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

6 comments:

  1. Pimento cheese is delicious and I'm dying for warm weather and golf. The TPC Scottsdale and this past week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am were tasty appetizers.

    Sadly, sexism, and all other types of prejudice will be perpetually battled regardless of how many positive steps society seems to make. I applaud Augusta for getting on board (not going to make any argument that they set the tone or pioneered this change) and hope that other courses learn to follow suit.

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  2. I know the argument can be made that a private club can admit (or reject) anyone they want, but this kind of thing can't be good for the sport. I hope the ladies win this.

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  3. Butler National Golf Club in suburban Chicago recently voted to continue to keep women out - wrong on so many levels.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-19/sports/ct-spt-1120-butler-golf--20121120_1_private-clubs-shoal-creek-controversy-host-events

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  4. Goodness....I wish people would just figure it out and let girls play if they want!! There are so many teams, golf websites, clubs, etc. that are like this. Bleh. I don't like it.

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  5. the "changes" at augusta are purely cosmetic and actually gives them a chance to spend some money on the place (...LOL...by maybe hanging some new wallpaper)

    with MORE women on the grounds, the mistresses who run around there won't look so out of place now

    the whole exclusionary thing is so dull and boring these days i really don't care anymore = sorry ladies but count me out of that parade

    meanwhile getting back to GOLF, it is time to once again talk about a MASTERs BALL, designed dimples OUT, to prevent 400 plus yard drives, and save the olde course from irrelevance as a true test of golf skill rather than muscle (or advanced technology and exotic metallurgy)

    that would get real attention related to the game itself = and drown away all these side issues, important in society YES, but none-the-less meaningless in the game of GOLF

    (it might also bring back in some very olde and dear pre-1946 open courses, prestwick and musselburgh, if a dialed-back distance-restricted ball were used at those courses)

    of course traditionalists would scream BUT does anyone really think scores during the gutty period are comparable to todays scores at these championships ?

    at the MASTERs the cut-off would be instantaneous and if irreversed a whole NEW BALL GAME indeed (pun intended)

    otherwise good luck to the TWO new lady members and may MANY more be invited soon !


    frankDftliquordalesoFLA33316

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  6. ......and please don't take my INdifference as cavalier about women membership (since i know women could be invited to PLAY the course so that never was "exclusionary" ....and why would anyone, women especially, want to "belong" to a place that didn't want them around otherwise ?)

    i will never ever be invited to be a member there so i guess i always was on the side of the excluded, women blacks and frankD, right ?

    not that i'm insensitive......maybe i'm just jealous ?

    i just never though those olde rich geezers would ever give in


    frankDftliquordaleso"NOSNOW"FLA33316

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