Golf course: men only
August 25, 2001 12:22 AM   Subscribe

Golf course: men only PGA golfer Fred Couples is helping build a golf course open only to men. Is this any different from a womens-only gym, or more sinister?
posted by owillis (35 comments total)
Not sinister. You would'nt hear men complaining if a 'ladies only' course was opened.
posted by Atom Heart Mother at 12:29 AM on August 25, 2001

If this Testoster-course does open, I will encourage as many openly gay men to visit it as possible, and in accordance, require them to display their affection in public.

Same deal applies to a 'women-only' area as well.
posted by Down10 at 12:45 AM on August 25, 2001

I think persecution and discrimination of women in countries like Afghanistan, or (closer to home) sexual harassment at the workplace, should be our primary concerns in gender issues, rather than this ridiculous bickering about golf courses that cater to only a select group of the high class population, who, as it seems, are too bored and have to find "controversial" issues to argue.
posted by dai at 1:12 AM on August 25, 2001

Country clubs, where the large number of golf courses reside, have always been based on exclusivity. Your ability, as a member, to disclude those who "don't fit in" has been a cherished perk. Since it is difficult, if not impossible, to refuse membership based on race or color these days, these clubs seek out other methods of establishing exclusivity in order to attract members.

In reality, this is merely a throwback to the days when woman were exlcuded from golf courses and tennis courts or only allowed limited access, at the whim of the male members. Membership in a club such as the one described woudl raise a red flag in my dealings with these people. Do you really want to associate with someone who makes publically excluding people a part of their everyday lives? I would wonder what other archaic ideas they might be harboring.

Hold people responsible for their actions. Do business with others, socialize with others, assist others who behave in ways that do not offend your better nature, if not your ethics. Only when their choices become a disadvantage will they see the error of their ways.
posted by dewelch at 1:26 AM on August 25, 2001

I'm no symapthaizer with golf people or golf culture in general, which, in my humble opinion, is the biggest waste of grass since Cheech shifted to more "substantial" acting, but I don't think it's so horrible to have a few gender specific clubs. Men and women are fundamentally different in many ways, and there is a unavoidably different dynamic when ever the sexes mix. Sometimes people need a break from each other.
posted by dong_resin at 2:19 AM on August 25, 2001

Yeah, but that's why there should be men-only bars (oh yeah, I've been to a few, but the men there didn't mind me. Perhaps that was because they were gay). If I were doing free association on "hanging out with the guys", I would think fishing, strip clubs, and sports bars -- not chasing a little white ball around a precisely-shaved lawn.

Man, what pussies. Can't handle the women being around their little white balls.
posted by meep at 2:42 AM on August 25, 2001

Trying to read some kind of gender warfare conspiracy into this is giving these elitist assholes way too much credit. I think these guys just want to be able to burp and fart and tell blonde jokes while they play golf. No big deal. If they want to exclude women, the women are probably better off anyway. Unfortunately, there's no shortage of golf courses, so women golfers shouldn't have too much trouble finding a place to play.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:39 AM on August 25, 2001

Ban Golf!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:41 AM on August 25, 2001

posted by ordinaryworld at 7:20 AM on August 25, 2001

can someone tell me why this is different than fraternities or sororities? really.
posted by o2b at 7:43 AM on August 25, 2001

All I know is that I worked at a golf course over the summer, and 95% of the members were complete assholes. Thank you.
posted by Mark at 8:16 AM on August 25, 2001

I don't know about all of you, but if someone opens a business, spending their money to open it, I think they get to choose who their clientele is. People in America, at least, have this notion that human rights = consumer rights. Yes, I agree that every person has a right to not be beaten and harmed because of their a) race, b) sexuality, c) religion, d) insert your favorite here, but that doesn't mean _I_ have a right to be able to consume _your_ product.

