‘The weekends are for male golf’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 3, 2020 06:55

A female amateur golfer who has written in the past about how golf clubs can recruit more women to play the game has said she still experiences unwelcoming attitudes from men and women in golf.

Kerry Cooper, who’s been a golfer for 30 years and wrote for The Golf Business in 2017 about the success she’d had recruiting female beginners, said both sexes at an anonymous club made her feel unwelcome, partly because she joined on her own.

Kerry Cooper

“Recently I joined a golf club as a seven-day member on my own,” she said.

“I was super excited, super positive and ready to play lots of mixed golf to improve my own game.

“I joined after playing just one trial round as the course lay-out really appealed to me; quite a different front and back nine, giving me lots of variation.”

Kerry said the club displayed an unprofessional attitude towards recruiting female golfers.

“I quickly started sharing my social media about the club, promoting women’s golf and encouraged a few of my friends to attend a free trial taster session over four weeks going through the motions of beginners’ golf,” she explained.

“To my surprise, none of these were converted to lessons or membership as no contact was made by the club after the taster sessions ended.”

Kerry then detailed her experiences at the club which included, perhaps surprisingly, other women making her feel unwelcome.

“As soon as the membership paperwork was signed for me to join and my direct debit set up, the membership secretary expressed how suddenly unnerved she was that I was joining on my own without knowing anyone at the club, and to my total surprise said: ‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do with you within the membership as I don’t think the other ladies are going to accept you.’

“When I asked her why, she replied: ‘Well, they can be a bit snooty and you are joining on your own, they have male partners here and might not like the fact you don’t.’

“At this point I felt judged and discriminated against. At this stage I hadn’t even met anyone; it certainly didn’t make me feel welcome.”

She added that she did get an email from the ladies’ section inviting her to meet up on the back of a mixed competition, so she could meet a few members. However, this was then cancelled due to the weather and after she emailed a few times to try to reschedule, she was not contacted again.

“I mentioned this to the membership secretary who just shrugged it off,” she said.

Some men also failed to make her feel part of the club.

“As a working person I would play nine holes before work pretty much every day, I’d be the first on the course, as a rule, which really suited me, I could rattle nine holes off in just over an hour, which was great,” she said.

“The problems started with weekend play, I was finding it difficult to get on the course unless it was at the tail-end of the afternoon, usually behind several groups of guys who had a tendency to play really slowly.

“One particular day I asked if I could play through and all hell broke loose with a four-ball who told me I shouldn’t even be playing at the weekend and should stick to the dedicated slot awarded to the ladies in the week – one slot a week!

“I pointed out I actually pay for seven full days of membership and was told that women should never be given a seven day membership as the weekends are for male golf!”

In the end, Kerry left the club, after it refused to provide the support she was hoping for following an injury.

“I played at that club for seven months, usually on my own, occasionally I’d invite someone to play with me from other clubs, but I’d usually end up fitting around the men playing until a shoulder injury forced me to suddenly stop playing,” she said.

“I wrote to the membership secretary to request if I could cancel my membership as my doctor had advised my golfing would be off the agenda for several months, I was bluntly told I’d signed a contract for a year and if I cancelled my direct debit I would be contacted by a debt collector.

“I asked if I could take a holiday break and resume when my shoulder was healed; again I was told no, therefore I paid for the remaining year and left.

“It was such a shame, yet again a golf club hadn’t looked after a member correctly.”

Kerry is now playing golf again and hopes to be recruiting more women to a club shortly.

If you’d like to chat to Kerry, email: cooperkerry@me.com

Kerry has appeared on a podcast to talk about this article, which can be accessed here.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 3, 2020 06:55
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29 Comments

  1. Audrey July 13, 11:10

    I believe fashion can change this. I’ve never had this issue, but there is negativity because nobody sees the upside. An untapped market globally.

    Reply to this comment
  2. ErnieLong July 13, 02:24

    The Equality Act was suppossed to address this problem, but golf clubs, which were worried about men and women oplaying golf together, have in most cases got round it. England Golf and the R&A arent interested in upsetting the status quo.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Spoker July 6, 18:13

    I support you Kerry. Sadly most clubs are still stuck in the dark ages. One near to us has 2 tee times reserved on a Saturday for “working women”, otherwise they are not allowed on the course until late afternoon, despite paying same 7 day membership. Needless to say wife and I did not join there when our old course closed. Although we are happy at our new club, there is still the presumption that ladies play with ladies and seniors play with seniors and there is something wrong with you if you don’t conform. The one benefit of our old club was that all comps (except named trophies/club champs etc.) were unisex. We have to travel some distance now and mostly like to play together, but you can tell that some disapprove (although not openly). I don’t know what it will take to prevent some of these dinosaur clubs dying out.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Sarah F July 6, 11:47

