This week marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX. This prohibits any individual from being discriminated against by their sex. One of those aspects is in the world of sports. It has taken a long time for women to be accepted and respected in sports. Many sports fans want nothing to do with women’s sports or women playing sports. I, on the other hand, enjoy watching women’s sports, especially golf and soccer. I played in high school against LPGA Tour player Brittany Lincicome because she was that good. She kicked my butt on many occasions. Seeing the USWNT win World Cups and gold metals is exciting. The LPGA tour is a worldwide tour with many different countries being represented. The WNBA is starting to gain popularity amongst sports fans. The reason I am bringing up Title IX is because of a female golfer that many have never heard of.
Before all the great LPGA tour stars like Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam, there was Babe Zaharias and Marion Hollins. Both Zaharias and Hollins broke down the barriers for then and now LPGA tour stars. Hollins was just inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this year. She had her fingerprints on the game of golf before Title IX was passed. Golf, as we all know, is a male-dominated game. The PGA Tour and LIV Tour are more popular in the US than the LPGA because many say the lack of US players dominating the tour. She became what is called the “It Girl.” She was a social influencer before the massive social media apps that we have today. What Hollins did in the days of the telegraph and letters was the way to be social. She was just fun to be around.
Hollins was born in 1892. She was born 39 years after St Andrews which is the oldest golf course on the planet. It is the home of the Royal Ancient Golf Club which was established in 1754. This is where golf was invented. Her father, H.B. Hollins, worked on Wall St owning a brokerage firm. Hollins herself was called a tomboy as she tried many different sports. Besides golf, she tried swimming, tennis, race car driving, and riding horses. She is the only US woman to hold a male polo handicap. Her golf career was not hindered even though her father’s estate went bankrupt in 1913. That same year she finished runner-up in the US Women’s Amateur. Just eight years later she would win the tournament. At that time, it was the biggest women’s golf tournament. In 1922 she dedicated her efforts to women’s rights and building golf courses.
The courses that she decided to build were for women. At the start of the 20th century, women did not have the right to vote. In 1920 women got the right to vote. She went to the UK for a while only to return and build her first golf course the Women’s National Golf and Tennis Club. It was an all-women’s golf course and no men were allowed. That was like Augusta National which was an all-men’s club until a few years ago. Hollins grew up on Long Island. She was permitted by Samuel Morse to build a seaside golf course. One of the holes on that course the par three 16th was described as the greatest par three ever. Many will say it is the 17th at TPC at Sawgrass the island green. Well, it is now before TPC was built.
At the end of the day, there have been many women that have set things in motion. Hollins is the one who pushed for women’s rights in sports. The fact is she built the first all-women golf club. She was one of the best women’s golfers at the start of the game. This is one of the reasons that Title IX is in place. The LPGA has many thanks to give to Hollins and the players that set the standard. Hollins is a pioneer for the game of golf, and it is exciting to see her as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
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