Although in recent years the popularity of The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour has been eclipsed by a surging popularity of the PGA spurred by Tiger Woods, the roots of female golfers go back just as deep as those of their male counterparts. In 1567, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots was rumored to have been the first female golf player when she supposedly played against Mary Seton, her lady in waiting. In their match, it was said that Queen Mary Stuart lost and that she subsequently gave Mary Seton a necklace as a reward. The current rules of amateur status state that amateur golfers should only play for the challenge and not for financial gain. With this in mind, Mary Seton is arguably the first professional female golfer.
In 1795, Reverend Carlyle wrote that the fish wives of Musselburgh frequently played golf during the holidays. However, the first formal record of ladies’ golf was on January 1, 1811, when the club that preceded the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club sponsored the first ever women’s golf competition. The winner of the competition received a fishing basket as well as two Barcelona silk handkerchiefs.