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Muirfield Out of Open Rota, Denies Women Membership

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Just now, David in FL said:

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.

But the majority also did not have an objection to a mixed club either. Maybe it's the course and facilities that drew them in and not the male only criteria. Maybe a percentage of them joined because it hosted the Open Championship. Maybe male only was 10th on their list of what they wanted in a club. We don't know. We would have to ask them individually.

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1 hour ago, boogielicious said:

But the majority also did not have an objection to a mixed club either. Maybe it's the course and facilities that drew them in and not the male only criteria. Maybe a percentage of them joined because it hosted the Open Championship. Maybe male only was 10th on their list of what they wanted in a club. We don't know. We would have to ask them individually.

True.

I think @David in FL's point was that they were not against a "male only" club.

It certainly may not have been what attracted them, but if they were dead set against that sort of thing, they probably would not have joined.

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Club Secretary Stewart McEwen called the recent vote "a blow to the club, the local community and Scotland." My guess is that the membership at Muirfield joined because of 1) the course's history; 2) the people who are members. I would estimate the cost of membership to about the equivalent of $30,000/yr - source pulling a number out of thin air and using estimates from Augusta National as a baseline. There is no symbol font so I couldn't use British Pound - it would be about 20,000.

But it wasn't that long ago when this situation reared its ugly head based upon race in Alabama at the PGA Championship in 1990.

img?id=20047891&width=557&height=351&cro

This was even with unwritten rules about not accepting black members. They just didn't allow any. When this news broke, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference threatened to protest the event and sponsors pulled advertising from the event. The PGA considered moving the tournament away from Shoal Creek, but in the end reached a compromise with the club: local insurance executive Louis J. Willie was invited by the mayor of Birmingham to become an honorary member with full membership to come after the waiting-list period of any membership application.  Willie was also the first black member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, The Downtown Club and The Club, all civic and social clubs.

This incident forced everyone associated with golf — clubs, the PGA, and the USGA — to look at minority access in the sport. The PGA and USGA changed rules regarding course selection, requiring clubs that hosted events to meet inclusive membership requirements.

Following this decision in 1990, Augusta National invited and accepted its first African-American member, Ron Townsend. I wonder why.

Note that the same "the country club is our home and we pick and choose who we want" argument was used here. They allowed black members and the sky didn't fall. I'm sure some members thought it would.

The bottom line is that discrimination is ugly.

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Also after that 1990 PGA Championship controversy, the PGA Tour moved the Pebble Beach Pro-Am from Cypress Point (no black members) and the Western Open from Butler National (no women members). Cypress Point now has black members, but the course is too small for modern professional golf; Butler National still refuses to admit women members, so they are still blacklisted even though the course is a worthy challenge.

Shoal Creek eventually integrated its membership; as a result, it hosted the Tradition, a major on the Champions Tour, for many years prior to 2016.

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There will always be a price to pay for bucking the trend and making unpopular choices.  I'm sure Muirfield members will have another shot at voting on the allowing women so they can get back into The Open rotation.  If Muirfield eventually allows women it will be seen as a victory for the PC fanatics but the reality will be that the policy change is likely due to the memberships desire to get back in the rotation.  I guess you take your victories however you can get them.  

The initiation fees must be really high at Muirfield because a $30,000 annual membership fee is pretty reasonable for all the "exclusivity" and perks some feel the women are missing out on.  The club I belonged to last year was $25,000 per year and we weren't hosting PGA Tour Tournaments nor did we have the ultra elite of NY.  

 

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5 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

There will always be a price to pay for bucking the trend and making unpopular choices.  I'm sure Muirfield members will have another shot at voting on the allowing women so they can get back into The Open rotation.  If Muirfield eventually allows women it will be seen as a victory for the PC fanatics but the reality will be that the policy change is likely due to the memberships desire to get back in the rotation.  I guess you take your victories however you can get them.  

The initiation fees must be really high at Muirfield because a $30,000 annual membership fee is pretty reasonable for all the "exclusivity" and perks some feel the women are missing out on.  The club I belonged to last year was $25,000 per year and we weren't hosting PGA Tour Tournaments nor did we have the ultra elite of NY.  

