Golf has historically been one of the sports that has a major inclusivity issue. Recently, the 86th Masters took place, and to date, there has never been a fully-out gay golfer in the tournament. The PGA, however, has been looking to tackle this problem head-on and make inclusivity a priority in the coming years.
Push For A Safer Playing Field
There are clearly issues in the professional golfing world with inclusivity and LGBTQ members feeling safe enough to present their true selves to their golfing peers. Whether or not there are gay players in the PGA remains to be seen. But if there are, none have yet felt comfortable enough to come out in their workplace. Yet the PGA has been attempting to address this obvious problem in the past few years by focusing on optimizing the experiences of the LGBTQ community and creating safer working environments.
Many players, irrespective of the sport they partake in, have complained about toxic environments. However, this issue is especially prevalent with homosexual players in men’s sports. There have been various women in women’s professional golf who have come out and continued to partake in tournaments. This seems to be an issue of homophobia and fragile masculinity, which the PGA is looking to redress.
A Matter Of Social Sporting Acceptance
One of the main reasons that homosexual players don’t feel safe coming out in the professional sports arena is the backlash that they tend to receive from other professionals and fans. Golf is an extremely popular sport. The 2022 Masters mentioned above was the most popular golfing event since the Masters in 2019, with over 10 million unique viewers worldwide. This means that every player is always in the spotlight and their lifestyle is open to scrutiny and commentary. And this commentary is not always favorable or complementary.
Most of these fans are on social media, where they cannot be traced and cannot be held accountable for the things that they say. Many professional sportsmen and women receive endless amounts of hate, which makes players who align with the LGBT community hesitant to come out to fans and professionals alike. Social media companies must work hand-in-hand with sports organizations to help hold abusers online accountable for homophobic remarks.
PGA Recognized On Sports Equality Index
The Human Right Commission recently scored the PGA 95 out of 100 on their equality index. They awarded this rating for the practices the organization has been attempting to implement in order to promote inclusivity in the sport. This shows that golf is heading in the right direction. The sport and those who run it are promoting same-sex acceptance at a grassroots level by educating professional golfers and other employees in the space about inclusivity and acceptance in the workplace.
If golf can lead the way, there’s hope that other sports will follow suit, especially when considering how much media coverage the sport gets, and how many people tune in to watch the majors and other events. If golf can positively promote the LGBTQ community, it sets an excellent example and provides valuable support.