I have been thinking a lot about golf recently and I’m so happy to see more and more women taking up this cathartic sport. For many of us, COVID cut off our physical social contact with our family, friends, peers, and clients. And now with the hybrid model, many of us aren’t returning to work. At least not 5 days a week and not to a full office. We’re losing our ability to network and connect. We aren’t getting in front of the people we used to if we’re not meant to be on a scheduled Zoom call with them. That is particularly impactful for young people at the start of their career who would have, in the past, been able to casually speak to or float an idea by a senior person in the lunchroom or by the water cooler.
For women, networking is usually as a gathering at an event with wine and name tags. We walk awkwardly around the room with no real idea of how to connect with strangers not knowing what we have in common. Yet, men make these connections and build these relationships on the golf course. Why?
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Golf is a great sport for women for a few reasons:
Getting into a golf foursome allows us to focus on your game while we meet new people and build connections in a far more casual and less intimidating environment. There’s lots to chat about when you’re all aiming for the same hole. Whether it’s a league or an event, it’s easier and more natural to have conversations when our focus is on our game and not a mandate to build business. Conversation flows more organically.
Mental health has been a growing issue since 2020. Women are especially prone to this as we experienced lockdown and took over the bulk of the work at home. Whether raising kids or maintaining the home, vaccines, groceries at 6 feet apart, etc., many women reported a rise in anxiety, depression, and lack of focus. We saw a huge increase in the number of women leaving their jobs – especially in the C-Suite. All that wisdom and expertise gone!
Why is golf especially beneficial for women in peri/menopause?
First of all, it is proven that connecting with nature reduces our stress and anxiety levels. And as women, we are natural connectors, so spending time with others helps to ease our angst and provide us with a calm and peace that we require to function optimally. It's hard to feel down when the sun is shining and you’re taking in fresh air.
Women tend to lack focus as their hormones become imbalanced. Golf provides mental stimulation that requires mental focus and concentration which helps keep our mind sharp as we age.
Staying active is critical to our health and healthy aging. However, we may not be able to be as aggressive or physically agile as we were in our 20s, 30s and 40s. Golf is a low-impact sport that offers exercise without too much strain on our joints. Joint pain and arthritis can be an issue as we age which cuts out many sports we may have previously enjoyed, and which kept us active. And let’s face it – there is nothing more rewarding than the sound of that ‘PING’ on a perfect swing!
I couldn’t golf as I raised my young daughter due to the time commitment but as she gains independence and as I have grown in my business, I have made it an important part of my life again. It’s a chance for me to collaborate and align with other like-minded people in a natural environment. I feel less pressure when I’m chatting in between swings than I ever did in a boardroom.
It's a sport that can be played and enjoyed throughout our lifetime that provides opportunities to challenge ourselves and continually learn and improve. And let’s not forget the 19th hole!