Now if it were a golf course paid for by the government, that's different. That's everybody's money and should belong to everybody. This is something built by a man, and should be available to whomever he pleases.
posted by aschulak at 8:30 AM on August 25, 2001

aschulak - with the greatest possible respect, that's utter bollocks. Imagine telling a black man in alabama in 1960 that a restuarant with a sign saying "no coloreds" is only a violation of his consumer rights, not his human rights.
posted by pascal at 8:42 AM on August 25, 2001

My guess is that the niche they are trying to appease are golfers who don't want to play courses that have short holes and women's tee boxes. But what I don't understand is if that is the case, why not include everyone, and just have your longer tee distances. If women want to (and can) play at that level, why would/should the members care if they play? I would think that alot of women golfers want to (and could) play at those distances, probably better than most men. But then again, maybe that's why they don't want women there in the first place.
posted by magnetbox at 8:42 AM on August 25, 2001

I'm against this. I think when it comes to men-only or women-only policies the two things need to be considered separately; they are different. Women have different vulnerability's to men, and their history is one of being kept in their place. To have men-exclusive establishments is to validate and continue that repression and issue a smug statement of superiority. The same doesn't apply in reverse. If women only ones existed i'd be all for them, and they'd be for the right reasons. Women like to feel safe whilst in remote areas like a golf course and if no men were allowed that sense of safety becomes much more attainable allowing them to relax and enjoy without being drooled at or wolf-whistled (or much worse). The same doesn't apply to men. There isn't much of a risk of a man being raped by a woman in a bunker and however remote the possibilities of it happening to any one woman, efforts to elimination such risks (and the feelings of ease and security they would bring) would not only be spot on marketing (if there were enough women golfers around) but acceptable justification for women-only policies to be established. Such a niche wouldn't alter the fact that there's hardly a shortage of golf courses out there for everyone else to enjoy. This men-only one, however, stinks.
posted by Kino at 9:05 AM on August 25, 2001

Pascal -- Well, in my opinion it is bollocks. Pure discrimination for discriminations sake seems very silly in our times. Not that it isn't practiced, I am not blind, but it does seem silly.

However, I don't see why someone opening a business MUST cater to every individual. Why? A business is a privately owned entity (unless they "go public") and while its private I don't understand why it shouldn't be allowed to operate in the manner that they choose.

How is saying a business MUST cater to every person any different from saying that I MUST be friends with every person. As a person I have likes and dislikes and I am free to act on them provided killing and maiming aren't in my repertoire. If I open a business, why can't I choose my clientele?
posted by aschulak at 9:25 AM on August 25, 2001

I don't really understand where the need to exclude women comes from here. It's not like the men will be forced to include women in their foursomes. They can still choose who they play with, they can burp, fart, and tell dumb jokes all they want.

You can argue that businesses can choose their customers but that only works up to a point. If you own a restaurant you can't turn away customers who walk in because they don't meet a gender or race requirement. You can turn them away for no shoes,shirts, poor hygiene etc..

If they want to ensure speedy play, then have a fitness requirement, good play then have a golf skills requirement, wealthy members have a high initiation fee. I really can't see what purpose excluding women serves other than discrimination for the sheer hell of it.
posted by srboisvert at 9:45 AM on August 25, 2001

I would have to agree with the "most club members are assholes"; I'm related to some of them, and they've told the rest of the family all the boorish things they do.

I am so ashamed. Perhaps it would be just as well if, as a woman, I would never be able to watch them be so unbearably rude to the caddies and the other club staff.
posted by meep at 10:06 AM on August 25, 2001

There's a women's only gym 5 minutes from my house, the closest co-ed gym in 25 minutes. I lose 40 minutes (time being my most valuable possession) of my day every time I go to the gym. At my freelance rate that extra drive time costs me $7800 a year.

Should I sue the female only gym for past and future compensation?
posted by Mick at 10:35 AM on August 25, 2001

I think when it comes to men-only or women-only policies the two things need to be considered separately

Wasn't the whole idea of the Women's rights movement not to do this?

