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Muirfield Out of Open Rota, Denies Women Membership

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Just now, Golfingdad said:

Yeah, but don't forget that nobody is saying that the men-only clubs should be forced to be inclusive, many just feel that they are simply in the wrong for not being inclusive.  They're behind the times, outdated, old-fashioned, whatever you want to call it.

Sure, but at the same time they don't have any problem with the women only clubs. You can't give the men a hard time for having clubs like that and not have a problem with women doing the same thing, in my opinion, because that's being hypocritical.

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38 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

Sure, but at the same time they don't have any problem with the women only clubs. You can't give the men a hard time for having clubs like that and not have a problem with women doing the same thing, in my opinion, because that's being hypocritical.

This is along the lines of the tired old argument that if, say, a particular profession allows minorities to form professional associations based on gender/race/sexuality etc, then why can't people in the majority do the same? Some people might get all huffy about an LGBT lawyers' association (for example), and respond with, "Well, if gay lawyers can have an association limited to gay lawyers only, why can't straight, male lawyers form an association for straight, male lawyers only (no LGBT lawyers allowed)?"

Consider this (remember we're talking about women golfers in the UK):

Percentage of golf club members belonging to private golf clubs in the UK who are women (2014 data): 14%. Source: http://maurahutchinson.writersresidence.com/samples/can-the-uk-increase-women-s-participation-in-golf

The gender ratio of people who are members of private golf clubs in the UK is: 86% men; 14% women. Sounds like the women's game could use encouragement and development in that regard. If women-only golf clubs are a solution to that (not that there are many, in any case, and most were founded years ago), then I have no problem with that.

When women are equally represented (statistically and actually) in British golf, then it'll be time to discuss the appropriateness of all-women golf clubs (assuming any exist at that juncture).

And, as a small aside, one of the oldest British women's golf clubs, Formby Ladies, appears to be far less hung up about male golfers than the Muirfield members are about women: http://www.formbyladiesgolfclub.co.uk/

 

 

 

Edited by ScouseJohnny

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18 minutes ago, ScouseJohnny said:

This is along the lines of the tired old argument that if, say, a particular profession allows minorities to form professional associations based on gender/race/sexuality etc, then why can't people in the majority do the same? Some people might get all huffy about a LGBT lawyers' association (for example), and respond with, "Well, if, gay lawyers can have an association limited to gay lawyers only, why can't straight, male lawyers form an association for straight, male lawyers only (no gay lawyers allowed)?"

Consider this (remember we're talking about women golfers in the UK):

Percentage of golf club members belonging to private golf clubs in the UK who are women (2014 data): 14%. Source: http://maurahutchinson.writersresidence.com/samples/can-the-uk-increase-women-s-participation-in-golf

The gender ratio of people who are members of private golf clubs in the UK is: 86% men; 14% women. Sounds like the women's game could use encouragement and development in that regard. If women-only golf clubs are a solution to that (not that there are many, in any case, and most wee founded years ago), then I have no problem with that.

When women are equally represented (statistically and actually) in British golf, then it'll be time to discuss the appropriateness of all-women golf clubs (assuming any exist at that juncture).

And, as an aside, one of the oldest British women's golf clubs, Formby Ladies, appears to be far less hung up about male golfers than the Muirfield members are about women: http://www.formbyladiesgolfclub.co.uk/

 

 

 

I understand clubs being created when the group isn't able to join the existing clubs, but when they create clubs for the express reason to not be around or exclude the other people then the understanding stops for me because then that makes them no better than those that excluded them. That's my opinion, I don't expect others to agree of course.

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37 minutes ago, ScouseJohnny said:

And, as a small aside, one of the oldest British women's golf clubs, Formby Ladies, appears to be far less hung up about male golfers than the Muirfield members are about women: http://www.formbyladiesgolfclub.co.uk/

Good for them.

Private clubs get to do what they want in this type of situation.

It boils down to that.

And when/if they vote in a few years to change that, it'll simply be another example of a private club doing what they want.

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39 minutes ago, iacas said:

And when/if they vote in a few years to change that, it'll simply be another example of a private club doing what they want.

I would bet (based on my own stubbornness) that at least some part of their reasoning is that they don't like being told to change or looking like they caved to outside pressure.  That seems to be coded into the leaked letter cited earlier.  

At the end of the day, I think the reason some of us care is that we are concerned about the future of golf.   Whether you agree with the decision or not, in many people's minds, instances like these just help to reinforce the stereotype that golf is stuck in the past and non-inclusive (even while many of us know that to not be the case for the most part).  It makes it a lot harder to grow interest in the game while old codgers are excluding women based on their lunches somehow getting ruined by the presence of said women. That's why it matters. 

