FOR many people, golf is a religion, while it has also been referred to as a good walk spoiled.

What is clear is that, as with many other sports, women had to fight for the chance to participate. Their struggle was revealed in a brilliant documentary by Margot McCuaig, aired on BBC ALBA and available on BBC iPlayer, with some gems that make this a must-see programme.

Iron Women looks back at the history of women in golf, the names that have endured and the struggles faced as well as highlighting the fashion trends that in many cases were imposed upon women by the males in society.

Some of the rules dictated were still in use just over a score of years ago when women, in the main, were not allowed in the clubhouse and in fact had a different path to walk to ensure they couldn’t see into the clubhouse while the men sipped whisky and smoked their cigars.

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There was also a famous sign at a golf club in Edinburgh which read “No Dogs or Women allowed”.

Despite all this, Scotland has produced some amazing woman golfers and Scottish Women in Sport were delighted to induct Belle Robertson OBE, as a “Pioneer in Sport” at an awards ceremony in Glasgow in 2018.

Belle has definitely made her mark on golf with four Sportswoman of the Year titles and three Woman Golfer of the Year honours, induction into the Scottish Sport Hall of Fame, and becoming one of the first female members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in February 2015. She is an inspirational lady and a lovely woman who was still walking the course in her 80s.

I am delighted to say things have changed over the last few decades, with golf placing a strong emphasis in getting more women and girls participating.

Peebles Golf Club is a great example, and winner of the Community Champion (Youth) at our virtual awards dinner last year.

The club now has girls outnumbering the boys in its Sunday morning coaching programme and overall has a good gender split of 40% girls to 60% boys, a statistic it intends to improve upon in the coming years.