The Hacker: Women get equal rights but they will never get my vote

My colleague Sue Montgomery wrote in this space last Sunday about overhearing a group of male golfers at her club complain about the course being cluttered up by "bloody hackers and women".

She was greatly offended by this and I was, too. I don't like being bracketed with women.

But that's golf for you; it may well be the greatest of games but it is not always populated by the most gracious of people.

It is a paradox that a game that demands honesty, strict etiquette and politeness should harbour dark discriminatory thoughts.

As in life, some golfers are far more comfortable in the company of their own ilk. At one time, this restricted membership at many clubs to those possessing the right background, colour and religion.

There are still places where such requirements remain in force but, thankfully, most clubs no longer operate in that way.

In a couple of weeks the last bastion of discrimination will fall when the Equality Act becomes law and women will have the same rights as men in golf clubs.

They already enjoy that status at most clubs but at the two I belong to they haven't had the vote since they began 120 years ago.

They were both formed by men and when the ladies asked to join they were allowed to on condition they didn't become full members and played on weekdays when the men were at work (these were Victorian times remember).

Had those men had the vision to tell them to go away and form their own clubs we'd have far more golf clubs and far fewer arguments.

Attempts to change the rules and allow our ladies the vote have failed and I confess that I have been at the forefront of the opposition. I am an unashamed traditionalist and argue fervently against any change in the way we run the club.

It is unthinkable that if you were forming a golf club today there would be any difference between the sexes. Indeed, I believe that we'll soon end up playing the same game and that one day a woman will win The Open but that's another argument.

But altering a system which is so deeply imbedded in a club's culture carries a danger and my concern is for the future.

Ironically, the first victims of the new law will be the women who happily accepted the old regime. Equality means paying the same subscription as men and at one club that means almost £200 and at the other £800.

There is a fear that we will lose members as a result. The new law also means that no longer can reductions be made for older members although that has been delayed until 2012.

The biggest change will be at The Glamorganshire on Saturdays, most of which are taken up by men's competitions almost all of which are oversubscribed and many are unable to get a game.

This congestion isn't going to be eased with the women, understandably, now claiming spaces to play on Saturday.

But, for me, the most devastating blow will be the loss of two of the finest "Men Only" bars in the world. At The Glamorganshire the men's bar reeks with history, and many other smells, and, for 80 years, has been the watering hole of The Barbarians on their Easter tours of South Wales.

It's a small, dark room with an open fireplace and I'm not sure what the ladies will make of it. I have suggested we put a urinal next to the fireplace and call it the Gents. Not only would it keep them out, it would save us having to go upstairs. No one took me seriously.



p.corrigan@independent.co.uk

Tip of the week

No 66: Always hit a provisional ball

On a recent trip abroad with a few golfing friends, we played a new course which none of us had previously played.

Standing on one of the par-fours, my tee shot was slightly errant and heading towards the trees.

As I couldn't be sure that I would find my first shot, I announced my intention to play a provisional ball, to which one of my playing partners said: "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll find the first one."

I had good reasons to play a provisional ball. If I didn't find my first ball I would have had to return to the tee to play another ball, so it would have saved me a long walk, and helped to speed up play.

Secondly, playing another ball from the tee gave me a free practice shot to try to correct my erroneous swing. And thirdly, my provisional ball should be at a similar distance to my first tee shot, so it would help me with the distance to look for my first.

Don't forget, if you're going to hit a provisional ball, you must declare it before you play it.

If you do not say the word "provisional", your second ball will be the ball in play, even if you find your first.



Simon Iliffe, Head Professional, Bramley GC, Surrey. theshortgame.co.uk

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
newsHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
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 new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried