Carnoustie golf club appoints first female chair

Ernie Els plays a bunker shot at Carnoustie in July 2007. Picture: Getty
Ernie Els plays a bunker shot at Carnoustie in July 2007. Picture: Getty
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IT is widely regarded as the toughest course on the Open Championship rota - a stretch of links on the Angus coast, steeped in tradition, where golf has been played since the 1500s.

Carnoustie is already home to the oldest surviving ladies’ golf club in the world, founded in 1873.

And, in another major breakthrough for women’s golf, the trust which runs the championship course and the two other links in the Angus town has appointed its first female chair in its history.

At a historic meeting earlier this week, Patricia Sawers, vice-chair of the Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee, was elected to lead the organisation by the representatives of the six golf clubs which use the publicly owned links.

Her election came only a month after the Royal Burgess in Edinburgh, the oldest golfing society in the world, scrapped proposals to admit women members for the first time, highlighting the continuing controversy over single-sex golf clubs.

Mrs Sawers, who was elected to her new role on Monday night, said she was eager to get down to work.

She explained: “It is an absolute privilege to have been appointed chairman of Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee and I am looking forward to the challenges that I’m sure will present themselves over the coming months.

“With the help of my co-committee members we are committed to keeping Carnoustie Golf Links at the forefront of Scottish and international golf.”

Shona Malcolm, chief executive officer of the Ladies’ Golf Union, said: “This is fantastic news It shows that, as long as you are good at a job, it really shouldn’t matter what gender you are. If you are the right person for the role then ladies shouldn’t be held back from progressing through the ranks and taking up these important roles.”

She added: “I think it’s a terrific appointment. She is very sensible and able lady. The encouraging thing for any ladies involved in sport is that it does send out a really good message that your gender doesn’t hold you back.

“I often think the whole gender thing is blown out of all proportion. It should really be about people’s ability, rather than getting too hung up on these gender issues.”

Carnoustie consists of three courses, all of which are rated in the top 50 Links courses in the UK and Ireland. In addition to the Championship Course the management committee is also responsible for running the Burnside and Buddon links.