If one took a peek at last year’s PDGA National Elite Tour women’s standings, they’d see a list of ladies who participated in the nine-event series throughout the season.
However, looking at it closer, just one player — Sarah Hokom — played in all nine events. Three others — Val Jenkins, Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen played in eight apiece.
Liz Lopez played in seven and after that, it dwindles to five points and below. Of the 57 players who competed in an NT event, 40 played in just one event.
In comparison, the men’s National Elite Tour had 200 players, with 12 players competing in seven or more events. More than a handful played in five or six events, which made the fields larger.
So what gives?
As with many sports, the purse for the winners is usually smaller when it comes to women. And though the ladies may not be the main draw, there is star power when talking about players such as three-time world champion Jenkins, 2011 world champion Pierce and Hokom, who placed second in last year’s NT standings to Jenkins.
Still, it seems whenever Open players on the women’s circuit travel, they play the same people on the top cards. In men’s action, you can find different standouts regionally who can sometimes get in with the top touring pros.
The top female amateur divisions sometimes lack players, too. Hokom said while she was still an am, she sometimes had to play in a men’s division.
“I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while,” Hokom said. “That’s why I played Open. There were no women in the Midwest to play against as an amateur. Places I went, sometimes you played against yourself. That’s no fun.”
Hokom, a former high school biology teacher, opted to become a full-time touring pro a couple of years ago. Sponsored by Discraft, she said has to watch where she tours because she needs to make sure there’s a decent Women’s Open division. If there’s only one or two others in the tournament, it’s not financially worth traveling to the events.