Golf Digest is taking a new tack with its May cover photo—different from the grimacing concentration of Butch Harmon on the May 2012 edition; different from a calm and confident Tiger Woods with folded arms on the April 2012 edition; even different from the slightly unconventional appearance of the youthful Rickie Fowler with his orange plaid shorts and bright baseball cap on the August 2012 edition.
The photogenic Holly Sonders, who some claim has been objectified for her feminine beauty as a Golf Channel personality, is getting more attention for her cover shoot than the male players ever did.
A Golf Channel Q&A with Sonders addresses public comments on how the Golf Channel hosts would sit behind a desk while Sonders would sit on a stool apart from them wearing short dresses and high heels.
Sonders said “Some people would comment, ‘You’re objectifying her.’ There was just no other place to put me, honestly. The cameras were in the wall. I dress the way I dress because style is very important to me. I love being a girl.”
Sonders is the 44th woman to appear on the cover of the magazine. In an October 2011 post on its website, Golf Digest names some of the 43 female professionals who had modeled on the cover—Alice Bauer, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Laura Baugh, Patty Berg—but noted that Babe Zaharias’s appearance on the May 1954 cover was “perhaps the most memorable, coming as it did in the midst of her courageous battle with cancer.”
In a paper published on the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication website, John Liebhart writes that Golf Digest “exudes male power.”
“I may go as far to say that the preferred Golf Digest reader is the consummate male businessman,” wrote Liebhart. “There is no … opposition to women, friends and children. In Golf Digest, they simply barely exist at all.”