Outsiders in the Clubhouse

The World of Women's Professional Golf

By Todd W. Crosset

Subjects: Sports And Society
Series: SUNY series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations
Paperback : 9780791424902, 288 pages, June 1995
Hardcover : 9780791424896, 288 pages, June 1995

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Table of contents


Part I. The Social and Historical Context of the LPGA

1. Out Here

2. Outsiders Inside the Tournament

3. Radicals among the Power Elite

4. Getting In and Staying Out

Part II. Inside the Subworld

5. Doing Gender and the Prowess Ethic

6. The Prowess Ethic and the Parent Culture

7. The Image Makers

8. Interpresonal Relations on the Tour

9. Fans, Status, an the Gift of Golf

Part III. The Ideological Struggle Over Women's Golf

10. The Corporate Image

11. Prowess and Transformation

12. Feminism and the Tour

Part IV. The LPGA as an Agent of Social Change

13. Class, Race, and the Increasing Exclusivity of the Tour

14. Gender Equality and the LPGA


A. Player Profiles
B. The Methods
C. Intergenerational Class and Occupational Mobility Chart




A sociological examination of life within the subworld of women's professional golf that explores the interpersonal relations between athletes, fans, and sponsors on the LPGA tour and looks at tensions between gender, class, and prowess within the social world of golf.


Outsiders in the Clubhouse captures the experience of living on the women's professional golf tour. Based on interviews, field work, and archival data, it reveals a double edge to women's status as outsiders within the world of golf. On the tour, gender is less relevant than in the everyday lives of most women. LPGA members do not compete directly with men, they are not held back by glass ceilings, and their raises are based on merit. But at the same time the tour operates within a sexist world. Despite all their skill, women golfers remain outsiders within the hypermasculine world of golf.

This book explores the players' lives as they attempt to balance the often conflicting demands of their sport and the conventional social expectations of womanhood. The analysis builds from the players' negotiation of interactions with fans and press and between each other to a broader analysis of the political symbolism and agency of women athletes within contemporary society.

Todd W. Crosset is Assistant Professor of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was an All-American swimmer at the University of Texas and a North Atlantic Conference Swim Coach of the Year before becoming a sociologist.


"The book burns with relevance. The use of ethnography to evoke women's descriptions of their own world is unique and effective. Too often, women's voices have been buried beneath the cultural devaluation of women's athletics. This book brings their voices to the forefront. Silences are being broken here. " --Donald Sabo, D'Youville College

"A fresh perspective on my everyday life as an LPGA tour player, this book isn't about getting a little white ball in the hole but what happens when you pull it out. Athletes and non-athletes can benefit from this inside- and outside-the-ropes look at women's professional golf. " — Kim Shipman, LPGA tour player

"This book provides crucial insights into the contradictions of women's professional golf—a place where women's performance is valued more than their appearance, and yet a place where traditional femininity and feminism often clash. Rich in detail, it provides the reader with a fascinating view of everyday life on the tour. " — Helen Lenskyj, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

"Want to get inside the world of women's professional golf? From top to bottom? Read Outsiders in the Clubhouse. " — Muffin Spencer-Devlin, LPGA tour player

"Sports and gender sociology at their best, this ethnography is replete with vivid case studies and profound theoretical analysis. Even if you know nothing about golf, this superbly crafted book will fascinate you as it unravels the meaning of being a woman in contemporary society and the power of money and the media to shape everything!" — Shulamit Reinharz, Chair, Women's Studies Program, Brandeis University