NCG's Hannah Holden has made national news in recent days for taking a stand against outdated traditions. But, she writes, there's an important message behind it
I want to address an elephant in the room. It seems I caused quite a stir on social media last week when I posted my disdain at the wording of an invite to a media day at Muirfield.
One sentence in particular stood out: “The dress code … will be a jacket and tie for men, a jacket or long-sleeved dress for women.”
My complaint was simple. Why are we not allowed to be trusted with the decision to dress smartly without being so strangely specific? (And what happened in the past that made them come to the conclusion that a women’s arm should not be on show at the dinner table?)
Sadly, as is often the case on social media, a lot of people missed the point. I don’t have an issue with golf’s traditions. But I do have an issue of anything that restricts access to the game. To anyone.
Which leads me to my next point. Why has the Women’s Open been awarded to a golf club that many believe only opened its membership to female golfers to remain on The Open rota?
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, in 2016, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers voted against such a move.
The message was clear – women are not valued here. In the fallout that followed, the R&A stripped the club of its right to host golf’s oldest major.
Two years later, the decision was reversed. But even then, only 80 per cent of the membership voted in favour. Now that sounds a lot, but it still means one in five decided they didn’t want women to join their club.
And their reward for being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century? The biggest tournament in the women’s game outside of the US.
It will come as no surprise to you that sexism is something I’ve had to deal with throughout my life, particularly in such a male-dominated sport. If you’re a female golfer, I’m sure this will strike a chord with you.
The game has become more inclusive and progressive in recent years, but sometimes something happens that feels like two steps backwards.
It’s so disappointing that somewhere seemingly so against moving with the times are not facing the proper sanctions.
If your first thought is, ‘Well, there are women-only golf clubs.’ You’re right, and there shouldn’t be. But think about why they had to exist in the first place.
We cannot change history, and many places had a men-only policy in the past, but there are plenty of clubs that are much more progressive and are actually making an effort to support the women’s game.
For now, it’s them that should be rewarded.