On September 18, 2014, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews opened its doors to female members for the first time in its 260 year history.
For many worldwide, The Old Course at St Andrews is considered the “home” of golf as it sets the rules for the game around the world, apart from the United States and Mexico.
Out of the R&A’s 2,400 members, 85 per cent voted in favour of the change. This was certainly a historic day in the future and development of ladies golf and a much needed transformation.
In my opinion, a NO vote would have been a commercial and PR disaster, not only for The R&A but for golf as a whole.
It seems madness in this day and age that prior to this vote as a female, you could have played the course, but would not have been able to go into the clubhouse after your round for a drink.
It was therefore only appropriate for the governing body to make this change. They should not be seen to be sexist or discriminatory.
Golf for many years has been perceived as an elitist and male dominated sport where girls and women on the whole felt excluded.
Back in the day, when I was a junior golfer and playing in some of the biggest amateur tournaments, there were some clubs which didn’t even allow ladies into certain sections of the clubhouse.
However, since that time society and golf has changed for the better. Golf is now seen to be much more affordable with fewer sexist barriers to overcome, therefore attracting a greater number of ladies.
Out of 3,000 courses in the Uk only one per cent have single sex membership policies, half of those being women only clubs. I am not in favour of any golf club that has discriminatory policies.
A club that does not allow women, is just as contemptible as a club that does not allow men.
Allowing lady members into The R&A is a huge step forward and can only be a positive thing, ultimately encouraging more ladies to take up the wonderful game.