Muirfield SHOULD lose Open status if it rejects female members

Muirfield has hosted the Open Championship on 16 occasions [Image: Popperfoto/Getty Images].

Muirfield has hosted the Open Championship on 16 occasions [Image: Popperfoto/Getty Images].

Some might think too much of a fuss is being made about some stuffy old golf club where the male members are so backward they won’t consider accepting women.

Silly, silly people.

Sexism of this kind is unacceptable anywhere. The men of Muirfield have no grounds for refusing women other than their gender and that is unconscionable in this day and age.

This Writer also finds it ironic that a club which is closed to more than half the population is concerned about retaining its ‘Open’ status. What a contradiction in terms.

The fossilised attitude of this club is exemplified by the comments of golfer Peter Alliss, who seems to think it is perfectly acceptable to tell women that, if they want to play at the club, they should marry a member.

He went on to say that single women would have to save up for many years, for the privilege of playing 20 games a year after becoming a member.

How insulting. Doesn’t he know there are many women who have managed to earn enough wealth, independently of men, to buy membership in a crummy provincial golf club out of the loose change in their back pocket?

This attitude, like the members who put it forward, belongs in the 19th century when Muirfield was formed.

If these men won’t change, then perhaps the club should be consigned to history, and a better use found for the land.

Perhaps it could be turned into a wind farm.

Muirfield is in danger of losing its Open status with members close to blocking the admission of women. An announcement on that vote could arrive as early as Thursday.

Muirfield, as controlled by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, has presided over an historically male-only membership policy. That bias has come into intense focus around recent Opens, most recently in 2013 when the R&A, which controls the third major of the year, was vehemently criticised for utilising the East Lothian venue.

Since 1892, 16 Opens have been held at Muirfield. Should current membership rules be endorsed by a 2016 vote, two-thirds is needed to allow female members, scope for a 17th in the near future would be removed. A consultation exercise with members opened after the events of three years ago, but it was never a given that Muirfield’s policy would change. It has now emerged that a group of 30 members, fronting a “no” campaign against the admission of women, has had a strong influence. In their letter to them, as obtained by The Scotsman, they state:

“Change must come slowly and for choice should be evolutionary. A traditional resistance to change is one of the foundations of our unique position in golf and our reputation.

“It is recommended that members vote against the resolution to change our rules to include the admission of lady members.”

Source: Muirfield set to lose Open status if it rejects female membership | Sport | The Guardian


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7 thoughts on “Muirfield SHOULD lose Open status if it rejects female members

  1. Dez

    Quite a few of the older golf clubs have masonic roots that have very strong influence on blinkered traditional policies and rules etc. Bless.

  2. hayfords

    I listened to Peter Alliss, the ex golfer and commentator, on LBC this morning. He knows the course very well and the members. It seems that the majority of members are more than happy to lose the Open as it causes more than a year’s disruption every time they have had it. The members’ attitude is that women can play there but not be members. Even the women who were spoken to on some of the news programs last night were happy with the situation. The membership fees are probably around £8,000 and most married members prefer to join with one membership and their wives play as guests. Te alternative would be £16,000 for many of them.

    I do agree that it is a bit archaic to have men only clubs and I would vote to let women in, but that is what they want. There are analogous situations of women’s only clubs such as gyms.

  3. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    I would have thought that, in this day and age, banning women is a form of social and sexual discrimination which surely is not legal. Are they all women haters do you think and have none of them wives or girl-friends?

  4. Joan Edington

    I totally agree that Muirfield should not host the Open as long as this membership restriction applies. However, it is a private club and, much as I don’t ike segregated clubs like this, they can decide who can be members. I believe there are actually more women-only golf clubs in Scotland than men-only. Personally, I would not want to be a member of a club run by men like these or pay £8,000 for the “privilege”. When I used to play golf a bit, admittedly nearly 30 years ago, I was happy to fork out my £2.50 (then) for a round on the local public courses.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You make a very good point.
      But should a club even exist there if it is going to run sexist, discriminatory policies?

  5. Kenneth Billis

    “Perhaps it could be turned into a wind farm.”

    Personally, I think far too much countryside has been ruined by being turned into golf courses. A wind farm at least has the virtue of doing something useful.

    1. Joan Edington

      I agree Kenneth. After Trump destroying some of the beautiful dunes north of Aberdeen, I have enjoyed his failed attempts (so far) to stop a windfarm in the sea just off his course.

Comments are closed.