Understanding the Experiences of Female Golfers in Scotland

Project reference number: GSBS-S2018-017-Skillen

Scotland is often called the ‘home of golf’, certainly the world governing body for the sport was founded and remains in St Andrews, Scotland. Despite a long history of participation (women’s playing can be traced back to the 16th Century), academics have rarely explored the experiences of women in the game. Given the tradition of separating the sexes, which dominated club golf, until very recently, the role of gender is fundamental to understanding the experiences and motivations of women taking up the game. With Scottish Golf currently experiencing a crisis around its falling membership (Scotsman, Dec 2017). This study will offer an insight into the different motivations and challenges faced by female players, which in turn will help underpin future policy to increase the number of women taking part in the sport.

This project will address an acknowledged ‘gap’ in the historiography of golf by exploring the ‘hidden’ history of women’s participation in the game in Scotland during the late twentieth century by looking beyond the existing narratives around elite level players. This project seeks to understand what motivated women to take up the game, what challenges they faced, what they got from their participation and the potential influence of gender, class, age and stage in lifecycle on their involvement. While the archives of the British Golf Museum (BGM) will be drawn upon extensively to understand the broader context of the women’s game in this period, the collection of interviews will be a fundamental aspect of the project, thereby ensuring that these previously ‘hidden’ narratives are preserved for posterity within the collections of the BGM.

Application deadline

The application deadline for October 2018 start is 1st of July 2018.

Research supervisors

Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:

Mode of study

This project is available as a:

  • PhD: 3 years full-time or 4.5 years part-time;
  • 1 + 3 route to PhD: Undertaking MRes 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time + PhD as above


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Specific requirements of the project

The successful applicant will hold the minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above). Previous experience of qualitative research methodology is desirable.