man teaching a woman how to play golf

As the controversy continues surrounding the destination for the 2020 Olympics we ask why, in this day and age, are there still gender specific member only clubs?

Historically, golf has been considered a male dominated sport and golf clubs had and still have strict rules about membership, dress code and etiquette. Whilst it is lawful to establish a private members club with gender specific policies, the moral and ethical stance is widely disputed.

‘Gentlemen Only. Ladies Forbidden’ – GOLF.

Whoever coined this phrase was not alone in his opinions. The number of female golfers is continuing to rise but all evidence suggests that golf continues to be a man’s game.

According to a recent survey published by KPMG only 14% of the 1.2 million golfers in the UK are female. So why the stark difference?

The Equality Act passed in 2010 further paved the way for gender equality and ensuring that, among other things, men and women should be paid equally when employed to do the same job. In view of this there is no evidence to suggest that women simply cannot afford a membership. This is further supported in a report released by the Women in Golf Industry (WIGI) who stated that the low female membership rates in the UK can be attributed not to money, but the attitudes faced by female golfers both on the courses and in the club houses.

The Royal St George Golf Club famed for posting a sign stating ‘No dogs, No women’ ensured there could be no question as to their stance on the subject. With statements like this publicised, it is no wonder women were deterred.

However, the RSGGC has since changed their view with 90% of their members voting in favour of women being accepted as member ending their male only policy since the clubs creation over 100 years ago.

It is true to say that the number of male only golf clubs is continuing to decrease and the industry is working hard to change the perception of the sport. The single sex membership clubs account for less than 1% of the total in the UK.

So should gender really have any bearing on accessing the sport?

We’ll let you decide….


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