Only A Game? Stop congratulating the apologetic sexists

Rory McIlroy.
Rory McIlroy.
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St. Andrew’s Golf Club has been praised for agreeing to admit women as members.

Quite frankly, I think to congratulate an organisation that has to put the idea of gender equality to a vote is ludicrous.

The official name of golf’s ruling body is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrew’s - the word ‘ancient’ is quite apt, don’t you think?

It’s known as the home of golf and of the world’s greatest have played there but the fact that it has taken 260 years to agree to permit women to become members is absolutely embarrassing.

The decision of the Royal and Ancient, who described the vote as “overwhelmingly” in favour of allowing women to join, should be celebrated; those who voted in favour should not be congratulated. Instead, what should happen is a complete change of the way not just the golf club but the sport is presented.

Physical strength and stamina is extremely important to golfers and whilst men might be physically stronger than women it does mean that governing bodies should be able to exclude.

If women want to join a golf club then there should be no ifs and no buts. The days of gentleman’s clubs filled to the brim with cigar smoking, red wine drinking sexists is over. This is 2014, not an episode of ‘Mad Men’.

Cabinet Secretary for Sport and Equalities in Scotland, Shona Robison praised the decision, saying: “In the week before Scotland welcomes golf fans from across the world for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, this decision by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews to admit women members is another step on the road to full equality in sport and society.

“This decision by the world’s most exclusive and prestigious golf club sees real progress towards making golf a more equal sport, which is very important.”

Ms. Robison said it was a “step on the road to full equality”. This is utterly insane. Politicians congratulating members of a poxy golf club for entering the 21st century is not progressive, it’s actually quite pathetic.

For years, St. Andrew’s has benefited financially from staging some of the world’s top gold tournaments but all during that time their sexist attitude was tolerated.

But now, we are supposed to thank them for doing what was essentially the right thing? I don’t think so.

Once you step away from the glitz and glamour of the amazing talent of Rory McIlrory et al you soon start to see that at grass roots level, golf is one of the sports still stuck in the Medieval times.

Even football, which has suffered its fair share of sexism allegations, is moving heaven and earth to promote women’s football but when it comes to golf it’s a different story.

When it comes to sport I have lost count how many times I have heard the talking heads on television talk about ‘inspiring a generation’ but what hope has golf got of inspiring young girls to take up the sport when they have to wait for a bunch of, let’s face it, insecure sexists, to decide whether they’re okay with gender equality.

Will things change as a direct result of this vote? Probably not. One vote will not root out sexism in sport but challenging it at every singly opportunity will.