“I wish there was a daycare center where I could leave my child, at least for competitions held during the holidays.”
This is the wish of Park Joo-young (33. Dongbu Construction), who achieved her first win in her career 14 years after her tour debut at the Korea Ladies Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour Daebo House The Open, which ended on the 1st. In an official interview immediately after her win, she carefully opened up about the hardships she faced as a ‘mother golfer’ while working on the tour.
Park Joo-young said, “It’s a time when I need a mother’s help, but it always bothers me that I have to be away from my child,” and “I commuted from home to the competition venue until the first round. Before I got married, I only had to worry about myself, but now I have to do housework and take care of the baby, so there are times when I feel a little confused. “It would be nice if there was a daycare center at the convention center,” she said.
In summary, the situation was not easy. Marriage is one thing, but giving birth is even more difficult, which seems to be a concern for many female athletes. In fact, the marriage rate among KLPGA pros is estimated to be less than 40%. Although the main players are in their early 20s, only a handful of regular tour seed holders are married.
The main reason why many athletes of marriageable age avoid marriage is the fear that they may become so-called ‘hard-core women’ whose careers may be cut short. This is consistent with the fact that the KLPGA’s program to help players get married and to help married players with tour activities is inadequate.
The KLPGA Tour, like the LPGA Tour and JLPGA Tour, has maternity leave regulations. If you wish to extend your seeding due to pregnancy, you can take up to two years of leave. The problem is that the regulations are complicated. According to the KLPGA ‘Seeding rights/seed ranking extension for players applying for maternity leave’ regulations, an application for maternity leave seeding extension and a pregnancy certificate must be submitted together before 30% of the season schedule is completed.
Another problem is that the timing of application of the regulations is ambiguous. The regulations do not specify ‘based on date of birth’ or ‘based on date of application’. For that reason, there are several cases where athletes ended their careers early by missing the application deadline and not being able to receive leave at all.
After maternity leave, I have to return to tour, but that is not easy either. This is because the child care system is not institutionalized. There are some competitions for running daycare centers, but they are not at a satisfactory level because they are about assortment.
So what about the LPGA tour? The LPGA Tour has been operating a child care system for mother golfers, not to mention maternity leave, since 1993, 30 years ago. We provide services not only to players but also to office staff. The goal is to help athletes continue their careers after giving birth.
Three staff members with specialized child care qualifications and volunteers operate a mobile daycare system whenever there is a competition. Operating hours are also long, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. So, it is natural that mother athletes can focus on the game without worrying about their children. For the safety of children, the daycare center is strictly private and police are stationed at all times.
The JLPGA Tour also recently improved its childbirth-related system. Maternity leave lasts up to 36 months from the date of birth. Before the revision, application of the system was limited to some players, but recently it was expanded to players registered on all tours, including the Step Up (Part 2) tour. The purpose of the JLPGA Tour is to make it easier for players to take maternity leave in response to the era of “low birth rate and aging population.”
However, unlike the JLPGA tour, which has a daycare center installed in the lower tour where there are relatively many mother golfers, the first division tour has a poor child care system like the KLPGA. Therefore, even in Japan, there are voices calling for the system to be more advanced so that young players, known as the ‘golden generation’, can return to the tour even after marriage and childbirth먹튀검증.
When asked, ‘How long do you plan to continue the tour?’, Park Joo-young smiled and said, “The second is the variable.” Having a second child is not easy. That is why it is urgent for the KLPGA to establish a program for married and mother golfers. Otherwise, the birth of so-called ‘supermoms’ like the KLPGA Tour’s version of Nancy Lopez and Julie Inkster would be a long way off.