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11 minutes ago, drmevo said:

At the end of the day, I think the reason some of us care is that we are concerned about the future of golf.

I don't think 10 or 30 women joining a long-standing private club in the UK is going to have any effect on the future of golf.

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16 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't think 10 or 30 women joining a long-standing private club in the UK is going to have any effect on the future of golf.

That's pretty clearly not my point.  It's bad press for golf.  It's not some random country club nobody knows about, it is (was) a venue for one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf.  

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13 minutes ago, drmevo said:

That's pretty clearly not my point.  It's bad press for golf.

Within golf, it's bad press for golf.

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1 hour ago, drmevo said:

That's pretty clearly not my point.  It's bad press for golf.  It's not some random country club nobody knows about, it is (was) a venue for one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf.  

 

49 minutes ago, iacas said:

Within golf, it's bad press for golf.

Exactly, no one outside of golf fans know Muirfield or that they are a mens only club.  It's a non issue, beyond the fact that the decision by R&A to take it out of The Open rotation set off the PC attack sirens.   

People are upset that a few clubs are men only but don't seem to understand that most of the high end country clubs have membership standards that exclude almost all but the top 1% of the population.  While they may not have hard rules like no women, they control their membership standards in other ways to achieve the demographics they desire.   

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47 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

People are upset that a few clubs are men only but don't seem to understand that most of the high end country clubs have membership standards that exclude almost all but the top 1% of the population.  While they may not have hard rules like no women, they control their membership standards in other ways to achieve the demographics they desire.   

I agree, however, I see that as more of an argument for them to be able to include women.  It was exactly my point when I said:

5 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

Those excuses are so vague, they could replace the the instances of "lady" or "ladies" with "any new member."  I'm sure there are a myriad of men out there who would struggle with their "lunch arrangements" and "the uncompromising challenge our fine links present."  I imagine those men simply aren't invited back.  (Unless I'm mistaken, I assume they don't exclude all men because a handful of them can't handle the lunch arrangements)

And along those same lines, the more I think about those excuses, the more ridiculous they seem.  The (very co-ed) clubs I've been to have absolutely no issues with having male and female members, while at the same time having all sorts of separate events, separate days, separate lounges, etc, etc.  Men can have no trouble at all finding "sanctuary" away from women.

(I'm still at a loss why they'd want to, but they definitely can.) :-P

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On 5/22/2016 at 8:36 AM, ScouseJohnny said:

I'm not convinced the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (as they are modestly named), are looking for a place to hang out with the guys, shoot some pool (or even play some golf), sink a few cold ones, and talk about the football and how they're going to drop a new radiator in their truck next weekend - all in the absence of the ladies of course, so they can "cuss, scratch, and fart" without fear of embarrassment or repercussions.

What I do see, however, is evidence of wealthy men wishing to belong to an organization where their companions will be solely limited to other wealthy, and, most likely, predominantly white men. Just as it's always been.

If you want to know how arrogant these men really are, take a look at the letter sent by thirty of them to the entire membership, which one of their more enlightened members leaked to the Scotsman: http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/muirfield-braced-for-no-vote-on-admitting-women-members-1-4131100

Rather breathtaking actually - a series of assumptions born of privilege: The R&A aren't really going to take the Open away from Muirfield because, well, there aren't any alternative places of equal standing and to remove it would hurt the local economy (the issue of the health of the local economy in this regard, also existing in the hands of HCEG, being utterly overlooked); and of course, the use of the phrase "dispense with" after the condescending "satisfactorily address" - in their minds, this isn't really a problem, more of an irritation that can eventually be remedied in a manner that suits their preference.

And who can blame them, in the wider sense? Look at the front bench of the current UK government in the House of Commons. I have never lived in such regressive times. Much as I loathed and detested the grocer's daughter from Lincolnshire who led the country when I was a young man, it is rather incredible to see, at this late stage, that power has been returned, wholesale, to the old Etonians and alumni of the Bullingdon Club. I rather thought British people would have tired of (male) class privilege by now. Still, at least Scotland is in a slightly different position. It does have a progressive woman leader who apparently wants to live in a more enlightened society, and her words for the HCEG are harsh, indeed: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-36333641

Still, the HCEG got what they wanted (to maintain an exclusive club, with a membership restricted to wealthy men) - but they didn't get to have their cake and eat it - they lost the Open Championship. Good. They believe there are no alternatives to their club, located elsewhere in the UK, when it comes to hosting the Open? They're wrong. Take it to St. Mellion, instead, for example - a wonderful, Nicklaus designed course that has hosted European Tour events. I'm sure belonging to that club isn't cheap either, but at least their are no gender restrictions placed on membership. 