 

Funny thing is, IMO, it would be a big hassle and mess to have a championship tournament of that caliber at my home course.  The damage from the crowds and structures would take some time to heal.  If I was a member, I'd vote for the women and against the Open. :-P

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3 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

Funny thing is, IMO, it would be a big hassle and mess to have a championship tournament of that caliber at my home course.  The damage from the crowds and structures would take some time to heal.  If I was a member, I'd vote for the women and against the Open. :-P

Good point, I didn't think of that.  Last year they held a US Open qualifier at our home course and that alone left the course in pretty rough shape.  I can't imagine what a full blown tournament would do to it.  

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23 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

Good point, I didn't think of that.  Last year they held a US Open qualifier at our home course and that alone left the course in pretty rough shape.  I can't imagine what a full blown tournament would do to it.  

And here's something I just read about Oakmont that is of a similar vein:

Quote

Bevard noted that in general, for up to two years in advance of an Open, “the frequency of aeration and topdressing is dramatically increased” as a means of ensuring firm and fast conditions.

Then there’s this, regarding Oakmont’s renowned greens that prompted Edward S. Stimpson Sr. to devise the Stimpmeter:

“In the last two growing seasons, the putting greens at Oakmont Country Club have been double drilled-and-filled four times, core aerated five times, deep verticut five times and deep-tine aerated four times,” Bevard wrote. “The aeration programs implemented at Oakmont Country Club are very aggressive and represent a significant disruption to playability that most golfers would not tolerate.”

And while this type of thing might very well be exclusive to just the US Open, it's the kind of hassle I could do without.  (You know, in the fantasy world of me belonging to an ultra-exclusive country club. ;))

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11 hours ago, newtogolf said:

There will always be a price to pay for bucking the trend and making unpopular choices.  I'm sure Muirfield members will have another shot at voting on the allowing women so they can get back into The Open rotation.  If Muirfield eventually allows women it will be seen as a victory for the PC fanatics but the reality will be that the policy change is likely due to the memberships desire to get back in the rotation.  I guess you take your victories however you can get them.  

The initiation fees must be really high at Muirfield because a $30,000 annual membership fee is pretty reasonable for all the "exclusivity" and perks some feel the women are missing out on.  The club I belonged to last year was $25,000 per year and we weren't hosting PGA Tour Tournaments nor did we have the ultra elite of NY.  

 

 

11 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

Funny thing is, IMO, it would be a big hassle and mess to have a championship tournament of that caliber at my home course.  The damage from the crowds and structures would take some time to heal.  If I was a member, I'd vote for the women and against the Open. :-P

Good points from both of you.

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Which makes what Augusta does every year even more remarkable! What many don't know (except for folks here maybe), is that Augusta is closed to play immediately after the Masters, and remains that way through the Summer so that the crew can repair the damage to the course, and make changes to it. I think it re-opens for play about Labor Day.

Speaking of Augusta, think back when Martha Burke was having her "look at me" moment down there. Did Masters viewership suffer? I don't think so. I read an article by a columnist who was invited by a member to play there before the membership rules were changed. He said that there were women everywhere! They were in the bar, the lounges, the restaurant, and on the course. It was hardly a sterile, men only atmosphere. They were guests, but apparently very welcome guests!

I'm sure these issues come up regularly before the boards of any private clubs. But, if their by-laws call for a vote of a certain percentage of the membership, then that's what it is! 

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29 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

Which makes what Augusta does every year even more remarkable! What many don't know (except for folks here maybe), is that Augusta is closed to play immediately after the Masters, and remains that way through the Summer so that the crew can repair the damage to the course, and make changes to it. I think it re-opens for play about Labor Day.

Speaking of Augusta, think back when Martha Burke was having her "look at me" moment down there. Did Masters viewership suffer? I don't think so. I read an article by a columnist who was invited by a member to play there before the membership rules were changed. He said that there were women everywhere! They were in the bar, the lounges, the restaurant, and on the course. It was hardly a sterile, men only atmosphere. They were guests, but apparently very welcome guests!