I'm thinking in the case of a restaurant which is more of a common use type entity, versus a club which has limited membership - that a policy like this is okay.
posted by owillis at 11:05 AM on August 25, 2001

Why does anyone care about this? If a group of folks, be they red-headed, bigots, geniuses, female, fellow-believers, sports-folk or right-handed, wishes to enjoy each other's company exclusively and it is not a government enterprise, why should it be anybody's business?
posted by O Boingo at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2001

I don't see Couple's plan as something new, although I note he is trying to couch it in those terms. There are stories like this in the popular press all the time. The golfing establishment has always struck me as being one of the last bastions of male exclusivity.

"Wasn't the whole idea of the Women's rights movement not to do this?"

I think that the "idea of the Women's rights movement" was to make things fairer. However that doesn't mean that everything is. In a fair society women would be able to use (for example, since I don't enjoy golf, but have going to the gym for years) a shared gym without any problems. But having used and worked in shared gyms I know there are problems, with parking, lighting, harassment, child-care, and more mundane issues like a lot of guys don't seem to bother to put weights away.

I think this issue comes down to one of feeling comfortable. A guy can walk into a shared gym and feel instantly comfortable. A lot of women don't feel that they can without being ogle or harassed. If you genuinely wish all gyms (etc) to be shared, then both men and women have to work on these issues.

The way things are at the moment, some men might have to go out of their way to find a gym that is shared, but women also often do so to find a gym that they feel they can use without feeling scared. There are a few guys in this thread complaining about the fact that they find it an unfair deal to have to travel a bit further to visit a shared-gym. I think it would be a lot less fair to rarely be able to go out to certain places and/or at certain times without having to first having to seriously consider one's own personal safety.
posted by lucien at 12:30 PM on August 25, 2001

To my (limited) understanding of the law, they can't keep women off the course. They can limit membership to men, but they cannot limit hiring to men.
posted by NortonDC at 12:58 PM on August 25, 2001

Exterminate humanity. Problem solved.
posted by aramaic at 1:06 PM on August 25, 2001

Arizona "public accommodations" law prohibits discrimination based on race but not gender. Also, this law excludes private clubs. Employment discrimination is prohibited regardless. Awful as this case is, women-only gyms, subway cars and other single-gender institutions also contribute to a culture of separatism, sexual hostility and exclusionism.
posted by xowie at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2001

"women-only gyms, subway cars and other single-gender institutions also contribute to a culture of separatism, sexual hostility and exclusionism."

Why would I have cause to feel sexually hostile towards a woman who wants to work out in a space they feel safe in? Should they not have this space, I would only feel discomforted.
posted by lucien at 2:22 PM on August 25, 2001

"I think this issue comes down to one of feeling comfortable. A guy can walk into a shared gym and feel instantly comfortable. A lot of women don't feel that they can without being ogle or harassed. If you genuinely wish all gyms (etc) to be shared, then both men and women have to work on these issues."

Yeah, this seemed at first to me like the same old argument, the one rich whites use against affirmative action, for example.

Silly argument, cos as everyone knows, women are not treated equally in sports, they are treated horribly and for example there's much less of a chance to make a living, they are rarely encouraged by parents peers culture itself, etc.

Therefore, we as a society have a choice, to help change things, by creating a new double standard. This double standard, a socialist principle in a way, is at the heart of such things that seem to work well in our society, such as the regressive income tax, free school for those who cannot afford it, government loans for small businesses to help them compete against larger ones, etc. As we all know, these things also get perverted by the rich & powerful, so that schools for poorer districts are still quite horrible and basically like jails rather than real schools, the government ends up giving massive assistance to large corporations overseas, etc.

This abstract principle applies to golf courses by stating, in effect, women have a disproportionately small fair access to sports already, and thus the government will resist attempts on the part of the private sector to further shrink their access.

