Women and golf in Scotland
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This thesis examines the development of women's golf and patterns of participation in Scotland from the middle of the 19th to the end of the 20th century. While sport has recently become a more widely researched topic than previously, little work has been directed towards its investigation in relation to women in Scotland. To date, histories of golf in particular have tended to focus on the male experience and the traditional concept of male dominance in golf. Taking into account relevant contemporary sport history research, this thesis addresses the question of how the participation of women in golf at all levels can contribute to a better understanding of an aspect of women's lives in the Scottish context. The ethnological approach, crucial to this thesis, calls for the collection and analysis of oral, documentary and visual sources, with the purpose of highlighting the experience of individuals through time. Importantly, the use of oral sources hitherto little exploited as a central part of that evidence, provides a vital form of evidence from the 1930s to the 1990s. The individual experience throws light on questions regarding the accessibility to the game in terms of class, gender and age from its organisational base to the enclave of the golf club. With reference to the late 19th and early 20th century, the early development of women's involvement in sport is briefly outlined in order to establish motives for participation. In a sport which women can play for much of their lives, the introduction to golf is examined in different social networks: in the family, the educational system and in the golf clubs. The motivation of leadership in women's golf is also analysed as is the structure of organisation and development within the governing bodies of women's golf. The thesis also examines issues and attitudes surrounding the relationship of amateurs to professional players in golf. How women golfers are perceived and how they present themselves in terms of their gender is explored through clothing and playing styles. The significance of opportunities to pursue golf through coaching schemes and scholarships is explored. This examination of women's participation in the east of Scotland through oral testimony, gives an insight into the competitive nature of the individual alongside those who pursue the game purely for pleasure.