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Muirfield Out of Open Rota, Denies Women Membership

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1 minute ago, ScouseJohnny said:

In the absence of "not knowing," though, it is interesting to compare like with like. I grew up a stone's throw from Royal Liverpool (although I played the municipal course down the road from it)! Royal Liverpool appears to have been able to sympathetically renovate its clubhouse to accommodate modern golfers: http://www.royal-liverpool-golf.com/The+Clubhouse/ The structure is of a comparative age to Muirfield's clubhouse (late 19th century), so, apparently, the problem is not insurmountable.

So you've found one example that could be vastly different than the situation Muirfield has.

1 minute ago, ScouseJohnny said:

I have never seen anything like that in the UK, even at the few upscale clubs I have played (such as Leicestershire). I am thinking the gender-specific "grill room" is a feature unique to American country club golf.

Maybe. Doesn't mean they don't exist, or have reason to exist.

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8 minutes ago, ScouseJohnny said:

And I'm not sure if they're thumbing their noses at the dinosaurs at Muirfield, but it was interesting to see this highlighted addendum to their membership page at their website:

Source: http://www.royal-liverpool-golf.com/Membership/
 

Or, it could simply be that they aren't getting enough female members? Imagine putting all that work into renovating and adding space for female members only to not get enough to cover the costs. Typically when someplace advertises for members it's because they don't have enough.

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58 minutes ago, iacas said:

So you've found one example that could be vastly different than the situation Muirfield has.

 

I sought to compare one expensive, private, British golf club, which hosts the Open Championship, with another. It seemed a reasonable comparison.

Of course, it may be the case that Muirfield is absolutely unique, and hence no-one, at all, is able to critique the Muirfield situation other than the club's own members.

Which is a problem for them, in this day and age, because decisions that speak to unequal treatment of men and women will attract commentary from those outside the club's membership - loud and vociferous criticism - in this instance from such diverse quarters as a politician (Nicola Sturgeon) and a professional golfer (Rory McIlroy): http://www.skysports.com/golf/news/12176/10288342/rory-mcilroy-agrees-it-would-not-be-right-for-muirfield-to-host-open-championship and http://www.skysports.com/golf/news/12176/10288342/rory-mcilroy-agrees-it-would-not-be-right-for-muirfield-to-host-open-championship

The letter that was leaked suggests the membership weighed the odds - structuring their club as they saw fit vs the chance of losing the right to host the Open Championship. Whether the price of losing the Open was actually worth the right to preclude women from their membership is, actually, a judgment only they can make - something for their membership (uniquely) to ruminate on, in hindsight. For the rest of us living in the society of 2016, in liberal western democracies, having an important sporting event not take place at a venue that still appears to be conflicted as to the acceptability of women within its fabric, would seem to be an appropriate outcome.

Edited by ScouseJohnny

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13 minutes ago, ScouseJohnny said:

I sought to compare one expensive, private, British golf club, which hosts the Open Championship, with another. It seemed a reasonable comparison.

The fact remains: it's one example, and you weren't inside that club to know the particulars. So it's not even a good example.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

So you've found one example that could be vastly different than the situation Muirfield has.

Maybe. Doesn't mean they don't exist, or have reason to exist.

The clubs I belonged to no longer have separate grill rooms but they did.  They do have separate lounges, card rooms and golf days dedicated to each gender.  Seems even in progressive country clubs, men and women prefer to have their own space.  

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

The fact remains: it's one example, and you weren't inside that club to know the particulars. So it's not even a good example.

I await someone's eventual PhD dissertation on a comparison of factors identified in the structural and membership characteristics of all private golf clubs in the British Isles, currently (or recently) accorded the right to host the Open Championship by the R&A. In the interim, (speaking as one who has to do empirical, sociological research in order to earn a crust) I'd argue that comparing two entities with similar characteristics is not an invalid methodology, it's a limited methodology (which is not to say it's entirely without value...), but I suspect we may drifting off-topic here.

Edited by ScouseJohnny

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21 hours ago, iacas said:

If you occasionally expect four or five women to play your course, you can have a small locker room and a single restroom. This pales in comparison to the amenities needed - including perhaps a women's lounge and/or private grill room as many guys have - to expecting 20+ regular female players each wanting their own locker, plenty of restrooms, etc.

How many female members does Augusta have at this point?  Maybe four or five?  It seems unlikely they would all of a sudden have a huge surge in women on the property by simply changing their policy.

I guess my point is, these guys are millionaires and maybe billionaires, they could make it happen if they wanted to.  A lot of the possible reasons people are citing sound more like excuses.  They don't want to do it, fine, but that doesn't mean they are immune from criticism.  

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6 hours ago, newtogolf said:

The clubs I belonged to no longer have separate grill rooms but they did.  They do have separate lounges, card rooms and golf days dedicated to each gender.  Seems even in progressive country clubs, men and women prefer to have their own space.  

My club has no facilities dedicated exclusively to either gender, other than locker rooms and restrooms.  However, I've been to a few that do have separate grill rooms and/or lounges for men and women.  I've been told that more than one of them built a dedicated women's grill room because they needed to stop discriminating (for legal or tax reasons) and the men refused to give up their "sanctuary."  The only way to comply was to build a separate grill for women, to keep things "equal."  Seems silly to me, but we all make choices in life.

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2 hours ago, drmevo said:

How many female members does Augusta have at this point?  Maybe four or five?  It seems unlikely they would all of a sudden have a huge surge in women on the property by simply changing their policy.

Augusta is not Muirfield, either.