But lately I've been wondering, perhaps men, in their own hilariously repressed way, have some sort of negative effects that happen to them when women compete with them. Perhaps the government should simply say, "we will use local taxpayer money to create a sumptuous women's-only golf course right next to yours, as well as assessing your course a small or nominal surcharge to help maintain their course."

"Awful as this case is, women-only gyms, subway cars and other single-gender institutions also contribute to a culture of separatism, sexual hostility and exclusionism."

...and men-only golf courses do not? Besides, what proof do you have that all single-gender institutions do this? Perhaps different states or metro areas could experiment with this. "Come to South Dakota, where all sporting greens are segregated for your enjoyment!" Actually, we could experiment on the grand scale: "Come to Female Dakota!" All the men down in South Dakota could geographically look up their skirts, as it were.
posted by mitchel at 2:43 PM on August 25, 2001

you've got to realize that most of the golf played on those courses is not about athletic achievement, but being able to play and do business at the same time. Because of things like that, various "civic groups" were forced to let women in (like the Rotary Club), because many important business deals were being made in these (white-)men-only establishments, just further excluding women and minorities from being able to get ahead in the rat race.

truthfully, were i ever an executive, my "business play" would be over a pool table. Damn, if I'm gonna play games and do business, I might as well have some beer while I'm at it. With golf, you have to wait until the round is over (well, technically... i've seen some interesting golf-bag-bars...)
posted by meep at 3:18 PM on August 25, 2001

I'll also say this from working at a golf course: women play dramatically slower than men. Period.

Most men hate the idea of having to play behind a 4-some of women, and I could really see a men's only course being quite popular.

I don't know if it's right or wrong, but it's a good idea.
posted by Mark at 3:43 PM on August 25, 2001

I don't play myself, but come from a family of golfers (including not a few women) and my first thought on hearing about this was precisely what Mark just brought up: "Wow, you mean a course where you don't spend at least half again as long playing a round of nine holes because you're behind a four of female players as you would if the flights ahead of you were just men?!" Maybe in our rush to make this a all-too-transparent plot on the part of (white) men everywhere to exclude (insert minority here), perhaps we've actually overlooked the actual reason Couples would want to do this in the first place...
posted by m.polo at 4:29 PM on August 25, 2001

"Maybe in our rush to make this a all-too-transparent plot on the part of (white) men everywhere to exclude (insert minority here), perhaps we've actually overlooked the actual reason Couples would want to do this in the first place..."

My understanding of the thread is that the question of individual golfer's proficiency levels has already been raised, and addressed, reasonably and succinctly by magnetbox.

"If women want to (and can) play at that level, why would/should the members care if they play?"
posted by lucien at 6:20 PM on August 25, 2001

How familiar.
posted by isildur at 7:12 PM on August 25, 2001


I don't know about your argument about women being discouraged from sports. The number of women in high schools who play sports is greater than the number of men who do (so are their grades, despite lower SAT scores, and their representation on student government). I'm not saying that women sometimes encounter sexism, but, frankly, women suffer as much discrimination in sports as Asian guys do in elite colleges.

I'm truly one of the least sexist and racist people one could find, but it bugs me when people see these things where they don't really exist. And when reverse processes are used to 'make up for the history of discrimination'. Unless our generation is the one doing the discrimination (and I admit, it does happen sometimes, but, honestly, this is not 1970) reverse sexism or racism makes no sense and does nothing but further resentment between groups.
posted by Kevs at 8:54 PM on August 25, 2001

From the article, avid female golfer Dana Morton of Scottsdale put it best: "It's a free world, and if it's a private course, they can do it how they want."
posted by dack at 10:46 AM on August 27, 2001

"Can" is not the question. Of course they "can" do it. The question is more "should" they do it. And to analyse that, there is the question of "why" they want to.

Gah, I "can" go punch my husband in the nose. I even have a good reason at the moment. That doesn't mean that it is a prudent or acceptable thing for me to do.
posted by Dreama at 11:10 AM on August 27, 2001

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