Feb 12, 2013

Augusta Admits Female Members but Sexism Struggle Continues Elsewhere

photo: brettchisum via photopin cc
Believe it or not, many golf fans I've spoken to recently are already well into waiting-for-the-Masters mode.  

It may seem premature to be fixated on an event that's still two months away, but when it comes to the Masters, that's generally the way it goes; the longing will germinate in the depths of February and develop rapidly from there; events leading up to it just make the feeling stronger... like water, warmth and oxygen on an nascent seedling.  By the end of March thousands of azaleas and dogwoods will begin to flower and the lilting acoustic strains of Augusta will find their way to the top of playlists.  Some strange people will be craving the tangy taste of pimento cheese.

This year, in the minds of many fans, anticipation will no doubt be accompanied by a sense of relief.   Relief that the uncomfortable issue of sexism at Augusta National has finally been addressed with the inclusion of two female members... the first since the club opened its doors in 1932.  Though largely symbolic, this makes it unlikely the sexism debate will rage in Augusta this coming April with the same fervor we've seen in past years.

@ Golf Girl Media
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, there's Limuru Country Club, a lush green bastion of wealth and privilege, nestled among the tea plantations of Kenya.  The exclusive private club... with its stunning views, exotic flora and immaculate greens... is home to its own burgeoning sexism squabble.

The trouble seems to have started when three female members of Limuru Country Club arrived at a  meeting to find that the directors had made amendments to the club’s regulations that barred women members from voting for officers, thus making the women "members of unequal stature".  The controversial anti-women clause reads as follows: 

"The golf committee brings [sic] a male-only affair, only full male members with valid handicaps and who are fully paid up, will be allowed to participate in the meeting and that lady golfers will attend the meeting as guests." 
Now both sides have lawyered up, the press is taking notice and golf again finds itself at the center of a gender equality debate.   One can only hope the powers-that-be at Limuru will be more open to a quick solution than their peers at Augusta National were.  If not, this debate may go on for decades.  I suspect Kenya's press will provide updates to this story as they occur. Meanwhile, this video... made some years ago apparently by a visiting tourist or expat... offers a rare glimpse into the cloistered world of Limuru Country Club.

Check the following publications for additional details and possible updates:
Daily Nation
Standard Digital News
The Star