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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform