"The inauguration of ladies' day for most clubs has proved to be a desirable feature and a financially successful one," a club president told me guardedly, as though the board of directors were tapping his line.
"What are the problems of a club president with women in golf?" he repeated in response to my question. "Do you have a couple of hours? I should have kept a book, Complaints I Have Had. What some of the men say I won't dare repeat, but the women want to know, 'Why are our hours so restricted on weekends? Why do we have to give men preference? Why can't we play in short shorts instead of Bermuda-length?' As for that last question," he added, "I tell them it's too distracting. The men would lift their heads even more than they usually do."
In the world of commerce there is an endless chain reaction to the increasing popularity of golf for women, starting with the swimming pools, tennis courts, ladies' locker rooms, additions and improvements to the clubhouse that must be made to accommodate the women and children. Manufacturers of all golfing equipment, from clubs to clothing, inside and out, have benefited by the boom. If all the charm bracelets that women have bedecked with their golfing mementos in gold, diamonds and precious stones, were stretched end to end, they would probably encircle any golf links.
The National Golf Foundation didn't have any statistics on how much women spend for golf, but any husband will tell you that wives spend more than they, the husbands, can afford.
"It's cheaper than doctors' and psychiatrists' bills," I tell my golfing mate when the monthly tabs come in. "Where else could we have all that lovely fresh air and exercise and give vent to our spleen at the same time?"
"The AT&T," a husband who really loves his wife in spite of how he sounded told me, "should sponsor all women's golf, with the number of phone calls they make about it. At 7:30 in the morning, suddenly they call. Before my wife learned how to play golf—and I was the dope who talked her into trying it—she wouldn't get up before 11. Now she get up at 7:30 just to talk about it.
"The girls play six days a week, and by Thursday of each week my wife has a guilt complex. 'Why don't you take Friday off?' she tells me. I don't want to take Friday off,' I tell her. She feels guilty. She insists. 'It's healthy,' she says. 'You're pale. You should be outside playing golf.' So what happens? I come up to the club late Friday afternoon to spend the weekend. I expect to find my wife all dressed up and waiting for me so we can have a couple of leisurely cocktails before dinner. Is she ready? Oh, no! She's in the bathtub, soaking. She's had a hard day on the golf course."
Yet when his wife won a tournament a few days later and her victory was written up in the newspaper this same husband, who spends a fortune in advertising, was as pleased as if his name were in print for the first time.
One ladies' day I overheard a 44-handicapper call her husband's office and insist his secretary interrupt a business conference. "I had to tell you the good news, Ed," she gushed happily. "I won a tournament today—for having the most 8s."
And I've answered the phone many a time in the 19th hole to hear a hapless husband who was so concerned about the outcome of his wife's match that he couldn't concentrate, let alone wait to find out, ask pitifully: "Did my wife win?" I've seen a child cry when his mother lost. "Don't worry, honey, it's only a game," she consoled him—but everybody knows it's a lot more than that.