    Sadly Kerry is still correct, at some clubs… I’ve tried working with some to help, but its like pulling teeth! Many like to say they work to encourage women, but this often falls short in practice or as mentioned isn’t a club practice as a whole, members included. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, THERE SHOULD BE NO WOMEN GOLFERS. there should be golfers

    Reply to this comment
    • Spoker July 6, 18:14

      I support you Kerry. Sadly most clubs are still stuck in the dark ages. One near to us has 2 tee times reserved on a Saturday for “working women”, otherwise they are not allowed on the course until late afternoon, despite paying same 7 day membership. Needless to say wife and I did not join there when our old course closed. Although we are happy at our new club, there is still the presumption that ladies play with ladies and seniors play with seniors and there is something wrong with you if you don’t conform. The one benefit of our old club was that all comps (except named trophies/club champs etc.) were unisex. We have to travel some distance now and mostly like to play together, but you can tell that some disapprove (although not openly). I don’t know what it will take to prevent some of these dinosaur clubs dying out.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Joshua July 5, 19:39

    So disappointing to see and hear this is still happening at golf clubs! Have never understood this attitude towards different categories of golfers – whether it be ladies or juniors – we are all there because we love the game and want to play! Change is needed quickly if the membership schemes that clubs depend on are to continue to survive.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Peter July 5, 12:50

    Sadly, women are second class citizens in far too many clubs ! Today’s managers have to be an advocate for diversity as member expectations increase and competition intensifies !! Today’s club product “portfolio” must include golf for women, not women’s golf ! It’s a delicate balance with more experienced golfers and those who are just taking up the game. No longer are women joining clubs for F&B or social events ! They want to be members, play the game and be treated fairly ! More clubs must also be giving women a “seat at the table,” contributing ideas, solutions and remedies !!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Kerry July 5, 10:39

    Thanks Alistair it’s really great you take my plight seriously and I’ve already today received several emails from ladies who have left golf clubs under similar clouds, and sadly have never played again. I will update you in the future when I join another club, wish me luck

    Reply to this comment
  8. Paul July 5, 06:20

    I’ve seen quite a few cases of women driving other women away. Often seems to be older ladies being unpleasant towards younger ones. Jealousy?

    Reply to this comment
  9. Pgapro July 4, 17:51

    I don’t care who you are if you hold me up on the golf course especially in a competition with your slow play & don’t let the groups behind you play through get off the golf course whether your a woman a man Black white or green!!!!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Roger July 4, 14:43

    Ridiculous in this day and age of equality. A member is a member regardless of sex and has equal rights to tee times, competitions, committee places etc, etc.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Gaffer July 3, 19:07

    I think it’s awful.. Sounds like the lady was being awkward just to make a point. attention seeking for her media gains .. Who plays golf on there own at the weekend especially in the morning all golfers know its the busiest time of the week. Man or woman. .why cause friction On purpose. Most of these members been there 50 years.. I’m all for women playing golf and I have no problem With it at all… But I can’t stand attention seeking people upseting and annoying people at a perfectly decent golf club.. Just to get likes or attention to her social media page.. Men get treated the same and alot worse. Shame on you. You’ve purposely done this to get coverage for your new book or blog attention seeking at its finest.. Hope your happy you’ve made Google news.. Make sure u look Your prettiest in your pics won’t you… .. No ones got problems with anyone playing golf.. Short fat thin woman man trans.. If there purposely being awkward. They will all get the same treatment…

    Reply to this comment
    • Kerry July 4, 23:24

      Gaffer, I’m the person who wrote this blog and shame on YOU for your remarks, I am neither a blogger or writer, I’m a golfer, who is standing up to discrimination in golf clubs, anyone who pays full whack for a membership is entitled to the same use of the club, and as to playing golf on my own at 7am before work what’s the issue?
      Are you golfing at 7am each day? Where do you play?

      Reply to this comment
    • Continentalgolfer July 4, 23:55

      She doesn’t sound awkward at all. Sounds all to familiar especially the snobbishness of members. I must admit it’s been getting a bit better lately with the older members disappearing. I don’t find club golf in this country especially welcoming.

      Reply to this comment
    • Miguel July 5, 17:22

      She obviously know nothing about the game. If she read up on etiquette she would realise that a player on their own has no standing on the course and cannot barge their way through two balls or four balls. This also applies to attention seeking bloggers.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bundy July 6, 23:38

        My guess is that this club must have a lot of senior members who’s wives initially joined to spend more time with their spouses. As most were probably new to the game, they were ok to play on designated days to avoid slowing up the men.

        I can totally imagine the stereotypical men’s country club reluctantly over the years allowing women to join. I can also see some of the women being opposed to a single woman joining purely out of jealously. It sounds so clique, but I’m sure it still exists.

        Ultimately, there are definitely double standard with some private and public clubs. The main issue I see is that membership privileges should be equal for all paying members regardless of ability, age or gender. If you’re paying full price, then you should get the same access to play. If not, then your dues should be reduced accordingly. If there were restrictions or potential member issues, you should have been advised prior to accepting your application.

