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

The Scoop

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 s.carroll@sportspub.co.uk, or you can contact me via Twitter or Instagram.

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