Q&A: Wake Forest women's team's Dittrich
The golf industry is working hard to increase accessibility for all types in individuals, and in the eyes of many, getting more women into the game is the key factor in growing the game. A recent conversation with Natalie Dittrich, president of the Wake Forest women’s club golf, yielded some interesting perspective on the future of women’s golf.
• • •
Q: How long has the Wake Forest women's club team been around?
It started in 2007, but had been quite unorganized. Year after year, we continue to improve the program with talented and enthusiastic golfers and recently have striven to encourage our team to be more competitive.
Q: How many members do you have in the club?
We have about 20 members, half of which are on the traveling team. We have an international presence (our co-president is from Paris, France) as well as coast-to-coast representation including girls from California, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Q: There are only 3 all-women's club teams in NCCGA; why aren't there more?
I'm surprised there aren't more actually. However, I think that there is a divide between the extremely competitive women golf players, who usually get recruited to play on Division I teams, and women who play very rarely and less competitively. There is a lack of representation between those two levels, girls who are competitive and motivated but who can't quite reach their universities' first teams. It's also striking when comparing the U.S. to other countries such as France to see how male-oriented the golf world is in the United States.
Q: How does the Wake women's team stack up against the men's club team?
The men rank higher as a team in general, but we are still competitive. In our last tournament, 5 of our cards were in the 70s over two days and others were in the low 80s – which is a great improvement from previous years. Because there is more interest, the men's team is able to be more selective in picking their team and thus historically has had lower scores.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of women's golf in America?
Once again there are two levels at which women's golf should be considered. I think that extremely competitive women players have multiple opportunities in America and that in international competitiveness, U.S. players stand up well if not exceedingly so against other girls. However, I think that beginner, intermediate and higher-level golf is not yet open to women as much as to men, and therefore women's golf will remain an elite and restricted domain if nothing is changed.
Q: What can we do to get more young women in the game of golf?
I think that golf should be introduced to young women at beginner and intermediate levels and made competitive at those levels. This would motivate girls who would otherwise give up, not being good enough for varsity play. I also think that the stigma of golf being an "old-man's sport," and more importantly just a men's sport, should be reduced.
• • •
There are a number of young women leading teams across NCCGA:
• Jessica Thulson leads the all-women’s club team at Fort Worth;
• Deborah Kim leads the women’s club team at Air Force Academy and is the Regional Coordinator of the newly formed Mountain Region;
• Victoria Leon leads UCLA’s club-golf team and is the Regional Coordinator of the California Region;
• Demi Delia leads Montclair State University’s club-golf team and is the Regional Coordinator of the Metro Region.
In the first part of our club diversity series, we interviewed Memo Saldana, president of the highly international and ethnically diverse TCU Club Golf Team. It’s exciting to hear these stories of how the game is growing on college campuses across the country. Through CollegeGolfPass & NCCGA, we are growing golf on over 300 campuses and will continue to share stories of how we are growing the next generation of golfers.
Natalie Dittrich and Olivia de Fouchier are the Presidents of the Wake Forest Women’s Club Golf Team. Interview performed by Mike Belkin, NCCGA Board Member and CollegeGolfPass Co-Founder.