GCU tees off major study into women's golf

27 June 2019

Researchers are set to tee-off the first in-depth study of the history of women’s golf in Scotland.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is working with the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, which is run by The R&A, to chart the development of the sport from the Second World War onwards.

It’s hoped the study will trace the ‘hidden’ history of the women’s game, from 1945 to 1995, explore what first attracted players, the influence of class and age, and the potential challenges faced to regular participation.

Audio interviews with women who played the game at club level will be recorded and stored in the museum’s archives as part of the project.

Dr Fiona Skillen, senior lecturer in history at GCU, who will supervise the project, said: “While we know a great amount of detail about the historical development of the men’s game, we know relatively little about the history of women’s participation in the sport.

“This is about the past but it can inform the future. We want more young women and girls to be participating in golf so hopefully, this will give us a little more understanding and insight to help market the game.

"The research will look at the motivation to play the game and the barriers women faced.

“Recording interviews will help us to capture women’s experiences of golf at a grassroots level from the end of the Second World War onwards for posterity within the BGM archive.”

The hunt is now on to recruit a full-time researcher who will be based at the British Golf Museum over the next three years. The research post, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, is expected to attract applications from across Europe and the US.

Dr Skillen added: "The candidate will have unrivalled access to materials that few people if any, have ever used before.

“They will also have permission to use The R&A’s extensive library and be able to make connections across the golf sector.

"We think there will be international interest in this, given the nature of it and given that is working with The R&A, at the home of golf.

“We are throwing the net as wide as possible because we want to get the best candidate."

The British Golf Museum is one of Scotland’s top 20 visitor attractions and tells the story of golf’s development from the middle ages to the present day.

Hannah Fleming, Museum & Heritage Assistant Curator at the British Golf Museum, said: “We are delighted to partner with GCU on this project, which will explore the female experience in golf. 

“Our women and girls’ collection and archive will provide vital context for research, which will enable greater appreciation and knowledge of these pioneering golfers. 

“The candidate will be encouraged to support our outreach programme with special projects which will align with their research and I am excited by the potential outcomes of the collaboration.”

  • To find out more about the studentship and how to apply visit FindAPhD.