Women’s sport is beginning to finally get some of the credit and attention it deserves around the world. And this past week gave yet another reason to admire the women who play golf at the highest level.
It was certainly tongue firmly in cheek when two-time defending champion Meg MacLaren, one of the most brilliantly outspoken players on gender inequality in the game, tweeted the following during the Women’s NSW Open:
nothing to do with pay or equality but being a woman is hard work sometimes... love to see Bryson or Brooks or JT deal with crying in bed for 4 hours before an afternoon tee time because of period pains 😂🌚 #realtalk— Meghan MacLaren (@meg_maclaren) February 28, 2020
The top flight of women’s golf is often described by average male golfers as a more appealing watch due to distances and clubhead speeds that are more relatable. And while true I have often found this statement somewhat belittling having watched and played with players who have teed it up on the LPGA Tour, LET and even at the Olympics.
Golf's best female players are some of the most impressive game managers and possess consistency when it comes to accurate driving and iron play ... all of which you are unlikely to have seen on display in a Saturday men’s comp except for the absolute cream of the crop.
Considering MacLaren’s tweet, I now know that I have ignored a factor that affects a number of the field week in week out at women’s events.
Not able to speak from personal experience, but gleaned from talking with friends, emotional swings like those described by MacLaren above - muscle aches and pains and bloating are just some of the effects of the menstruation process. All things that would certainly make many a golfer potentially cancel their round if suffering from, or at the very least, make playing anything close to their best near impossible.
All players competing at the top level have their issues inside and away from golf that play a part in achieving their best performance. But facing this as a monthly occurrence, while trying to play for a living and take on the best golfers on the planet, has certainly raised my own appreciation again for what players like MacLaren are able to achieve on the golf course.
MacLaren, like Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston last year upon announcing his struggles with mental health, should be celebrated for opening the curtain to those outside the world of professional golf to what goes into being a top player.
Even if the tweet was driven by humour, it has a more serious subject at heart. One that shouldn’t make male golfers feel sorry for MacLaren necessarily, but enhance what should already be a huge level of respect for some of the finest athletes in the world.