Why women's golf still needs Laura Davies
Young, tanned, polished, and enviably-toned players like Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist and Carly Booth often spring to mind when you think of professional female golfers. But long before this generation of gym bunnies and Instagram experts came along, Dame Laura Davies had firmly cemented herself as one of the greatest British golfers of all time.
Mar 6, 2018 at 6:33am PST
With a staggering 108 top-ten finishes and a place within the World Golf Hall Of Fame, she is also admired for her no-nonsense approach, wit and honesty.
Most mature club golfers don’t look up to players because of how many likes their photos get, how edgy their clothing is or how many times a week they visit the gym.
Despite her incredible achievements, it is her down-to-earth attitude that will make Davies seem more relatable to many golfers.
This weekend’s performance at the LPGA Founder’s Cup also proved that she’s still capable of making it almost to the very top of the leaderboard. While she’s still shooting rounds as low as 63 and finishing in 2nd in her mid-fifties, you just can’t help but root for her.
29-year-old Inbee Park eventually took home the trophy, but winning would have made her the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history.
Although she hasn’t won since 2001, the result proved that she is still a serious contender. Is also squashed any suggestions that she might want to think about retiring any time soon.
She turned professional in 1985, meaning that she has been playing professional golf for longer than I, or the majority of the players on the Ladies European Tour, have been alive.
WHAT. A. WEEK!
73 – 69 – 63 – 69 (-14 total) well played Laura ??⛳️ pic.twitter.com/64CJKkcndu
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) March 19, 2018
Davies was predictably modest about her best finish in 11 years: “Now people might stop asking me when I’m going to retire. I can just say, well, I finished 2nd last week. That’s the good bit. People are off my back now. I can just go and play and see if I can have a few more top 10 finishes this year.”
There aren’t many sports where the players in their 50s are beating the ones in their early 20s. With Tiger Woods’ return making the world sit up and notice golf again, there seems to be trend in older players making successful come backs.
Davies is as far removed from today’s media-driven, social-media obsessed world as you can get. She confesses that she hates photo opportunities, after-dinner speeches and all the formalities that are required in the days before a tournament begins.
She doesn’t think it’s necessary to overwork yourself, and she’s previously credited this ideas as being the secret to her success.
She told Golf International magazine: “It will sound flippant but it is the lack of hours and hours beating myself up on the range and not playing golf every day at home. When I come to a tournament I want to be excited and looking forward to it.”
“On tour practice rounds are torture as they take so long. And I think you can hurt yourself by hitting a lot of balls. Look at Michelle Wie, I love her but she looks like the bionic woman and she’s still so young. You wonder if she hit too many balls when she was younger.”
It’s true that while 28-year-old Wie looks brilliant, she openly documents her struggles with arthritis in her wrists.
— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) March 8, 2018
Like the rest of us, Davies has admitted that she suffers with 1st-tee nerves.
Speaking about playing in the Solheim Cup, she said: ‘My legs get very shaky, all the power goes out of them. They feel hollow. It is just on the first tee shot, once that is out the way then you are good to go. You need the fear to get you going and then it goes but if you show the fear in the battle then you probably aren’t going to win.”
But tactics-wise she is matter of fact and practical, and insists she has never had to use a psychologist.
She said: ‘I think it’s just common sense and I think I’ve got lots of it. I don’t like reading but I have listened to Bob Rotella and there was another American guy who I had some cassettes of when I was having some real problems with my driver. Then every time I listened to it I just thought it was common sense and it was a waste of money and I never listened to one again.”
If I could take her practical, no-nonsense attitude into all areas of my life I would probably be a lot better off.
Golf’s health benefit have been widely promoted recently as a way of encouraging more people into the game.
A study from the University of Edinburgh found that golfers live longer than non-golfers. Playing 18 holes can also involve walking between four and eight miles; moderately intense exercise that can help towards improving your mental and physical health.
Happy, healthy and showing no signs of leaving the game any time soon, Davies is living proof that golf can help you to live a long and healthy life.
I love all the young, fashionable players that golf has at the moment. They are definitely encouraging a new generation into the game and I’m unashamedly obsessed with following where they are playing/what they are eating/what they are wearing and every other detail of their lives on Twitter.
But they can’t rival Davies in terms of her experience or knowledge of the game.
Whether you are panicking about turning 30, beginning to think that you are getting too old for golf, or only just taking up the game as a junior, she’s an inspiring presence who proves that golf is a sport for any age.
She’s also the perfect reassurance that you’re never too old to make a comeback.