AAP Golf

Golf must lose stuffy traditions: Webb

By AAP Newswire

Karrie Webb is appealing for Australian golf clubs to relax stuffy traditions which scare off young players.

Australia's most-successful golfer says "intimidating" club rules risk the future of the sport.

Webb still remembers, as a teenager, having to pick at the hem to lengthen her golf shorts to comply with one of many stickling rules at golf clubs.

"It can be a very intimidating place for young boys and girls," Webb told reporters on Wednesday in Adelaide.

"They have got club rules - tuck your shirt in, take your hat off in the clubhouse, that sort of stuff.

"I think we have to soften a little bit in golf to encourage kids to play ... golf needs to get out of these traditions.

"I grew up in north Queensland so I didn't see a lot of that until I started travelling away and playing in the bigger cities.

"(I) had to unpick the length of my hems so my shorts were long enough one day ... all those things need to go out the window and we need to modernise."

Webb worries about golf's ability to attract young female players given the renewal of other women's sports such as cricket.

"There's no time like the present for us to be concentrating on that (modernising) because there's so many other sports in Australia that are," she said.

"And if we don't, we'll be lost and the growth won't continue at all ... it is definitely urgently needed."

Webb, a 41-time winner on the LPGA Tour, herself feels rejuvenated by her transition to a part-time golfer.

Last year, she played just eight LPGA tournaments and won only $US 65,000 ($A91,500) - a mere drop in her career prizemoney pool of more than $US20 million ($A28 million).

But Webb believed she could have been lost to the sport entirely if she hadn't backed off from playing full-time.

"It made me not really like golf that much - and I didn't ever want to feel that way about golf because it has been so great to me," she said of the full-time grind.

"Last year was successful in the fact that I got some love back for golf.

"I probably would have liked to have played a little bit better. But I didn't hate it at the end of the year.

"I spent four-and-a-half months in Australia last year which is more than double of any year for the past 23 years so, yeah, it was a good year."