Treasurer of golf club: Women-only venues can be good for females

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams July 7, 2016 12:34

The treasurer of a women-only golf club has said her club’s policy is good for women as long as they are under-represented in golf participation.

She also says she has sympathy with Muirfield, which voted to remain men-only in May.

Some people have said the criticism that some single-sex golf clubs receive is unfairly weighted in favour of men-only golf clubs, but Helen Melvin, who has written a book celebrating the 125-year history of Lundin Ladies’ Golf Club in Fife, told Lady Golfer that some women are deterred from joining mixed golf clubs because they are male-dominated.

“In most mixed clubs we are generally in the minority and there might only be 40 female members,” she said.


The famous stones on Lundin Ladies’ Golf Club

“But we have over 200 ladies and we’re able to make all our own decisions and have the prime tee times. There are a lot of ladies who travel out of their way to join our club.

“A lot of the new ladies said they felt very comfortable and welcome at our club and maybe the reason they felt less intimidated is because of the single-sex policy. I think some of our members wouldn’t have joined a mixed club.

“It’s annoying when people say that it’s sexist for us to be a women’s club, I’ve always fought for equality in my life.”

Nine-hole Lundin Ladies’ Golf Club is the oldest ladies’ golf club in Scotland and is situated next to 18-hole Lundin Golf Club, which last year ended its male-only policy after 147 years. Despite this it is a predominantly male golf club in which many of Lundin Ladies’ members’ husbands are members.

Men and boys are allowed to play at Lundin Ladies on a pay-per-round basis, but no male is allowed to join the club. Perhaps most surprisingly, for the first ten years of its existence, the club had a male captain as it wasn’t deemed appropriate for a woman to chair a meeting!

Lundin Ladies’ Golf Club

“A lot of older gentlemen don’t want to pay the expense of an 18-hole competition course so they choose to play our nine-hole one instead,” she said.

Melvin added that as long as women are under-represented in golf there will be a place for women-only golf clubs, although she stated she had sympathy with Muirfield, which was ridiculed in May for refusing to allow women to join.

“If we get to a point where 50 percent of the country’s golfers are women then maybe single-sex golf clubs will stop,” she said.

“But I think for as long as we’re in the minority, there’s a place for ladies’ clubs. It would be a shame to lose our ladies-only status.

“There is something different about a ladies’ club, little things like there’s always fresh flowers on the table. I think men go out and play four hours of golf and then come in and talk for four hours about golf! Whereas we play golf and then come in and have a catch-up.

“We feel sorry for Muirfield. Like us they value their history and I think it’s been very difficult for them to be in the spotlight like they have been. As a club it would be very inappropriate for us to criticise them as they are maintaining a position just as we are.

“People often call us behind the times as well.”


Emma Williams
By Emma Williams July 7, 2016 12:34
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