Sorry Scouse, but I didn't read anything all that "breathtaking" in the response. But, perhaps the British threshold for breathtaking is a bit lower than on this side of the pond! All I saw was that if the Open Championship wanted to remove Muirfield from the rota and leave them in peace to run their club in the manner that they wish, that was fine with Muirfield!

All this "sturm und drang" over the Muirfield decision indicates to me that there may be more sorrow on the part of the R&A and the golf watching public over losing Muirfield, than there is sorrow at Muirfield over losing The Open!

Of course there are other places to go. None quite as good, which is why the R&A covets it so. But, Muirfield must bend! It must bend to the spirit of the times, the "zeitgeist"!

Sorry for including so many German phrases in my replies, but they seemed to fit. It's amazing to me how you Brits fought your guts out to defeat Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, and for what? Freedom! And yet you surrender it so gladly today!

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Hosting major championships is an ego boost to membership, and nothing more.  What other reason could you possibly want an outside body coming in and dictating terms to your club?  Shutting it down? My brother-in-law is a chef at Oakmont, and he's been telling me about all the changes the USGA is insisting on for next month, and that's just the kitchen.

I mean, there are probably a ton of golfers just on this forum who belong at a club for so many good golf oriented reasons (eg, competitions, conditions, fast play, avoiding jackasses like I ran into on the course yesterday playing in a fivesome, etc).  But most of the members at a course like Oakmont (speaking from experience and intuition) love nothing more than to tell somebody they meet as soon as they can that they belong to Oakmont.  Or that they are friends with the County Commissioner.  Or that they own a condo in Aspen.  On and on.  

If the members of Muirfield don't care, more power to them.  I think "no women" as a hard rule is awful, as I think the members should decide for themselves.  But if they want to give the R&A a big high hard middle finger and forego hosting the Open Championship, I think as a member, I'd personally be pleased.  

Edited by Aguirre

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Bottom line is Muirfield can do what it wants. But the "OPEN" Championship is just that, open. The R&A feels a responsibility to be inclusive, to grow golf, and to attract golf fans. Murfield may be nice, but I am sure there are other great venues in the birthplace of golf that would love to have the chance to host an open. I'm also quite sure that they would make changes to the course, clubhouse and kitchen to get that honor.

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6 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Bottom line is Muirfield can do what it wants. But the "OPEN" Championship is just that, open. The R&A feels a responsibility to be inclusive, to grow golf, and to attract golf fans. Murfield may be nice, but I am sure there are other great venues in the birthplace of golf that would love to have the chance to host an open. I'm also quite sure that they would make changes to the course, clubhouse and kitchen to get that honor.

I support Muirfields right to exclude women from their private club.  I also support the R&A's decision to exclude Muirfield from The Open rotation.  

If I was a member of Muirfield I'd be proud I belonged to a club that didn't succumb to bullying from the R&A and protected the interests of its members.  If any members of Muirfield are offended by the outcome of the vote I'm sure they have the option to quit and join other clubs that better align with their views.  

That's how private clubs work, you have membership rules and you have to accept the benefits and consequences of those rules.  

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13 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

I support Muirfields right to exclude women from their private club.  I also support the R&A's decision to exclude Muirfield from The Open rotation.  

If I was a member of Muirfield I'd be proud I belonged to a club that didn't succumb to bullying from the R&A and protected the interests of its members.  If any members of Muirfield are offended by the outcome of the vote I'm sure they have the option to quit and join other clubs that better align with their views.  

That's how private clubs work, you have membership rules and you have to accept the benefits and consequences of those rules.  

It may be worth reminding people that every single member opted to join the club knowing that it was a male only club too...

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12 minutes ago, David in FL said:

It may be worth reminding people that every single member opted to join the club knowing that it was a male only club too...

The vote wasn't unanimous though. In fact, it almost passed.

Quote

Of the 648 eligible voters, 616 cast ballots, with 64 percent in favor of admitting women. The resolution fell short of the two-thirds majority required to pass.

 

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I support Muirfield's right to make an asinine decision (though the majority chose otherwise).  I've got libertarian leanings.

I wouldn't be a member of any men's only club.

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2 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

The vote wasn't unanimous though. In fact, it almost passed.

 

Not my point.  Regardless of their vote, which may or may not have been in influenced by the possibility of losing The Open, it seems safe to say that none of the members has any objection to the concept of a gender specific club.

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