The past year has seen the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews finally voting to accept female members for the first time in its 260 year history and its 2,400 all-male membership urged by club secretary Peter Dawson to ‘do what’s right for golf’.
They voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to back a change to their outdated rules and the R&A has now approached 15 women already identified as having made a large contribution to the sport to be fast-tracked through the application process.
This long overdue change of heart was welcomed by not only campaigners and politicians, but woman golfers everywhere. Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation chief executive, Ruth Holdaway of England, said, “The admittance of female members is a symbolic step in the move towards full equality in sport and for golf in particular.” England’s Sports Minister, Helen Grant, said: “This is positive news for the sport and I hope we will now see other golf clubs that still have outdated same-sex policies follow suit.”
It is amazing then that one of Great Britain’s most successful private clubs, The Wisley, has had complete equality since it opened in 1991. The Wisley only has club competitions (versus separate competitions for men and women), has previously had a female Chairman and it is maybe most poignant that with England Golf working hard to increase participation of women and girls in golf and pressure mounting on certain Open venues, that in 2015 Susie Lee has driven in as its Club Captain. After the ceremony on Sunday, leading coach and Sky TV pundit Denis Pugh tweeted of The Wisley #modernclub.
For the growth of the global game, especially increasing youth interest, it is hoped that more clubs follow this trend. After all, The Wisley has been highly successful and leading the way on equality in golf for 25 years now. It is good to see global golf finally catching up and moving forward for the next generation.
The Wisley www.thewisley.com
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