every day often had their beginning as an academic theory or hypothesis. When academics study a certain phenomenon, practice or issue, we can help industry better understand why it happens and how to improve upon it. Alternatively, industry can help academics identify where problems lie and what issues need to be analyzed.
However, when an issue is not studied extensively, how can it be improved or understood?
Therefore, if women’s golf is not studied significantly by academics, how can we improve it, meet goals, understand the issues that surround it, or achieve success within the sport?
This is a wonderful and timely opportunity to study women’s golf. While it has made great strides in many ways, it still has a long way to go. Until someone answers, “Patty Berg,” when I ask them to list the greatest golfers of all time; When women’s golf club manufacturers and marketers realize not everyone wants a pink driver; When women can be members and players at any club; When sponsorships and winning opportunities are equal; and when golf’s gender pay gap is eliminated, then our job is not complete.
When all of us interested in growing women’s golf work together, we can accomplish these and many other goals. My journey with golf has led me to this point. It is the point of knowing the potential of women’s golf and not being satisfied until we get there. It is the point of conducting useful, purposeful and meaningful research to benefit all who care about women’s golf. I hope we can accomplish these things together.
Remember, “it’s always in your bag.”
Dr. Kelly Price is currently an Associate Professor of Marketing at East Tennessee State University. She teaches primarily in the Digital Marketing Masters degree program, and her research interests include sports, consumer behavior, and education. When she isn’t playing golf with her Mom, she enjoys running, hiking, kayaking, playing with her dog Putter and spending time with her spouse at her home nestled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Kelly Price can be contacted by email at [email protected]