It takes a lot of balls …
Try Googling ‘the problem with golf’ and you’ll find any number of serious articles discussing a sport that “is dying on its feet”. (Of course that is not what you hear when developers want to destroy protected conservation areas!)
The cost of playing, the foosty attitudes of the clubhouse golf bores, the dress codes, and its social elitism are all seen as reasons why young people are not driven to take up the game, but rarely, it seems, are attitudes as primordial as those of the leading golf clubs’ approach to women’s membership.
Not that things don’t change (albeit with little grace) …
The day before the result of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was announced, the result of a different vote saw women finally being allowed membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews; the so-called ‘home of golf’.
This was encouraging and it followed a period of asinine behaviour on behalf of its members when they had earlier denied honorary membership to the first woman vice-chancellor of St Andrews University; an accolade given previously to (male) vice-chancellors.
But let’s not forget that before the vote, the exclusion of women as members had given the club’s officers cause for concern, as sponsors of tournaments elsewhere had withdrawn from competitions held on the courses run by men-only clubs. So the R&A’s recognition of women’s membership was not entirely altruistic and the very same could be said of this week’s decision of the 238 year old Royal Aberdeen Golf Club finally to allow women to join as members.
That’s right! The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club has decided to join the 21st century and admit women members (only 100 years after women in the UK won the right to vote!); it also gives me an opportunity to revisit a limerick-of-old that has yet to be published in ALAW.
This one was originally penned after the St Andrews vote and pondered upon the thoughts of members that had for so long voted to continue with the exclusion of women. It can now be co-dedicated to their confrères in the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club!
His small world would soon fall apart
Cos they’d voted to have a new start
And to let women join
Was a knee in the groin
For that puce-faced, sclerotic old fart!