Golf is ever growing in its popularity but for a long period, it was considered the sole domain of aging men who had retired and had plenty of time on their hands to perfect their swing. Now, with a more vibrant and youthful feel to it attracts all walks of life. Sadly, it is still dominated by men and so here we celebrate the great female golfers who have risen to the top of the game.
We look at some of those on top of their game and some up and coming superstars, all of whom you wouldn't mind getting a helping hand on your short game from.
1. Blair O'Neal
An American golfer who first picked up a club at age 11, by 13 Blair was the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and began to find serious success as she received a selection on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team in Valderrama, Spain; a selection to AJGA Cannon Cup Team; became runner-up in the Woman’s Western Tournament; and a medalist at the AJGA Ping Phoenix Junior Championship.
A two-time NCAA women’s long-drive champion, Blair competed on the LPGA Symetra Tour (then known as the LPGA Futures Tour) but had a break from the sport due to a broken foot and moved into modeling. In 2009, Blair competed on the Golf Channel’s Big Break: Prince Edward Island and was the runner-up, which re-launched her golf career. In 2015 she retired from the tour to focus on media and corporate work.
2. Sophie Horn
A British golfer who competed for her nation in the women's golf tournament at Rio, Horn is the face of women's golf in the country having grown up on a golf course and becoming crowned Norfolk County Champion 3 years running. She won the Under-21 title when she was just 15 years old and also won the Midlands Championship and became Champion of Champions in 2001.
Sophie has also moved in front of the camera and is known for wanting to add greater glamor and sexuality to the sport which has meant she has done many glamor and modeling shoots in order to promote the sport.
3. Michelle Wie
A Korean-American prodigy who became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship at the tender age of just 10. Not stopping there, Wie went on to become the youngest winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links and the youngest to qualify for a LPGA Tour event before turning professional in 2005, just a few days shy of her 16th birthday.
Now on the LPGA tour, Michelle won her first major at the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.
4. Veronica Felibert
An LPGA tour golfer from Venezuela, Veronica played collegiate golf at the University of Southern California and turned pro in 2012. She won the Venezuelan Junior Championship at age twelve, defeating the age categories of 13-14 and 15-17 and receiving three titles for all age categories in 1997 as well as being the four-time Venezuelan Junior Stroke Play Champion.
Not just a pro golfer, Veronica has an MBA and is an avid fitness enthusiast who keeps on top of her game at all times.
5. Beatriz Recari Eransus
A Spanish professional golfer on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, Regari took up golf at 11 and had a hugely successful amateur career that saw her win the 2004 Spanish Amateur Championship, the 2005 French Amateur Championship, the European Team Championship as a member of Team Spain in 2004 and become a member of Team Europe in the 2005 Junior Solheim Cup.
Turning professional at 18 in 2006, she stopped studying Economics in order to focus on her sporting career.
6. Charley Hull
An English pro who is certainly one to watch, Charley won Rookie of the Year, became the youngest competitor to participate in the international Solheim Cup matches and a champion on the circuit in 2014 all before the age of 18, which is perhaps no surprise when you hear she was introduced to golf at just 2-years-old.
Having turned pro just a year earlier, Hull won her first professional title at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
7. Paula Creamer
With 12 tournament wins to her name, including 10 LPGA Tour events, Creamer is one of the best female golfers around and the Californian often receives incredibly lucrative endorsement and sponsorship deals because of this that comfortably push into the millions when combined with her career winnings.
In fact, Paula is regularly ranked as one of the 10 highest-earning female athletes in the world.
9. Anna Rawson
Australian, Anna Rawson is not only a golf pro but also an extremely in-demand model. In 1999 as an amateur golfer in Australia, Rawson was the South Australian and Victoria Junior Champion plus the winner of the Jack Newton International Junior Classic. Turning professional in 2004, she was invited to join the LPGA tour in 2007.
At 16, Rawson was a finalist in the Australian "Dolly" Magazine cover contest which launched her modeling career in print ads, magazines, and on television.
9. Natalie Gulbis
An American golfer with Latvian ancestry, Gulbis first took an interest in the sport of golf at age four and seven, she had won her first tournament, and at age ten, she reports she was breaking par, competing in her first LPGA Tour event at just 14.Turning pro at 18, she has wins at the Evian Masters on the LPGA and the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge three times as an unofficial event.
Appearing in many magazine spreads and even releasing her own calendar, Natalie has a notable media presence appearing on any TV shows and even in video games.
10. Maria Verchenova
The first Russian to become a full-time member of the Ladies European Tour , Maria is the golfer with the lowest score in Summer Games history after she shot 62 after four rounds, in Rio but with a poor start to the tournament, she finished well out of medal contention in the end. Verchenova competed under her married name Maria Balikoeva from 2012 to 2015.
Turning professional in 2006, Verchenova has several top-10 finishes to her name.
11. Suzann Pettersen
A Norwegian pro who has a stunning 15 LPGA wins under her belt and has twice been ranked the second best female golfer in the world. On the US-based LPGA Tour, she is also a member of the Ladies European Tour. A five-time Norwegian Amateur Champion, she turned professional at 19 in 2000.
With wins on both the LPGA tour and the Ladies European Tour, Pettersen is a trans-Atlantic phenomenon.
12. Sandra Gal
A German pro on the LPGA tour, Gal started playing golf at five and by 17 she had joined the German National Team and at 18 won the German National Girls Championship. In 2007, she won the Ladies European Amateur tournament and then turned professional a year later and won her first event at the Kia Classic in 2011.
Gal was a member of the winning European Solheim Cup Team in 2011 and also played on the European Solheim Cup Team in 2015 and also competed for her nation at Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
13. Claudine Foong
A former professional golfer, Claudine found that her passion actually lay more in human body and wellness and so turned to that to pursue a career as a golf specific conditioning coach who trains with and alongside pro athletes in order to get them to their very best and keep them at the highest levels they can be at.
With a very visible social media presence, Claudine is undergoing a year of movement and blogs and Instagrams about her career and journeys regularly.
14. Kathleen Ekey
An American golfer from Ohio, Ekey is on the LPGA Tour. Kathleen turned pro and joined the tour in 2009 and by 2011 she had finished at the top of the Futures Tour official money list and was named the Tour's Player of the Year after her wins at the Alliance Bank Golf Classic and the Ladies Titan Tire Challenge.
Not just a talented sports personality, Kathleen also has a bachelor's degree in Communications Studies from the University of Alabama.
15. Mildred Didrikson Zaharias
Mildred Didrikson Zaharias was nicknamed 'Babe' after the successful baseball star Babe Ruth and is arguably one of the most phenomenal athletes you will ever hear about. Playing organized baseball and softball she was also an expert diver, roller-skater, and bowler and had an incredibly successful track and field career where she won two gold medals and one silver medal in track and field at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
After her other sporting triumphs, she turned her hand to golf and became the first woman to win both the British and U.S. Amateur, but in 1939, she was the only woman who qualified for the Los Angeles Open (a men's golf tournament) and then went on to win 10 LPGA major championships.