The Hacker: Small but perfectly formed in Surrey

When many of our golf clubs were being founded 100 years or so ago it was, not surprisingly, men who led the way. They had the wherewithal to acquire the ground, hire pros to design the courses, build clubhouses and organise matters.

But it wasn't long before women began taking interest. Never content to see men enjoy themselves, they wanted to join in. Some men refused point-blank, but most of the newly formed clubs weakened and allowed the ladies to form their own section as long as they played when the men were at work and didn't interfere. These conditions still apply at many clubs.

So were sown the seeds of the conflict between the golfing sexes that still simmers and occasionally erupts. Sadly, because I number several lady golfers among my very good friends, I have been drawn into this controversy a few times, and my traditionalist views have led me to side with the male dinosaur faction.

At many clubs, women don't have a vote - I belong to two - and there are still men-only bars in some clubhouses. As a matter of fact, I shall be going to one as soon as I finish writing this.

This does not mean I am unsympathetic. In one of the many articles I have written on the subject, I laid the fault for this enduring schism on our founders. Had they insisted at the start that the ladies went off and formed their own clubs, we would have many more golf courses and far less friction between us.

In 1902, Edward Villiers had the same idea. A member at Sunningdale, still one of our more exclusive clubs, Edward was being pestered by his wife and her friends to be allowed to play.

His answer was to buy them a large plot of land a few hundred yards away and suggest that they start their own club. This they did, and the Sunningdale Ladies Golf Club is still going strong 105 years later - although not as strongly as they would like.

They are looking for more members. Unlike their male counterparts they do not curl a lip at the opposite sex, and men are welcome to join. Both sexes play from the same tees.

Their course is on the short side. Designed by the renowned Harry Colt, it measures less than 4,000 yards and has 11 par threes and seven par fours. People who have played it tell me it is a lovely track set in the superb terrain of that area. Peter Alliss says that it like looking through the wrong end of a telescope: everything is perfectly proportioned but smaller.

The Queen Mother used to be a patron, and Prince Andrew has played in their annual open competition, the Fleming Foursomes.

Perhaps it is the name that puts men off joining but, for the area, the fees seem reasonable. Although the joining fee of £1,500 is the same for both, the men pay an annual sub of £760 against the women's £620. There are much lower rates for juniors. There is no women-only bar; everyone drinks in the same place.

However, it is worth pointing out that although they pay a higher sub, men don't have voting rights. Given the game's history, we can hardly blame the ladies for that.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all