Varsity Girls Golf Comes Out Swinging

How girls in golf overcome discouragement.


98.2% of professional golf players are male. However, women have been establishing themselves in the game, both in Garfield and worldwide. Garfield’s own girls’ varsity team has been climbing to the top, winning six out of their nine games in the 2022 Autumn season. Unfortunately, it hasn’t all been a victory for the women in this sport.
Being a woman of color in a sport dominated by people who couldn’t be more opposite is not easy. Nahlyan Orbeck, a sophomore on the Garfield golf team, has had to learn how to combat both racial and gender discrimination by focusing on the support she receives from her team and remembering she is working for. “We have to work together and remember that we are just as good as they are,” she said when talking about the importance of a girls’ golf team. Orbeck believes that girls should always be involved because they should be offered the same opportunities the boys have. Sexist stereotypes plague most things for women worldwide, and there is no difference in golf, also known as a man’s sport. Orbeck recognizes this, “we might have to work extra hard because of our disadvantages [compared to a boys’ team];” as the boys have nearly twice the amount of players, and don’t have to fight against the discrimination girl golfers experience. But Nahlyan Orbeck is not the only teammate to acknowledge a discouraging obstacle in the sport.

Golf’s scoring system makes it easy for players to fall into a negative mindset. Points aren’t won for good performance; Instead, the score increases for each shot a player misses. Although it feels counterintuitive, the lower the final score, the better. Varsity player Iris Too expresses that golf is a “mental game as much as it is a physical game.” It’s important for them to stay positive, even if shots don’t go as intended. A missed shot might feel disheartening, but choosing not to dwell on it can set the game on the right track. In Too’s experience, doing something as simple as reassuring herself with uplifting phrases can make a difference. As long as “self doubt clouds [their] minds,” those thoughts will linger throughout the match, which can be detrimental to their performance. But the girls are not letting these mental challenges set them back. Too recounts that their games have been remarkable, having won both of their most recent matches. As this successful season comes to an end, the team will see their three seniors graduate. The team is excited to welcome new girls next year!

While the girls have experienced defeats and triumphs this season, the team continues to stay dedicated and encouraging. Throughout the season, they maintained a positive mindset and confidence in their skills. Restrictive and discriminating gender norms don’t hold them back, instead, the girls come swinging.