Ladies Golf is about to take a potentially game-changing vote and allow women to join the Royal And Ancient Golf!
As big promoters of women that play, TSG asked Felicity Dunderdale of FOREwomen.co.uk to express her views on the subject …
I remember playing at Formby Golf Club, near Liverpool (UK) a few years back having bought the ‘Winter Offer’ which included a round of golf and a bowl of soup.
I was with my boyfriend at the time, and after the game we headed to the bar, only to be stopped…as Ladies were not allowed! My brilliant day on the greens suddenly turned sour.
Fast-forward to 2014, and two decisions are looming on home turf.
One is the Scottish referendum, and the other is the vote to be made at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, a vote that will ask members: “Should women be allowed membership?”.
This subject is close to my heart, not just because I am a woman but because I believe there are many positives this game has to offer to women, and in turn, I can see how golf would benefit from some girl-power on the greens.
And yet, despite already being well into the 21st Century, we still have three clubs in UK that still don’t include women within the membership criteria.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, based at home of golf, St Andrews Scotland, is at the very pillar of the game. But here’s a few facts that may turn your head:
1. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club shouldn’t be confused with The Royal & Ancient (The R&A), an organisation which governs the rules of the game.
2. A decade ago, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club lost the responsibility of:
– The administration of the Rules of Golf in conjunction with the United States Golf Association (USGA)
– The running of The Open Championship and other key golfing events
– The development of the game in existing and emerging golfing nations
3. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club isn’t like local clubs. Although it is a member-only club, it does not own the courses surrounding the clubhouse, instead they’re public courses managed by St Andrew’s Links Trust.
Well I do! However, will the decision to allow women to become members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club have a positive effect on golf as a whole? Will an inclusive decision start to motivate a much-needed change in the game? Of course they will.
This led me to imagine what it would be like to have a woman in the chief executive role at the club?
The current chief executive is Peter Dawson, but he is due to retire next year. With a new leadership on the cards, shouldn’t we be more concerned with ladies representation within The R&A – perhaps even pushing a female chief executive?
Off the top of my head, Angela Howe could be just the woman.
She’s a museum and heritage director, and happens to be the only woman that sits on the R&A’s 18-member executive committee right now.
On that important day in September, (according to a recent post by GolfDigest.com) members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club will be asked two questions:
1 .“Are you in favour of women members?”
15 new members might not be an earth-shattering event for most people, but it will be a major highlight for the game of golf here in the UK and I believe it will set the scene for a more inclusive game.
Let’s face it, if we can have women commentating on men’s football, surely we can have women that play golf!
Written by Felicity Dunderdale