        Best of luck finding a new club and some playing partners that appreciate your enthusiasm for golf.

        Reply to this comment
      • Jayne July 8, 13:02

        Oh Miguel, I am afraid that you need to read the etiquette recommendations. It is all about pace of play NOT the number of players for a tee time. Also in my opinion any single players should be invited to join any group that doesn’t have a 4 ball. This is how this great game should be played at club level. Inclusivity and an opportunity to meet new golfers and offer encouragement to all. This is the experience that I had at my first club which gave me the love that I have for the game. If I had the experiences that I have had at the 2 clubs that I have since joined I would probably have chosen a different sport and walked away from golf!

        Reply to this comment
      • Jacko July 9, 08:41

        Miguel ! YOU need to read up on etiquette – long gone are the days of a single player having no standing – drag yourself into the 21st century.

        Reply to this comment
      • Jacko July 9, 08:44

        Miguel – YOU need to brush up on YOUR etiquette !

        Long gone are the days of a single player having no standing – drag yourself into the 21st century

        Reply to this comment
  12. Peter T July 3, 11:57

    Hard to understand but sadly not hard to believe. I find it strange that we still “celebrate” clubs finally opening up to women in 2020 as was the case at a club in Scotland this week. They should be thoroughly ashamed that they are about 40 years behind the times. Nor do I understand why women would want to join such a club when there are plenty of examples of more inclusive and welcoming clubs around

    Reply to this comment
  13. djm July 3, 10:27

    “her experiences at the club included, perhaps surprisingly, other women making her feel unwelcome”

    Really ?

    Women making other women feel uncomfortable/unwelcome at a Golf Club ??

    That never happens, does it ???

    Reply to this comment
    • James K July 4, 16:42

      That comment from gaffer has got to be the best example of exactly the problem, what an arrogant and ignorant statement.
      To answer your question though of who plays golf on their own? The simple and obvious answer is anyone that wants to if they pay membership and so are entitled to. Most reasonable clubs would ask the person if they minded pairing up or joining another group which is incidentally what she wanted to do, to meet people.
      I’d hazard a guess that gaffer is one of the old school boomers that feel entitled and act poorly to those now in their clique.
      In short gaffer, when you and your ilk are gone from the clubs then golf will be able to progress and be more open and welcoming and so, popular.

      Ps. I’ve sneaky suspicion that you’re a member at the club she’s described or possibly committee/staff, if so, shame on you.

      Reply to this comment
      • Kerry July 4, 23:30

        Thanks James, Kerry here the person who wrote this blog, your support on this is much appreciated, I receive emails from other females who have also left golf clubs for similar reasons who have joined a golf club on their own, it’s a big deal even walking into a golf club on your own let alone playing solo golf, it takes guts! If I pay my money each month the same as the guys why am I being treated so differently? That’s the question isn’t it?

        Reply to this comment
        • ErnieLong July 24, 14:10

          Hi Kerry,
          Its bad enough joining a golf club on my own, and thats for a white male who plays off a single figures. Heaven forbid if I was female and or a person of colour. Golf clubs are notorious for casual racists, sexists, bigots, and havent changed that much in the last 40 years Ive been playing. There are some golf clubs which have this under more control than others but its few and far between. It really depends on the management. Try and find or form a group of like minded people and play with them. Hopefully this kind of abhorant behaviour will be sorted out in the near future.

          Reply to this comment
      • Jacko July 9, 08:41

        Miguel ! YOU need to read up on etiquette – long gone are the days of a single player having no standing – drag yourself into the 21st century.

        Reply to this comment
  14. Christopher G July 3, 09:15

    I agree, most private clubs in the UK remain a male enclave for women, esp. at weekends. Not sure how this will change whilst the private club committees are largely still separate mens (primary) and ladies (comps only)…..perhaps by 2100 it might change. as so far the 21st century it doesn’t look much different to the mid 1980’s…

    Reply to this comment
    • Gaff July 3, 19:07

      I think it’s awful.. Sounds like the lady was being awkward just to make a point. attention seeking for her media gains .. Who plays golf on there own at the weekend especially in the morning all golfers know its the busiest time of the week. Man or woman. .why cause friction On purpose. Most of these members been there 50 years.. I’m all for women playing golf and I have no problem With it at all… But I can’t stand attention seeking people upseting and annoying people at a perfectly decent golf club.. Just to get likes or attention to her social media page.. Men get treated the same and alot worse. Shame on you. You’ve purposely done this to get coverage for your new book or blog attention seeking at its finest.. Hope your happy you’ve made Google news.. Make sure u look Your prettiest in your pics won’t you… .. No ones got problems with anyone playing golf.. Short fat thin woman man trans.. If there purposely being awkward. They will all get the same treatment…

      Reply to this comment
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