So yesterday on Radio 5 Live we were treated to Peter Alliss in full flow. He spoke out again about the Muirfield not allowing women to become members. “If somebody wants to join Muirfield, you’d better get married to a member”.
“I may want to join the Womens Voluntary Service but unless I have a few bits and pieces nipped away on my body I’m not going to be able to get in’.
He then cited a conversation he had had with Muirfield wives a few years ago “Good Lord we dont want to be members. If we joined our husbands they would have to pay thousands of pounds for our entry fee and subscriptions. We can come and play and do what we want for nothing”.
Then, most tellingly, he articulated the root of the problem.
“I believe golf clubs were formed years ago by people of like spirit, doctors, lawyers, accountants to talk amongst each other and do whatever”.
In April he said “the fight for womens rights in golf has caused mayhem. It has buggered up the game for a lot of people. I’m told the Ladies Golf Union has lost 150,000 members since equality came in. Hundreds of women left when they were forced to go from paying half fare to full fare”.
Perhaps so. The Ladies Golf Union, which was no longer financially sustainable will merge with the mens R&A soon. With great change there will be birth pains, and those who do not want this change will head to the enclaves where golf continues as it did in the 1950s, but these clubs will become fewer and fewer and will eventually die out altogether. Not yet, but maybe in another fifty years.
What Peter Alliss is saying is that golf was just the means to bring together like minded people i.e. of the same social class into these clubs, to be together it was never about the sport itself. And the sport itself has suffered because of it, in terms of image and perception. Peter does long to retain golf the way it has always been, to keep the charm for those lucky enough to be socially acceptable to belong.
But in truth saying that equality for women has buggered things up for a lot of people means that people dont want to accept fairness. And in 2016 this does beggar belief. How long ago did this country have the suffragettes crying votes for women? Over a hundred years ago. It is embarassing to younger people who love golf that we’re in this position now.