Journalist criticises golf club over dress code

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 27, 2022 12:08

A female journalist has sparked an online debate by criticising one of the world’s oldest golf clubs over its dress code policy.

Hannah Holden, equipment editor for the National Club Golfer, received an invitation to the media day for the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield Golf Club, stating that the dress code for the dinner and prize giving will be smart – ‘jacket and tie for men, jacket or long-sleeved dress for women’.

Muirfield is the home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was reinstated on the roster to host the Open in 2017 when it agreed to allow women to join the club for the first time in its nearly 300-year history.

Holden took to Twitter to write: “It’s 2022 yet to go to a dinner at Muirfield Golf Club I have to cover my arms and shoulders?

“Why is the Women’s Open at a course that clearly wants to restrict women and only let them be members so they didn’t lose the Open?

“Plenty of other clubs that would love to host!”

She continued: “Also to be clear, I am not attending this event and I would not feel comfortable going to Muirfield because of their opinions and views on women.

“As a female golfer I am often put in the position when I am unwelcome or questioned in golf due to my gender.

“How many women are we alienating and losing in this game because of that attitude across golf?

“We cannot change history, and many places had a men-only policy in the past, but there are plenty of clubs that are much more progressive and are actually making an effort.”

The original post led to hundreds of replies, with a range of views expressed.

Many stated that the club is a private venue and therefore can enforce whatever dress code it wants. Professional golfer James McGhee stated, for example: ‘It’s a private club. They decide the rules and as a visitor it’s best to respect its rules and appreciate one of the world’s best clubs.’

Others, like The Jazzy Golfer, wrote: ‘Some people are perhaps missing the point here. If the venue wants to enforce a dress code, fine. However, I don’t see anything wrong with challenging the language here that is arguably linked to the age-old view that women’s shoulders / arms are offensive and must be covered.’

Others stated that they appreciated the charm or quirkiness of a strict dress code that applies to both men and women. Hannah responded to one such point by saying: ‘Most men own a jacket and tie though, I don’t own a long sleeved dress, it’s such an unusual piece of clothing.’

A spokesman for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers said: “The dress code for lunch or specially arranged dinners at the club is jacket and tie for male members and jacket or sleeved dress for female members. All dress code decisions in the club are carried out in consultation with both the female and male members.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 27, 2022 12:08
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  1. JD May 29, 20:00

    They only took on a token 12 lady members when it should have been triple that at least!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Beverly May 22, 12:11

    Just play golf and quit griping because you have to follow rules.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Gilpin May 21, 11:12

    Tradition in golf is thrown around by clubs so justify not changing
    And by making rules that don’t reflect society is just ridiculous
    It’s just a game ! It has no higher position in society than that

    Values are far more important than tradition

    Reply to this comment
  4. Teaching professional May 21, 08:30

    Love all of the idiots that comment on golf-related issues that are in no place to do so. If you’re a “safety manager” or “tool hire account manager” what business do you have commenting on a golf specific post like you’re an expert? You have no clue what you’re talking about, stay in your lane. Can’t believe the egos among us.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Golf Course Superintendent May 21, 06:34

    Yes it’s 2022, why on earth should I have to respect something as insignificant as tradition.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Hilti May 21, 00:37

    If you want to play a truly great golf course that is always in excellent condition and attend their functions then you must respect their wishes if not stay away and stop criticising them its that simple.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Cala H May 21, 00:05

    Dead easy, you want to go follow the – don’t want to follow the rules then you can’t go

    Couldn’t be any simpler

    Reply to this comment
  8. Oilwell Varco May 20, 17:45

    Times have changed, fashion and dress sense have changed, people and mentalities should change!

    These types of requests and rules are from a draconian bygone era.

    Who cares what someone wears on a golf course or in the clubs house (male or female), as ultimately this is not a cult it’s a golf club.

    We all wish to play the game which we all love, whether that’s in flip flops, a hoodie or pale blue farah slacks and a lovely pair of patent white brogues (footjoys of course). So what should it matter who wears what, and the same should go for the clubhouse!

    Imagine these same committee members turned up at the local pub or night club in there blazer (complete with club emblem of course), tie and tweed slacks, only to be told “sorry lads, it’s jeans and trainers only”………. “How very dare you young man, I’ll have you know I’m the head of the greens committee”

    Reply to this comment
  9. Bargeron May 20, 16:22

    The whole thing is a farce really. In this day and age, guys can wear hoodies on the golf course at some places, even the pro tours but not some courses. They can wear shorts in practice rounds but they have to wear long trousers in actual events, even if it’s 100f, which is nuts.

    Meanwhile women can wear almost anything they wish whether amateur or professionals on the course, but they have to cover up in the clubhouse.

    It just makes it all seem a bit of a joke.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Peter May 20, 15:37

    I ‘m against most dresscode regulations today !! However, I support a private club’s right, to enact them !! Sounds like a bigger issue, at hand and possibly not the time for that discussion !! However that discussion needs to take place !!

    Reply to this comment
  11. CSP May 20, 14:05

    Heaven forbid that we have any sense of tradition in the world. You can also wear shorts and a sleeveless shirt on the course while men have to wear pants and a tucked in polo. Anyone can be a victim if they try hard enough.

    Reply to this comment
  12. KCherry May 20, 12:59

    Totally agree, needs to drag itself into real world…..

    Reply to this comment
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