Women’s golf has continued to rise in popularity, and with that rise comes some pretty impressive athletes! As of 2013, five women’s golf tournaments have been designated as majors. So who’s paved the way through the years, and who stands out in women’s golf up to this point?
While there are many who fit this description, here are a few you’ve probably heard of, and some you haven’t. In fact, there are so many impressive women golfers, there may need to be a sequel to this article!
- Dorothy Campbell
In 1883, there were no women’s golf tours yet, but Campbell managed to become what the World Golf Hall of Fame calls the “first female international star” regardless. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, where golf began, she was the first golfer to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur and British Ladies Amateur in the same year in 1909. She eventually won 11 national amateur titles (which was a lot back then). Known for her strong short drive and run-up shots, Campbell was finally inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978.
- Jiyai Shin
Shin became a quickly lovable and popular player on the LPGA tour, but she had already proven herself as a golfer before even becoming a member. Shin won her first amateur award at the age of 17, and turned pro by 18. By the time she was 25 years old, she had already won 10 LPGA Tour wins and 2 majors in 2008 and 2012. Originally from South Korea, she is famous for coming back and winning in the final round. She’s called “Chalk Line” for her hitting drives straight down the middle of the fairway. She currently plays on the Japan LPGA since 2014.
- Marilynn Smith
Marilynn, or “Miss Personality” as some liked to call her, was not only one of the nicest and most impressive players in LPGA history, but was a huge promoter of women’s golf during her tenure. Between 1954 and 1972, the Kansas-born golfer had over 20 victories and 2 majors. She also holds the special honor of being the first in LPGA history to score a double-eagle! She was also the first woman to appear as a broadcaster on a men’s golf telecast during the U.S. Open and PGA Tour in 1973.
- Amy Alcott
With 29 wins and 5 majors under her belt, it would be pretty tough to argue her place among the greats. Still a teen when she turned pro, she had a long career in the pros over 20 years. She won LPGA’s Rookie of the Year in 1975, and The Kansas City, Missouri native was famously the first to jump in the lake after winning the Nabisco Dinah Shore, (known now as the ANA Inspiration) which eventually became a tradition. It is now known as the “Champions Leap.” Alcott was known for winning many tournaments back-to-back. She won 4 tournaments within 1 year a total of 3 times, and in 1980, she finished second 5 times, and made the Top 10 21 out of 28 tournaments she played that year!
- Annika Sorenstam
Listed as the greatest female golfer of all-time on many people’s ranked lists, the Swedish born player has won the LPGA a total of 72 times, the Ladies European Tour 17, and 10 majors. She’s practiced with Tiger Woods and picked up some of his habits, and is known for being the most dominant player in the game from 2001-2005. Sorenstam is still one of the longest hitters in the history of women’s golf. She’s even got a golf instructional book named after her! How many players can say that?