Hugh Reilly: Let’s shout ‘fore!’ at golfing feminists
AS A lad, learning to play golf on Glasgow’s municipal courses was fraught with difficulty. I recall a bad experience when, needing to find the green from a builders-aggregate-filled sand-trap to avoid an opening triple bogey, my concentration level was a tad impaired by the screams coming from two young scamps fighting in the aforementioned bunker.
Fortunately, my sincere threat to club them like seal cubs on a Canadian ice-floe with my driver brought a welcome dignified hush that allowed play to proceed.
An unwritten law banned women from playing golf on public courses. Occasionally, some militant females ventured on to the fairways with their golf bags in a vain attempt to challenge the status quo.
Rumour has it that, during a monthly medal, one particularly excitable lady threw herself under the club captain’s golf trolley, shouting, “Tee-off times for women!” The golf swing of these women greatly upset the menfolk. To the untrained eye, it seemed as if the fillies were playing a grass version of hockey, striking the ball along the ground and unwittingly bringing a premature end to the lives of unsuspecting worms.
To encourage dawdling distaff golfers to pick up the pace, the chaps considered it good practice to launch a golf ball that dropped just short of the ladies’ position. If that gentlemanly nudge failed to deliver the desired result, a 3-wood warning shot over their heads usually did the trick. (In the event of a slight miscalculation leading to a woman being struck by a Titleist projectile, shouting “Fore!” just before impact absolved the male of any culpability.)
Last week, erstwhile prime minister Gordon Brown raised the plight of wummin golfers denied membership of Muirfield golf club, declaring the policy to be “an unacceptable blot on Scotland’s tradition of justice for all”. It was, he said, “basic discrimination”. The Solomon-like words of a man whose overwhelming intellect helped bring us a world banking crisis deserve to be taken seriously.
I, for one, am with Brown in opposing discrimination rooted in gender. My first blow for equality of the sexes would be to close down Glasgow City Council’s girls-only secondary school, Notre Dame.
Apologists for this gender-apartheid system of learning say that Notre Dame offers choice to those parents who wish to have their daughters taught in a boy-free zone. The fact that fathers and mothers are not given the opportunity to have a son educated in a publicly-funded male-only environment does not trouble their conscience.
My second strike to achieve gender parity would be to force local authorities to cease having “ladies only” nights at council leisure centres. Men pay the same fee as their female counterparts yet are forbidden from using the facilities one evening per week.
When I challenged this policy – which clearly breaks the Sex Discrimination Act – I was told that some female members are uncomfortable about their bodies being seen by males. For example, chubby-cheeked girls with a BMI of 30+ are embarrassed when their tracksuited Rubenesque figures lie collapsed in a heap over an exercise bike. At the other end of the aesthetic-pleasing scale, some women apparently resent being ogled by salivating males.
When I told the receptionist that wearing a burqa would be a relatively cheap solution to stabilising the emotional fragility of these women, she was singularly unimpressed.
In my opinion, gender inequality only becomes an issue when females are the victims. At this year’s Edinburgh Festival, an exhibition barred males from crossing the threshold. Unsurprisingly, Gordon Brown and other male stooges for disgruntled men-haters said nothing.
When I was a teacher, a Standard Grade history textbook endeavoured to put the role of women working in munitions factories on an equal footing with that of soldiers on the Western Front. Call me a chauvinist but, given the choice of either a job in civvie street or standing at the bottom of trench waiting for an officer’s whistle to send me for an early morning stroll across No-Man’s-Land, I think I could confidently predict which employment opening afforded the greatest long term career prospects.
Instead of rushing to force unwanted change at Muirfield, feminists should stop and smell the flowers.
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