Posted By: KristenBroomley
Posted On: February 19th, 2018
 “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”
An acronym I commonly heard growing up. When I showed up to tournaments comprised of mostly boys, I would often get the, what are you doing here look. I was judged solely on the fact that I was wearing a skirt and not knee-length shorts. It wasn’t until the boys saw my swing or watched me hit balls on the range that they realized that I was there to play (and hopefully kick their butts).
Being one of the only girls at my country club taught me how to be resilient. When I got older and strong enough, I started to play from the men’s tees and I wanted to hit the ball as far as the boys did. When I came up short or I got beat pretty badly by one of them, I got discouraged and frustrated. Thankfully I had motivating parents, brothers and coaches who constantly reminded me of what I was capable of. My twin brother acted like the tough guy on the course, always wanting to beat me by a plethora of shots, but what others didn’t see was his willingness to help me get better on the range. I’m happy I grew up playing with the boys at Locust Hill because it meant I had to work harder to keep up with them. I’m lucky that my high school had a girl’s golf team and I was teammates and competed with some of the best girls in New York. It was through regularly playing golf with strong boy and girl competitors that I gained my confidence, my voice and part of my personality. I have no problem introducing myself to strangers now because, well, when you’re stuck playing a 4-hour round with someone, you have to speak at some point if you want your time to be somewhat pleasant. 
Now as a coach, I want to pass down what I’ve learned in golf to those that I work with. I want to be a good mentor and coach to all of the juniors at Holywood Golf Club and to all of those I will coach in the future, especially the girls. Being a minority can feel awkward and can feel as though you’re stretching your limits, but you never learn from staying inside of your comfort zone. I truly believe that girls who are active in sports exhibit more confidence at a young age, providing them with the necessary self-appreciation needed to feel comfortable as they grow up. I’m delighted to have the chance to really inspire the girls I work with and to show them that golf can be a sport everyone can get involved with and that it doesn’t have to be just for the boys. In fact, it shouldn’t be just for the boys because we can teach them just as much as they can teach us.
What the acronym should really say is “Guys and Girls’ Opportunity to Lead in the Future” to incorporate all who play and adore the game. The lessons associated with golf provide kids and young adults with the skills needed to be successful. As a girl who has played through the criticism, the sport truly has taught me about self-discipline, integrity, and has brought me around the world to connect with others. Even though golf was a sport founded by men and there are still countless country clubs upholding their traditional strict policies in regards to women (which most politely respect), it’s important for us girls to continue to show that we can play with the guys. Generally speaking, girls won’t be able to hit it as far as the boys, it’s just how we’re biologically crafted. But what we can do is practice our short game and our mental game so we can have a better chance at shooting the same scores they do. It’s not about your gender, it’s about how you play the sport and how hard you’re willing to work.
Being a driven female golfer doesn’t make me more capable or better than any male or non-golfing females. Rather, it brings out the best in me and gives me the confidence to be the best human, the common denominator between us all. Whether you’re a male, female, golfer or non-golfer, it’s so important to feel empowered. Not to the point though, where you think you’re better than others, but empowered enough to want to be a better version of yourself so you can teach others and be an inspiration for the future. I wish to continue to uphold this notion of empowerment as I look to pay-it-forward and leave the Holywood juniors with the impression that golf is an all-inclusive sport and there is so much to be learned and cherished from it.