Friday, May 20, 2016

Golf's dinosaurs

The venerable Muirfield Golf Club has been barred from hosting the British Open after it voted to continue disallowing women from its membership. The R&A, the organization that runs the British Open, has recently taken the (belated, but commendable) step of effectively "closing the Open" to those clubs who insist that women are not eligible for membership, and so Muirfield's decision has just cost them a place in the prestigious and profitable competition.
The Scottish golf club dates back to 1744, and is the source of the official written Rules of Golf. But it remains mired in its glorious past, and has steadfastly refused to allow women to join. The recent vote resulted in 64% in favour of admitting women, which I guess is encouraging, but this fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the motion. The Scotsman newspaper has revealed that a group of about thirty Muirfield members had been vigorously campaigning against the inclusion of women before the vote, arguing that they would slow down play, and that they would only feel uncomfortable if they were allowed to join.
Muirfield now languishes in an ever-dwindling minority of major clubs to discriminate against women. Even reactionary organizations like the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (St. Andrews, Scotland), the Royal St. George Golf Club (Sandwich, England), and America's Augusta National Golf Club have recently woken up, smelt the coffee, and changed their rules, and Royal Troon (another Scottish club) currently remains the only other club in the British Open rotation list to continue the men-only policy.
Now I really don't care about the sport of golf, nor do I care about a bunch of upper middle class twits in golf knickers. But I do care about egalitarianism, and this should be a wake-up call for the club and other like-minded hold-outs. There again, what woman in her right mind would want to be a member of a club full of such Neanderthals?

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