Friday, May 6, 2011

St. Andrews Golf Club May Soon Admit Women Members

The St. Andrews (Scotland) Golf Club, founded in 1843 is on its way to admitting women members, according to a story in the Guardian.

I'm a member of the club.

According to the piece, "The committee at the St Andrews Golf Club, which is run from a handsome Victorian mansion overlooking the greens and fairways of the fabled Old Course, has written to its 2,000 male members recommending that it admit women to the club. The club, founded in 1843, has warned its members that under the new Equality Act, the club could face prosecution for failing to allow women to join. Keeping the ban would be a 'retrograde step' as it would mean women would also have to be barred from its clubhouse as guests."

Not everyone approves of the move, including one prominent women's organization, according to the article.

"Shona Malcolm, chief executive officer of the Ladies Golf Union, which has 3,000 affiliated women-only clubs, said: 'We have absolutely no problem with single-gender clubs at all. We're very supportive of single-gender clubs: what it does is allow golfers the freedom to choose what kind of club they want to join.'"

The courses of St. Andrews are, in fact, all municipal layouts owned and run by the town. There are a number of clubs that have rights to play on the eight layouts, including the Old Course. The most famous of the organizations is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club whose headquarters are located behind the first tee of the Old Course.

The St. Andrews Golf Club clubhouse is almost directly to the right of the 18th green. Invariably, during any tournament played on the Old, whether it be the Open Championship or the Dunhill Links, there is a shot of St. Andrews Golf Club members watching the action from in front of the clubhouse or leaning out open windows on the second and third floors.

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