Maria Miller and the Open: what kind of message do men-only golf clubs send out?

These elitist and exclusionary men-only clubs are not there to boost the shocking low numbers of men who play regular golf

Share
Related Topics

Maria Miller has announced that she will not be attending men-only
golf club Muirfield for this summer’s Open tournament. The establishment is no doubt turning in it’s collective grave while the ghost
of Emily Wilding Davison dances for joy.

Miller, the best-placed person in the country to do something about the problem, has instead asked the clubs to “think long and hard” about their policies. Perhaps it’s time she herself has a good old think about the purpose of government.

The thing is I’d never heard of Muirfield Golf Club until today and the nearest I’ve been to a golf club in my life involved trying to get the ball over the miniature bridge into the little windmill.  When I raised the subject this morning on Facebook the overwhelming reaction seemed to be that the R&A (the sport’s organising body, I had to look that up) are tangentially doing all us girls a favour by keeping us away from something we’re not interested in.

Well that is not the point. That’s like telling Rosa Parks “the back of the bus is actually safer if there’s a crash”. It’s why gay rights activists want marriage as well as things-that-look-like-but-aren’t-actually-marriage. Equality is not about making “good” choices on behalf of other people, it’s about giving them the freedom to make the same good or bad choices as everyone else.

The other response, mostly from people I should have blocked on Facebook years ago, is “what about the women-only gyms?”. Well, I don’t think we should hold any national tournaments in them. How’s that for an answer?

Women-only gyms exists because some women feel intimidated in mixed gyms and miss out on exercise as a result. These elitist and exclusionary men-only clubs are not there to boost the shocking low numbers of men who play regular golf. 

I prefer what they do in the US where they have "no muscle guys" gyms which don't allow those men, and occasionally women, who show up in tiny shorts and a big leather belt and hog all the weights for hours. 

I go to a mixed gym and at certain times of day I'll pick up a couple of dumbbells and sit on an apparently vacant weights bench only to have some huge guy lumber over and announce "I'm using that". I never argue with him. Anyway I'd go to the gym less if it was possible to jog in my neighbourhood without getting sexist comments all the time. Ugh. None of which justifies men-only golf clubs. 

Maria Miller is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, she is also, presumably as some sort of afterthought, Minister for Women. I want those jobs to belong to separate people. And then I want the Minister for Women to chain herself to the railings of the Secretary of State for Sport’s office and refuse to leave until something is done about the hotbed of sexism that remains in organised sport in this country.

Even more importantly most golf in this country is played not for sport or competition but as an excuse for business networking. Excluding women from that is a serious issue which the Minister for Women needs to tackle. And not by skipping a golf tournament she probably wasn’t interested in anyway. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices