Tertullian in Knickers and Tweed

golfweb6s-1-webI’m pretty sure my readership doesn’t overlap very much with Golf Digest, so let me tell you about the cover of this month’s issue.

It’s a picture of model Paulina Gretzky, and in the shot she’s holding a golf club, which looks to me to be a sand wedge. But the connection to golf pretty much stops there, because Paulina is wearing a sports bra top and tight white yoga pants, and who in their right mind would wear that out on the links? I mean, what happens when you hit out of a bunker and splatter mud all over yourself?!?

So there’s a near naked Paulina gracing this month’s cover of Golf Digest. As near as I can tell Paulina Gretzky is famous for basically three things:

First, being Wayne Gretzky’s daughter. She’s sort of hockey royalty.

Second, for a seemingly endless supply of bikini-clad selfies on Instagram.

Third, for being engaged to professional golfer Dustin Johnson.

And it’s that third reason that got her on the cover of Golf Digest.

Oh, that and Golf Digest wants to sell more issues. Because when you’re a print magazine trying to make it in an increasingly saturated media market, if you have the chance to put someone like Paulina Gretzky on your cover, you take it.

Not that Golf Digest is admitting that. Here’s the word from Golf Digest‘s editor in chief:

“Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine’s beginning,” Jerry Tarde said. “Paulina ranks at the high end of the golf celebrity scene today, and she has a compelling story to tell.”

Sure, it’s about her story. And I guess the outfit was just what she happened to be wearing that day?

One problem of course is the message this cover communicates to women golfers the world over. In this country, LPGA golfers have gone online to decry the use of cover space for Miss Gretzky. In fact, it’s not just the choice to use cover space for Gretzky, it’s the lack of cover space for women golfers in general. According to this article:

LPGA golfers have appeared solo on the cover of Golf Digest 11 times since 1969, The Times reported, but none since Lorena Ochoa in August 2008. The last time a woman graced the cover was in May of last year when the magazine featured Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders.

“It’s frustrating because it’s Golf Digest; it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Juli Inkster told The Times. Inkster, 53, with 31 wins on the LPGA Tour and over $14 million in career earnings added: “I think they should maybe recognize some of the great women golfers that we have.”


Let’s set the record straight. Despite Golf Digest‘s cover practice, women (and girls) are golfers too. And good ones.

Case in point, let me introduce you to 9-year old Kelly Xu. This week, Kelly won the 9 and under division of the first-ever Drive, Chip and Put competition…at Augusta National Golf Club.

Yes, that Augusta. The place that hosts the most popular and prestigious golf tournament in the world, the Masters. For the golf community, Augusta is hallowed ground. It’s revered, fabled and venerable.

And, until very recently, it was also male only.

As reported on Challenging Tertullian last year, in August 2012, for the first time, Augusta National welcomed women into the membership, when the club voted in Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore. As I said at the time, the change was incremental yet significant.

Now, less than two years later, here’s the headline:

9-year old Kelly Xu just became the first ever female champion on the most cherished golf course in the world.

Come to think of it, Golf Digest should put her on their cover.


PS…want to see the Golf Digest cover spoof? Here.

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