Celebrities: Meghan MacLaren on raising the profile of women’s golf

Celebrities: Meghan MacLaren on raising the profile of women’s golf

Two-time LET Champion and former England Golf squad player Meghan MacLaren talks to us about what she loves about golf, her hopes for the rest of the season, and what advances have been made – and what still needs to be done – to raise the profile of women’s sport…

What do you love about golf?

Sometimes nothing! But most of the time, everything. I love that it’s a never ending process – there is always something you can get better at.

I also love the fact anybody can play with anybody and it can still be both competitive and enjoyable.

Congratulations on your second LET win – and that second place in the mixed Jordan Open! Have you any special aims for the rest of the season?

To keep improving. I don’t like setting results based goals because it’s easy to get fixated on them. With golf you have to trust that you’re on the right path even if you get one or two things not going your way, and if you have a focus on your own processes it’s a lot easier to keep perspective of that.

Having said that… the LET Order of Merit and the Solheim Cup are both things I would love to achieve.

What would you like to change about golf?

I’d love to make it more accessible. It’s difficult to get involved with golf if you don’t already have family connections to it, which means a lot of young people miss out on ever finding out what’s so enjoyable about the game. Thankfully things are changing and people are doing a lot to try and bring golf to more people.

What are you doing to make a difference?

I try to be honest. It sounds simple, but a lot of people within golf don’t say how they truly feel – whether that’s in interviews or on social media, and I think that gives people an unrealistic view of what both the sport and players are really like. I’m not afraid to be myself and express my views – even when that means highlighting the things that aren’t always positive, like the lack of recognition and support for women’s golf in Europe, or the mental challenges that come with not performing at your best.

How can we raise the profile of the women’s game?

I think we’ve all just got to keep talking about it. Keep putting it in people’s faces. Because I genuinely believe if people are exposed to women’s golf, they will enjoy it and have a lasting interest in it. But big companies and corporations need to invest, so that there is more media exposure and television coverage.

How important are innovations like GolfSixes and the mixed Jordan Open?

I think they’re great and I’ve been privileged to take part in both. There are so many golf fans out there who have never really had exposure to women’s golf, so involving women in men’s events will bring in an already engaged audience and hopefully change some of their perceptions. It’s no bad thing for the men’s game either!

You’re an ambassador for the Golf Foundation – what does that involve?

I’m involved with the Golf Foundation which really just means I help them spread their message about inclusivity within golf. They are passionate about bringing more juniors to the game and especially those who don’t have any direct links to golf. They don’t want people to miss out on this fantastic sport, which is something I feel strongly about too. I’m proud to represent what they are trying to do.

You seem ready to speak out on issues around women’s golf. Are people listening?

I hope so!! I think this is a pivotal time for women’s sport in general, and it’s important golf doesn’t miss out on that wave. Even in the year or so I’ve been raising these issues, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in the conversation. It’s not always positive, and I get tired of having to make the same arguments. But it’s too important to not keep standing up for what we believe in. We all want young girls to be inspired to take up this game that we love, but they have to be able to see us first.