Urban girls fight for recognition in the predominantly male sport of golf


Mikee Echon at Urban golf match in 2021. Photo credit: Rizal Adanza.

Historically, Urban’s golf team has been composed of a small, co-ed – though predominantly male – group of students living on the fringe of Urban culture. However, times are changing. This fall, for the first time, Urban has had enough female students interested in golf to create a girl’s golf team.
“I think it’s a sport that girls don’t commonly pursue, I think that’s part of the appeal,” said Nicola McDermott ’23, girl’s golf co-captain.
This feeling is not limited to female golfers at Urban. Golf has a reputation in the United States as being a ‘gentleman’s sport.’
One new British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) study, published in 2021, found that in all three of golf’s traditional mixed Majors (Open, US Open, and P.G.A Championship) the men’s first-place prizes were more than $1 million higher than the women’s. The study also found that this gender pay gap has been steadily increasing since 2014. It is a desire to oppose these disparities which Mcdermott feels has lured in some new Urban golfers. The new appeal of golf at Urban may also lie in its new team dynamic. “It was very different when it was co-ed,” said McDermott. “I felt less confident in my skills because I was around upperclassmen and boys.”
Ella Jeffries ‘22, co-captain of the Urban girl’s golf team, agreed that being on an all-girls golf team “makes [golf] more approachable,” she said.
Also, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a unique opportunity for more girls to get involved with lesser-known Urban sports.
Ava Desouza ’22, a new member of the Urban girls golf team, said that she decided to try girls golf in the spring of 2020 because “[she] wanted to be outside and with people during COVID-19.” Desouza said, “I like that I can still talk to people while I’m playing.”
Jeffries joined at the same time and similarly said, “I was looking for a way to connect with other girls who had similar interests.” She added that a unifying factor for the girls who tried golf was that everyone was learning the game together.
Now that the girl’s golf team has experienced growth for the first time in Urban’s recent golf team history, the players are looking to the future and the continuation of positive team culture is the priority.
“I’d like to pursue it as a sport that people take seriously,” said McDermott.
Desouza hopes that the player’s positive, yet serious attitude towards their sport is passed on to the younger generation of blues.