I'm sure these issues come up regularly before the boards of any private clubs. But, if their by-laws call for a vote of a certain percentage of the membership, then that's what it is! 

I'd think it takes some time to break down everything and get it stored, plus I believe the weather also factors into their closing of the course.  I'm not sure how many members would play in 95*+ temps.  

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On 5/25/2016 at 1:22 PM, Chilli Dipper said:

Also after that 1990 PGA Championship controversy, the PGA Tour moved the Pebble Beach Pro-Am from Cypress Point (no black members) and the Western Open from Butler National (no women members). Cypress Point now has black members, but the course is too small for modern professional golf; Butler National still refuses to admit women members, so they are still blacklisted even though the course is a worthy challenge.

Shoal Creek eventually integrated its membership; as a result, it hosted the Tradition, a major on the Champions Tour, for many years prior to 2016.

I was under the impression that Cypress Point had been removed from the "Crosby Clambake" simply because the membership at that course didn't like the idea of the general public trampling on their hallowed turf.  Part of that reasoning might be based simply upon the notion of exclusivity and status; on the other hand, the environment around the course is somewhat fragile and having thousands of golf fans moving around that delicate seaside plant life and sand dunes would not be good for it.

You can't tell me that most of the pros who play in the AT&T ProAm don't try and pull whatever strings they have at their disposal to play a round at Cypress during the weekend or weekdays before the AT&T event given the spectacular design and the chance to play a relatively well-preserved MacKenzie design.

So even now that Cypress Point has female members I don't believe we can expect that we will ever see it on the AT&T course rota again.

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Troon have decided to take the same vote on July 1st before the Open.

I hope they vote the same as Muirfield just to piss off the R&A.............can't see it somehow.

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Change of heart?

http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2016/6/27/they-want-to-vote-again-just-the-muirfield-members.html

Quote

“A substantial majority of our members voted for change and many have voiced their disappointment with the ballot result and with subsequent events,” said club captain Henry Fairweather.

“The Club Committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favour of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the Club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome”.

 

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6 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Oh lordy... they had a clear and decisive vote that kept women out, got bad press for it, and now they want to vote again this time for the result that will not get people hating them so much?

I don't normally go in for conspiracies, but I have to believe that they know already that the vote (if they do it again) will go the other way.

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10 minutes ago, krupa said:

Oh lordy... they had a clear and decisive vote that kept women out, got bad press for it, and now they want to vote again this time for the result that will not get people hating them so much?

I don't normally go in for conspiracies, but I have to believe that they know already that the vote (if they do it again) will go the other way.

The original vote was only decided by a handful of votes. My guess is a few of the original NO voters succumbed to the massive media pressure and have switched. Now they know it will pass. Too bad the world can't just leave a private club alone to do what it wants. 

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1 minute ago, Braivo said:

The original vote was only decided by a handful of votes. My guess is a few of the original NO voters succumbed to the massive media pressure and have switched. Now they know it will pass. Too bad the world can't just leave a private club alone to do what it wants. 

Or... Too bad Muirfield members are too weak to stand up to public opinion.  

No one is forcing them to re-vote.  They had their vote and it ended with an unpopular result.  They have the right to stick with that result just like the rest of the world has the right to express their opinion on it.  

Has anything actually happened since the original media shit-show?  Is anyone picketing the club or anything?  In true 2016, short news-cycle style, I had mostly forgotten about this story.

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9 minutes ago, krupa said:

Or... Too bad Muirfield members are too weak to stand up to public opinion.  

No one is forcing them to re-vote.  They had their vote and it ended with an unpopular result.  They have the right to stick with that result just like the rest of the world has the right to express their opinion on it.  

Has anything actually happened since the original media shit-show?  Is anyone picketing the club or anything?  In true 2016, short news-cycle style, I had mostly forgotten about this story.

Or perhaps they decided they want the Open Championship after all. 

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