Don’t do us favors

Last week Muirfield golf club voted not to admit women. Sounds like a good idea, but it means they don’t get to host a big championship.

GOLF CHIEFS have stripped course Muirfield of the Open Championship after its members threw out a proposal for women to join the East Lothian club in a move branded “simply indefensible” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The decision by members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which owns and runs the club, also drew the ire of Prime Minister David Cameron who said the move was “outdated.”

Yeah, women have had time to learn to play by now.

Henry Fairweather, the club captain, and his committee had recommended that women should be offered membership on the same terms as the men at the 272-year-old allowed in the club. However they were left to rue the decision of a minority of fellow members as the proposal failed by just 16 votes at the end of a two-year review of the membership.

You can’t blame them though – all those high squeaky voices would ruin their concentration.

Within minutes of Mr Fairweather announcing the result of the vote in front of the Muirfield clubhouse, the R&A announced it would not be taking The Open back there under the current membership set-up.

“The R&A has considered today’s decision with respect to The Open Championship,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the St Andrews-based organisation that runs golf’s oldest major, which has been staged 16 times at Muirfield, most recently in 2013, when American Phil Mickelson claimed the Claret Jug. “The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the championship at a venue that does not admit women as members.”

Kate Smurthwaite wrote in the Indy about Muirhead’s Boys Only policy three years ago.

The thing is I’d never heard of Muirfield Golf Club until today and the nearest I’ve been to a golf club in my life involved trying to get the ball over the miniature bridge into the little windmill.  When I raised the subject this morning on Facebook the overwhelming reaction seemed to be that the R&A (the sport’s organising body, I had to look that up) are tangentially doing all us girls a favour by keeping us away from something we’re not interested in.

Well that is not the point. That’s like telling Rosa Parks “the back of the bus is actually safer if there’s a crash”. It’s why gay rights activists want marriage as well as things-that-look-like-but-aren’t-actually-marriage. Equality is not about making “good” choices on behalf of other people, it’s about giving them the freedom to make the same good or bad choices as everyone else.

I don’t want golf clubs deciding how much dessert I can eat, either.

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