Muirfield Golf Club, the home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which has been in existence since 1744, has played a major role in the history of the game.
It has hosted the British Open 16 times and participated in the original formation of the rules as we know them today and lead the way in continuing the famous links style of course design.
However, the membership recently voted on the subject of allowing women to be accepted into the membership and the vote failed.
It not only failed numerically, it failed society.
In my opinion, women aren’t some entity that even deserves to be voted on. They are human beings who have equal rights in every conceivable manner when discussing the human race.
The Muirfield vote is being criticized around the world as being uncivilized, outdated and backward. Some of the claims are that in the year 2016, we should know better, the vote is discriminatory and any club is better off with women included.
Let’s not paint the whole club with the same brush.
Muirfield requires that any change requires a two-thirds majority and the recent decision saw 64 per cent of the members who cast ballots vote for change.
What is loud and clear is that a minority, or 36 per cent, controls the perception that is now held by the rest of the world. This is the proverbial tail wagging the dog.
Where else could the ignorance of a minority of oblivious, arrogant men send a more damning message to non-golfers around the world?
Golf is already thought of as being elitist, discriminatory, difficult to play, time consuming, expensive and rigid, so millions of people who play golf are represented by the results of this vote.
Thousands of volunteers who spend hundreds of hours trying to grow” the game and help diminish the very attitude that golf isn’t for everyone have been tarred and feathered, stained by the beliefs of a small number of totally irresponsible, self-serving people.
Apparently, a letter written to the membership states:
“We are not an ordinary club. Our special nature; ‘a gentleman’s club where golf is played’ – is quite unique with its fraternity built inter alia on foursomes play with a round taking only the same time as lunch and leaving enough time for a further round after lunch (even in mid winter). This is one of the miracles in modern day play and is much admired. Our foursomes and speedy play would be endangered.”
In the first place, golf is not a race.
It is an opportunity to enjoy an atmosphere of friendship in a sporting environment. Nobody takes pleasure from slow play, but to accuse all women of being guilty of the cause is nonsensical.
Perhaps some women do take more strokes than some men, but some men take a lot of swings too.
As a general assessment, I would bet the average round of golf played by all women is faster than the average round of golf played by all men.
Factions within either sex will be faster and some slower than others, but to simply ban one over the other based on non-statistical ideals is archaic and wrong.
At least the R&A made the right choice when they banned Muirfield from hosting the Open Championship. Leave them alone to play with themselves. Maybe their wives, girl friends, daughters and mothers should ban the objectors from all family activities simply because they are men.