Ladies European Tour pro Lydia Hall has bemoaned the lack of exposure the women’s game gets and believes amateurs learn far more from watching the world’s best female players.
Hall, whose sole win on Europe’s top tier came at the 2012 ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters, spoke to bunkered.co.uk following a difficult year for the LET, which included the cancellation of five events for a schedule comprising just 13 and also the departure of chief executive Ivan Khodakbakhsh.
And, while there is cautious optimism surrounding the 2018 schedule, the 30-year-old says the wider issue is that they don’t get enough exposure in order to attract big-money sponsors.
“We don’t get enough air time on TV,” said Hall. “On a personal note, it’s been tough for me to get individual sponsors for the past ten years so I can only imagine how tough it’s been for the Ladies European Tour to get a prize fund of even €300,000-€350,000 – let alone what I’d need as an individual.”
Hall continued by saying that there seems to be a misconception about women’s golf and, when amateurs tee it up alongside them in pro-ams, they are usually taken aback by what they see up close.
“They [fans] are surprised when they see how good we are in pro-ams because they don’t see enough of us,” she added.
“They’re not surprised by a guy hitting it 320 yards because they see it all the time on TV and that’s the down side of the women’s game at the moment – we don’t have enough exposure. It’s not 50/50 exposure.
“Every single pro-am I play in, the feedback I get is that they prefer playing with women because it’s more relative, achievable and realistic and, as a result, they learn so much more.”
In Europe, which saw just four regular season events last year, Hall says the competition for sponsors is only increasing with the growth of satellite tours.
“It’s not just the men’s tour and the women’s tour, there’s the Access Series, Challenge Tour, EuroPro Tour, MENA Tour, Alps Tour – so many golf events that federations in countries can only put on a certain amount.
“Unfortunately, we don’t seem to come second or third in that priority of listings. It’s difficult times and hopefully that can change.”