For years, the game of golf had been referred to as a “gentleman’s sport,” a cultural realm associated with a timely business deal or shrewd social networking. But not if Julia Johnson, Elise Bradley, Tessa Teachman or Julie Harrison have anything to say about it. Proud representatives of the game’s female talent—and male talent, too, given Johnson’s past Boys’ Division win—these local golfers prove that true success on the green owes everything to hard work and perseverance, just like anything else.
For Harrison, now 56 and winner of the State Amateur, State Mid-Amateur, and State 4-Ball tournaments, that meant picking up the club in 1986, when fewer women joined her on the course. Johnson, on the other hand, at just 17 and preparing to play golf at Ole Miss, is already accustomed to the larger influx of female players.
“That win in the Boys’ Division is something I still think about daily,” she says. “I went out there just wanting to get experience playing competitively with longer yardages, and I had no idea I would do what I did there.”
But 26-year-old Tessa Teachman isn’t shy to report on the disparities that still exist in the game despite the equal prowess distributed between men and women.
“Women and men have similar statistics, work equally hard and have a huge pay gap to overcome,” she says.
Which is probably why so much of Bradley’s optimism comes from the mental aspects of the sport.
“I think golf teaches valuable lessons,” she says. “You may hit a good shot and get a bad break, just like you get bad breaks in life.”
But life is a game, after all, and games, as these ladies prove, can be won.
To learn more about these ladies’ outstanding records and stories of achievement, check out our article in the July issue, available on newsstands now.