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New documentary The Founders tells the stories of some ground-breaking women


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Documentary The Founders tells the story of 13 ground-breaking women who founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) after being rejected time and time again in the athletic world.

In 1950, the amateur golfers came together and pushed against society’s efforts to keep golf a men-only sport. They paid for tournaments with their own money, golfed in far-away towns and worked their way to ultimate success in founding the LPGA.

Directors Charlene Fisk and Carrie Schrader took on a number of challenges just to tell the story.

Schrader wasn’t even sure she wanted to direct a film about golf, a sport that didn’t initially interest her. She quickly realised, though, that the story is about much more than the sport.

“After I looked into it I was like, this isn’t golf. This isn’t even about sports”, she said. “This is a story about redemption and people who struggle against amazing odds for something that they really, truly believe in”.

Finding resources was difficult. The film’s subjects had not previously received the attention they deserve.

“We started digging away and realised it was a monster — they were really ghosts”, said Fisk. “There wasn’t a lot of footage of them out there”.

After getting in touch with some of the subjects’ family members who had old rolls of film of the golfers, the directors found themselves with more material, a memory Fisk describes as a “Christmas morning feeling”.

The film is particularly relevant right now, as Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland, where the directors currently are, has been under fire for rejecting women as members of the club.

Fisk and Schrader both wish the men at Muirfield would watch The Founders.

“I feel like if they did walk a mile in these women’s shoes…They would see what women have done for this sport. And realise that without them, they wouldn’t have this sport either. Men learn so much from women in golf”, Schrader says.

Other audience members the directors hope to affect with the film? Women who want to step up in the world.

“We did our premiere in Atlanta — we won the audience award”, says Fisk. “The overwhelming response from the audience was, ‘Man, what am I doing with my life? What am I doing right now? I need to get on this stuff. I need to step up’. It’s like reading a self-help book”.

Schrader hopes the film will help audience members to follow their passions. Life is short.

“I hope that [viewers] will say to themselves, “What makes me feel most alive?”… We know that we’re all eventually going to die. So in the face of that, why not live to the absolute fullest, as we can right now?”

The Founders opens in UK theatres on 5th August 2016.

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