2 hours ago, drmevo said:

I guess my point is, these guys are millionaires and maybe billionaires, they could make it happen if they wanted to.  A lot of the possible reasons people are citing sound more like excuses.  They don't want to do it, fine, but that doesn't mean they are immune from criticism.  

At this point, right, they don't want to. And may have reasons even you would admit were legitimate.

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19 hours ago, iacas said:

At this point, right, they don't want to. And may have reasons even you would admit were legitimate.

Really? These are the reasons that were given in the statement issued by Muirfield:

Quote

The introduction of lady members is bound to create difficulties. Regardless of the conventions when they first join they are likely over time to question our foursome play, our match system, the uncompromising challenge our fine links present, our lunch arrangements. It will take a very special lady golfer to be able to do all the things that are expected of them in the template which is suggested and the ladies' membership as a whole may not meet this standard.

"It seems very strange to take a step to fundamentally change a strong institution with real risks to that strength in order to retain a 'one off' event that happens rarely. This is made even more strange when it is possible that the change may not work."

I posted this earlier in the thread. Mark Crossfield had somehow got a copy of it and posted it on Facebook. I copied it word for word. I really don't see anything legitimate in here.

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17 minutes ago, DrvFrShow said:

 

I posted this earlier in the thread. Mark Crossfield had somehow got a copy of it and posted it on Facebook. I copied it word for word. I really don't see anything legitimate in here.

It doesn't matter in the slightest if you or I "see anything legitimate" there.  It's a private club, of which neither of us are members.  It only matters whether the membership considers the arguments legitimate.

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

It doesn't matter in the slightest if you or I "see anything legitimate" there.  It's a private club, of which neither of us are members.  It only matters whether the membership considers the arguments legitimate.

Indeed.

And if I happened to be looking for a bunch of progressive, Guardian-reading, right-on lefties, chances are I wouldn't start my search in the hierarchy of the R&A. Hence, having arrived at their decision, the members at Muirfield can reflect on the fact that even the R&A makes its decisions based on the standards of mainstream British society of 2016. At Muirfield, apparently, it is perennially 1916, maybe even earlier.

Had the members of Muirfield been able to have their cake and eat it (i.e. restrict their membership to men only, and still hang on to the Open Championship), then that would, in my judgment, have been quite wrong. As it is, they get to live in their little time warp they chose for themselves, untroubled and ignored by the outside world, because the Open isn't coming back to their course.

Like I said before, with Muirfield removed from the Open roster there are other courses in the UK to take its place - St. Mellion springs to mind.
 

Quote

 

our lunch arrangements. It will take a very special lady golfer to be able to do all the things that are expected of them in the template which is suggested

 

Those lady golfers in Scotland apparently need lessons in how to eat lunch in a golf clubhouse. Maybe some chivalrous, gallant soul in Muirfield's membership can teach the ladies how to hold a fish knife, or whatever the problem may be...

Edited by ScouseJohnny

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18 minutes ago, ScouseJohnny said:

Indeed.

And if I happened to be looking for a bunch of progressive, Guardian-reading, right-on lefties, chances are I wouldn't start my search in the hierarchy of the R&A. Hence, having arrived at their decision, the members at Muirfield can reflect on the fact that even the R&A makes its decisions based on the standards of mainstream British society of 2016. At Muirfield, apparently, it is perennially 1916, maybe even earlier.

Had the members of Muirfield been able to have their cake and eat it (i.e. restrict their membership to men only, and still hang on to the Open Championship), then that would, in my judgment, have been quite wrong. As it is, they get to live in their little time warp they chose for themselves, untroubled and ignored by the outside world, because the Open isn't coming back to their course.

Like I said before, with Muirfield removed from the Open roster there are other courses in the UK to take its place - St. Mellion springs to mind.
 

Those lady golfers in Scotland apparently need lessons in how to eat lunch in a golf clubhouse. Maybe some chivalrous, gallant soul in Muirfield's membership can teach the ladies how to hold a fish knife, or whatever the problem may be...

Is your issue only with Muirfield or do you have a problem with women only golf clubs as well?    

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2 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

I posted this earlier in the thread. Mark Crossfield had somehow got a copy of it and posted it on Facebook. I copied it word for word. I really don't see anything legitimate in here.

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)

1 hour ago, David in FL said:

It doesn't matter in the slightest if you or I "see anything legitimate" there.  It's a private club, of which neither of us are members.  It only matters whether the membership considers the arguments legitimate.

This is incorrect.  If you read back to what she was responding, it was a post from Erik that said:

22 hours ago, iacas said:

And may have reasons even you would admit were legitimate.

So in that context, it is about whether or not she would find the reasons legitimate. :beer:

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20 minutes ago, newtogolf said:

Is your issue only with Muirfield or do you have a problem with women only golf clubs as well?    

Most discussions I see people tend to excuse women only clubs of all sorts because of "years of oppression" even though these days those clubs are set up for the same reason as men only clubs to have an environment free of the opposite gender/sex.

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2 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

I posted this earlier in the thread. Mark Crossfield had somehow got a copy of it and posted it on Facebook. I copied it word for word. I really don't see anything legitimate in here.

Okay.

I may or may not, but they clearly have their reasons. You (or I) might think they're stupid reasons, but they have 'em. And they may not have listed all of them.

18 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

So in that context, it is about whether or not she would find the reasons legitimate. :beer:

Not quite correct, @Golfingdad. I didn't say that to @DrvFrShow. ;-)

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22 minutes ago, Jeremie Boop said:

Most discussions I see people tend to excuse women only clubs of all sorts because of "years of oppression" even though these days those clubs are set up for the same reason as men only clubs to have an environment free of the opposite gender/sex.

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.

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