The Founders is a documentary about the Ladies Professional Golfing Association (LPGA), which was formed in 1944 as the first professional golfing organisation for women. The first half of the film specifically focuses on the founding members and their struggles to achieve recognition as professional golfers in the face of widespread opposition and sexist attitudes held by the male golfing establishment during the 1940s and 1950s. The second half looks at the influence of the LPGA on the increase in female professional golfers in the US from the 1960s onwards, as well as the longer-term inspiration the founders provide to young female golfers today.

Interview footage with the titular founders is skilfully interspersed with archive footage and dramatisations to show how they became interested in golf from an early age as well as the discrimination they faced at the time. However, this section of the film also delves into the complex relationship and rivalry between three of the founding members. It depicts the successful and ‘attention-seeking’ Babe Zaharias, the more retiring Patty Berg and the hard-edged Louise Suggs, with Zaharias accused of being self-promoting at the expense of the other founders.

The most emotional moment of The Founders occurs towards the end of the film, where a wheelchair-bound Suggs is taken to a golfing museum exhibition and cries upon seeing a picture of her placed alongside those of male professional golfers. This moment is a fitting climax to a well-produced and directed documentary.

Adam Thornton

Tues 21 June, 6.10pm, Filmhouse 

Fri 24 June, 6pm, Filmhouse

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