Sex needed for Golf

Are we going to see our European ladies introduce us to Sexy Golf?

Martin Park
Mon, 16 Oct 2000
Sex needed for Golf

Women's golf has for too long been regarded as the hidden gem of world sports, especially European Women's Golf. The cash strapped Ladies European Tour need more publicity and with the help of some very attractive ladies on the European circuit, things could be changing for the better.

This time last year, one of the most popular magazines in the UK, Golf World, published an article in the magazine stating that the Ladies European Tour was dead.

If you read it, you would know that the author, Jock Howard, was totally correct in his summary. And if it was not for Tim Howland, the new LET Chief Executive, the Ladies European Tour would have gone under by now.

How things have changed under new management. Much has happened since that article and the Ladies European Tour are now on the crest of a wave with the culmination of last weeks Solheim Cup victory ending the ubiquitous domination of the USA.

Sex needed for Golf
Hands up if you want to be a LET glamourpuss! Carin does!
Sex needed for Golf

It has been all change on the LET and they have managed to raise their profile thanks to solid PR, investment from major sources such as Waitrose and the mineral water giants Evian, from whom the new Evian Tour name derives.

But it still leaves the state of Ladies European Golf in limbo as they need to boost their image further and take advantage of the recent success and of the newer, more glamorous image they are beginning to portray.

The LET and for that matter the LPGA to a certain extent, are improving the profile of Ladies golf and attracting more sponsors and viewers to the game.

With such glamorous golfers such as Carin Koch, Janice Moodie, the Head Twins, Sandrine Mendiburu, Raquel Carriedo and such like, how can the LET fail to market the sports as…Sexy?

Fittingly, according to many pundits (and I know this has absolutely nothing to do with good looks equalling good skill on the course) it was the better looking of the two teams that won the day at Loch Lomond.

And even more so, it was going to boil down to two china doll faced blondes who would win the point that took Europe to their first win since 1992 at Dalmahoy, would it be the delectable Janice Moodie, a local heroine from Glasgow or the pig-tailed platinum blonde, 5-feet 6-inch Swede Carin Koch?

Of course, it came down to Koch in the end, arguably the best looking golfer out of both teams who holed the crucial ten-footer for the win.

Whether Carin Koch, with her Hollywood looks, model figure and swing to die for, will enhance the glamour factor on the LET, remains to be seen. But it can only help attract more viewers to the sport I.E Men.

Koch and many other young women professionals on the LET such as the glamorous Head Twins, Samantha and Johanna, have the ability to help rid the LET image of "Dikes on Spikes" and show the world of professional golf that it is not a homosexual clique on tour, rather a broad cross section of pure talent with looks to match, regardless of sexuality.

It became desperation stakes two years ago when the Ladies of the European Tour took part in a photoshoot in glamorous evening dresses, dolled up to the nines to attract potential sponsors. Unfortunately, it did not have the required impact as just months later, the LET was in dire need of financial help.

In tennis, a certain Russian prodigy called Anna Kournikova attracted millions of viewers to the television screen for ladies tennis, once the domain of the likes of Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, both of whom freely declared they were homosexual.

Long blonde locks, tight fitting dresses, cover shoots for the major magazines, TV interviews and of course a bit of tennis talent helped Miss Kournikova to a few million quid in her own bank account. But it also helped the image of Ladies tennis…big time!

Sex needed for Golf
Anna K…Women's Golf needs a doppelganger!
Sex needed for Golf

With the advent of Kournikova and previous to that, the long legs of Gabriella Sabbatini, all of a sudden the ladies tennis circuit became high profile. It attracted a number of viewers who would have normally preferred to watch the 'footie' rather than athletic ladies parading about a tennis court with not much on!

Thanks to the likes of Kournikova and Co. the ladies tennis circuit is now extremely lucrative and sponsors are queuing up to promote their businesses with some talented and pretty female athletes.

Golf could do with some of that too, not only in the ladies game, but the men's game too. Thanks to the eccentricity of Jesper Parnevik with his wacky dress sense and the charm, appeal and outright talent of Tiger Woods, the men's game has developed from being a game played by middle-aged bank managers with the obligatory paunch and diamond patterned sweater, to one of youthful exuberance and wearing trendy clothes. Parnevik excepted! And what is more…not a 'Pringle' to be seen in sight…at least not one with a diamond pattern on the front anyway.

Lets get to the point…Sex sells…it does, both to men and women and golf has been in dire need of a big selling point recently, especially after the Ryder Cup debacle of 1999 and the staid image projected by certain 'snooty' clubs with Dickensian rules and regulations.

The giant German Car manufacturer, Audi, in their advert took total advantage of that…unfortunately for golf, it tends to stick in the minds of the fringe-golfer and they are discouraged from participating in the sports from the get go.

While this may be a touchy subject and sure to cause some debate, without a few attractive ladies in the game, it will be a never ending struggle to promote the ladies tours on either side of the World.

Sex needed for Golf
Sam and Jo Head, responsible for adding glamour already
Sex needed for Golf

Enter our latest European heroine, Carin Koch. The 29-year old Swede, if she plays her cards right, could well be on her way to not only becoming a millionaire, but the catalyst to attract more sponsors, money and viewers to the ladies game, while lining her own pockets into the bargain!

For too long, the ladies game has been perceived as one played by middle aged frumps who have nothing better to do than spend their husbands allowances…It is not, never has been and never will be…but that is the perception!

With the arrival to the big stage of Ms Koch, things are bound to change if her PR and marketing agents get things right and the LET jump on the bandwagon too. Golf is a glamorous game, always has been, always will be, shame it doesn't get the public profile it deserves sometimes.

Whilst not detracting from the marvellous coverage from Sky television and the expert commentary from Murray, Critchley and Clark, it is a shame that the BBC let this huge event slip from its grasp, favouring the Cisco World Matchplay to take precedence on Grandstand.

Over 15,000 people lined the damp soggy fairways of Loch Lomond each day, more than a sodden Wentworth with a few star names missing from that event.

While the World matchplay had its merits, IMG had to resort to inviting a young Aussie with no real pedigree, except for the fact he was known in the media as the "White Tiger" and an ageing Nick Faldo, who has not won since 1997 and is out of the top 100 in the world rankings!

Work that out…15,000 is more popular than most Division One Football matches and a few premier matches too. Cricket would not get a look in with the County games. Rugby…well you would need a few games to match those numbers and Tennis, Wimbledon apart, any other British Tournament would struggle just to get into half of that figure.

However, all of the above events have one thing in common…having money thrown at them left, right and centre! Women's Golf…it's about time they got a fair cut of cash too.

The solution lies in the marketing and PR of women's golf and the players ability to help that along the way. The sport needs to be put in front of as many young sports orientated girls at a young age to show them what they could be doing for a legitimate career when they are older.

The aforementioned stunners from the Ladies European Tour need to be aware of that fact and introduce more glamour to the sport if it is ever to take off like Women's tennis…with looks like Koch, Moodie, Gustafsson, Sorenstam, Sam and Jo Head , Mendiburu, Meunier-Lebouc and Carriedo….how the hell can it fail?