A major Scottish golf club is close to allowing women to become members. But the move has some surprising opponents: women.
According to the Guardian, the leadership of the St. Andrews Golf Club is concerned that its policy of allowing only men to become full members could run afoul of new equality laws. Its trustees say allowing women to join would be "the best way, in their opinion, of safeguarding the long-term wellbeing of St Andrews Golf Club." The Scottish Women's Convention applauds the plan, saying it might even influence the all-male Royal & Ancient golf club, which determines the rules of golf, to allow women. But some ladies are less excited — namely, those in charge of women-only clubs. Says Shona Malcolm, CEO of the Ladies Golf Union,
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.
Unless, of course, women want choose to join St. Andrews, in which case they are currently out of luck. It's no shock that women's clubs are afraid of losing market share if men's club go coed, but it's still a bit of a shame. Gender in golf is a big issue here as well as in the UK — the Augusta National Golf Club famously bars women. And while the LPGA recently moved to allow trans golfers to compete, there's no indication that Augusta has any plans to admit women (whether a trans woman could join is an interesting question). But if major Scottish clubs start changing their rules, maybe Augusta will see the error of its ways. And then maybe female golfers in the US and UK will have some actual choices.