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golf competitions

Golf is a social game – why should men and women play separately?

In his latest From the Clubhouse column, our club golfer expresses his bewilderment that men and women still sometimes have to play in separate competitions
 

I’m about to reveal something that may shock a few of you. At my club, men and women play in the same competitions.

There, I’ve said it. The sky hasn’t fallen in.

We put the tee in the ground, pop a ball on it and hit it. Sometimes we make a putt. And we have a nice time too.

We don’t worry about the leaderboard, because we know CSS – or the Stableford adjustment – will take care of it.

I’m puzzled as to why this doesn’t happen everywhere.

I find it bizarre that some clubs still restrict tee-times, and their competitions, in favour of both men and women.

It’s been a decade since the Equality Act but some clubs have yet to really get on board with it.

You can still drop into a lot of places and find a Saturday morning where men have the priority, or a Ladies’ Day where the gents have to wait in the clubhouse.

Just because the membership might be happy with that – if I had a pound for every time someone said to me ‘the ladies like having their own day’ I could buy a course – doesn’t make it correct or fair for all.

Equality isn’t meant to be a choice.

My daughter is two-and-a-half. I truly hope she will one day follow me onto the fairways and take up this wonderful game.

I’d find it impossible to justify to her why we couldn’t play together because an archaic set of competition conditions demanded we competed in gender specific tournaments.

This isn’t the elite. We’re all hackers together and that’s what the handicap system is supposed to sort out.

History, and tradition, is often cited by those who wish to stall change. Anyone who challenges that status quo is somehow arguing for the destruction of ‘standards’.

But while we continue to segregate players into tournaments, and tees, based on nothing other than gender, how can we hope to truly grow the game?

Golf is a social game. We should all be able to play together – at any time of our choosing and in any format.

Out and about

golf competitions

I attended England Golf’s first World Handicap System workshop at Kings Norton and, as you read this, the whistle-stop tour of the country that has tried to put some flesh on the bones of the arrangements coming into place in 2020 is about to come to a close.

I’ve written lots about the changes, and if you attended one of the sessions you’ll know a bit more about it now too.

So I’m interested in finding out what you all think about the proposed new system – and how it might affect your game.

That can cover anything from the need to a global system, to using averaging rather than aggregates to calculate handicap marks, or the new daily adjustment that will effectively replace CSS.

I’d like to canvas a wide range of opinion of club golfers – both core and casual because the new WHS will affect you both – so we can put together an article that’s indicative of what the average player on the course thinks about the handicap changes that are coming their way.

My month in golf

golf competitions

It’s finally begun. After a month of fruitless competition, I’ve finally managed a handicap reduction – a massive 0.2 courtesy of a little win in a Golf Club Managers’ Association competition at Moor Park.

The reason for that not-so-humble brag is not to highlight a win (although they are always nice) but to show you all a picture of the Hertfordshire’s club’s quite amazing clubhouse.

The 18th century building is full of history – and some quite amazing images too.

Get in touch: Email me your views at [email protected], or you can contact me via Twitter or Instagram.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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