Golf clubs in Northern Ireland ‘could be more attractive to women’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 15, 2023 11:25

Golf clubs in Northern Ireland could do more to make the sport more attractive to women, the country’s governing body for amateur golf has suggested.

There are about 90 golf clubs in Northern Ireland and many of them have membership policies that mean women can not become full club members – and therefore will not have full voting rights and can only access the course at certain times of the week or day.

It means that only 16 percent of female golf club members in Northern Ireland have full membership, compared to 60 percent in the Republic of Ireland.

Anne McCormack, from Golf Ireland, which operates on an all-island basis, said it was not a very attractive proposition for women golfers.

She said women would feel they were not getting the same rights as everybody else.

“This is about future generations of women,” she said.

The Republic of Ireland has the Equal Status Act, in which discrimination in the admission to, access to and conditions of participation in establishments are prohibited on the basis of gender, which is partly why there is such a discrepancy between the two countries. There is no legal requirement for clubs in Northern Ireland to do the same.

“There was a bit of force of hand, full membership had to be open to both genders,” said McCormack.

“The legislation in NI is not the same so that’s why we think there is that lag.

“In a lot of clubs, they’ve made considerable advancements to make full membership open to both genders. We’re starting to see things move in a much more positive direction.

“This wasn’t a massive piece of the agenda a few years ago, now it’s central to the agenda.”

Last year a golf club made history when it appointed the first woman captain in Northern Ireland.

In 2021 the Royal Dublin Golf Club – believed to be the island of Ireland’s last club with only male members – voted to ‘enshrine the principle of gender equality’ into its constitution.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 15, 2023 11:25
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  1. Peter March 15, 15:02

    So can many others ! Many clubs would insist, they were “female friendly” only to find policies, regulations and premises that said the opposite. I remember one club, that spent wildly for every amenity in the mens locker room but only minimal amount in the ladies locker. Guess how many ladies resigned.

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  2. J Manning March 15, 11:47

    There are brilliant women golfers in Northern Ireland, who are working really hard to make the game more inclusive. Would be good to see things change faster than having to wait for the glacial pace of legislation.

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