Golf.com has reported that the Royal and Ancient will vote in September on a pending proposal to admit women to its membership. R&A secretary Peter Dawson reports that the proposal appears to have ample support among its 2500 male members.
Society is changing. Sport is changing. Golf is changing. And I think it is appropriate for a governing body to take this step.
Peter Dawson, Royal & Ancient Secretary
I’ve long been somewhat amused about this matter of all-male golf clubs. Somewhere along the long road of history, some men magically forgot that one of the earliest supporters and popularizers of the Game of Golf was Mary Queen of Scots and that women have been swinging their sticks alongside men for as long as the game has been played.
St. Andrews and, until very recently, Augusta National Golf Club managed to bypass, or overlook, or simply ignore the long-standing precedent supporting women’s competitive golf and the participation of ordinary female golfers in the day-to-day management of the golfing homes that began a mere stone’s throw from the home of the R&A, at Musselburgh Links.
How, mid-way through the second decade of the twenty-first century, could the R&A have delayed taking what to many seems like a perfectly reasonable step toward equity? Could it be there is quiet resistance among some of the more prominent clubs within the R&A? It’s rumored that Muirfield, owned and run by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, would rather be removed from the British Open rota than be told how to manage its membership.
Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore don’t seem to have eroded the finery and the ambiance of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament. Rice has certainly been a visible and positive presence this week in her green jacket. Perhaps drawing strength from the Augusta National great leap toward modernization, the R&A will discover that Judy Bell, past president of the USGA, or Lady Angela Bonallack, a past Curtis Cup player and wife of Sir Michael Bonallack could enrich the membership of the R&A.
The question will be answered at the R&A September meeting. Stay tuned!