Massive strides have been made towards equality since I joined my first golf club in Edinburgh almost 23 years ago. At that time the main bar and lounge was reserved exclusively for male members, with the exception of some special events.
As a new member, I remember nipping out for a few holes after work one sunny evening, only to realise – five holes in – that I was the only woman on a busy course.
I was eventually approached by a male member and politely informed that Tuesday nights were “men’s nights” – the assumption being that we women were free to play our golf during the day when the men were busy earning a living. I was left to skulk off the course feeling very frustrated, slightly humiliated and with a real sense of injustice.
While the majority of clubs now do a good job of sharing tee-times between ladies’ and gents’ competitions, more could be done to ensure that men don’t get the lion’s share of the prime slots, such as on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Any moves towards greater inclusion have to be embraced by women too – particularly those who can play their golf midweek and still resist changes to the status quo. A slight increase in fees – to bring them in line with the men’s – seems a small price to pay for real equality.