Evolution not Revolution: An Oral History of Women’s Club Golf in Scotland c.1945-1995

  • Lauren Beatty

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Research on women’s golf has predominantly discussed the sport within its wider male dominated context, or has provided a generalised chronological account of the development of the women’s game from an international perspective. The aim of this research was to uncover women’s personal experiences of playing golf at club level in Scotland c.1945-1995, from a gender, class and stage of life-cycle perspective. Archival records of women’s golf are largely Anglocentric and provide an upper class and institutionalised view of women’s golf. A qualitative methodology, applying a feminist approach to oral history, was therefore required to uncover women’s hidden experiences of playing golf at grassroots level, highlighting their motivations for taking up the sport, the challenges they faced, and what makes the female experience unique. This thesis demonstrates that many of the conventions and restrictions imposed on women due to gender, class and stage of life-cycle, remained throughout the post-war years, yet despite these challenges, those who participated in the sport, often from childhood, continued to play throughout their life, because of their passion for the game.

Looking to the future of women’s golf at grassroots level in Britain, this thesis highlights the initiatives which have been put in place by the golf industry in recent years in response to the male dominance of the sport, whilst also outlining what women themselves would like to see improved. By uncovering the personal experiences of women club golfers across Scotland for the first time and making their experiences accessible to the public by archiving them at the R&A World Golf Museum in St Andrews, this research contributes important new knowledge to the history of women’s golf and of women’s sport more broadly.
Date of Award2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorFiona Skillen (Supervisor) & Oonagh Walsh (Supervisor)

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