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R&A Chief toes the party line on men-only clubs

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R&A Chief Peter Dawson toed the party line at a pre-Open Championship news conference.

Regarding the issue of single-sex golf clubs, Dawson laid out a buffet of dubious and predictable quotes in defense of the right of private clubs to exclude women as members and the R&A’s decision to hold championships at such clubs.

For the R&A in general and Peter Dawson in particular, this is a depressing reiteration of a tired and out of step posture.

Here’s a few gems from Dawson’s conference:

The whole issue of gender and single-sex clubs has been pretty much beaten to death recently … We understand that it is divisive. And it’s a subject we’re finding increasingly difficult, to be honest.

Single-sex clubs are in a very small minority in the U.K.

They’re perfectly legal.

In our view, they don’t do any harm.

We think the right of association is important.

We think they have no material affect on participation.

Needless to say, Dawson’s PR man-style parrying didn’t sit well with many on Twitter, including LPGA Tour player Paige Mackenzie and major championship winner Steve Elkington:

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In response to a question about how men-only policies compare to whites-only policies, the chief replied,

Oh, goodness me…I think that’s a ridiculous question, if I may say so. To compare racial discrimination or anti-Semitism with a men’s golf club is frankly absurd.

That assertion in particular didn’t sit well with many in the Twitterverse, including Golf Digest Global Golf Director and columnist Stina Sternberg, as well as English LPGA Tour player Karen Stupples, whom she retweeted.

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It’s a strange paradox that, on the same day that Mr. Dawson said all of the aforementioned, elsewhere in the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II — symbol of grand traditions, established order and a rigid version of social conservatism — put her stamp on a bill legalizing same-sex unions.

Regardless of your stance on that issue, it’s a bizarre, almost surreal, day in the United Kingdom.

It’s a strange cultural moment when the Queen of England looks vastly more progressive and in-step with the modern world than the head of a ruling body of golf. Dawson is close to casting his lot with…what accurate parallel can we even draw here?

Really, choose from any number of historical examples of organizations who have fallen on the wrong side of an ideological divide and acted accordingly and you’ve identified the posture Dawson and the R&A have taken with their “we’ll talk about it later/it’s not that big of a deal” attitude and continued willingness to preserve the places of discriminatory establishments in the Open rota.

However, there’s hope yet! As Dawson indicated, the R&A plan to revisit the situation after the Open Championship. We’ll see how the English punters feel about the odds of Dawson taking a stand or cutting clubs out of the rota. But I can almost be certain that Todd Hamilton has a better chance at capturing his second Open Championship.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Conrad MacDonald

    Jul 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    This truly shouldn’t be a big issue. Clubs are exclusionary groups of people that generally share a interest, now people are complaining its not fair. It is a private and can do what it wants to as long as its within the law. There are many women only clubs in the UK as well just to put that out there, and you don’t see men complaining about that.

  2. Blanco

    Jul 19, 2013 at 4:35 am

    The golf world and the media (notice the amount of CNN, Huffington, etc. in attendance) unfortunately fail to point out the “discrimination” that is actually AFFECTING THE GAME.

    I believe that feminism, like most “isms” in life, lost its credo due to those in power dictating the issues as opposed to letting the grassroots voices of women dictate the definition of a feminist.

    The golf issue being talked about (sexism, discrimination), and the ideology (more women in the game, more participation, less stigma surrounding golf) should not be focused on THE HONORABLE COMPANY OF …. and their membership but instead the economic issues that continue to paint golf as a “stuffy” and “old fashioned” sport.

    Let the media talk about poverty and the world’s “new middle class” being wholly unable to afford a sport like golf… This is a game dominated (largely) by those upper-class kids and their parents… those who grew up with the silver spoon that comes with belonging to the most expensive/exclusive country clubs in the world.

    PARTICIPATION IS DOWN not because certain private courses exclude women, but because those young ones who wish to start playing, and whose household income is not approaching the high five figures, has no financial means in which to learn, practice, and play at even the local muni let alone a private club.

    The knock on the game (it’s “stuffiness”) has more to do with the lack of golf programs in public schools, the expense of equipment, coaching, and facilities. I would love to see how much the PGA is using those charitable dollars on promoting golf in our public school system or pumping cash into struggling munis with a history of advancing the junior game.

    To the author, the LPGA players, and the media at large: these are clubs so exclusionary simply in their expense that talking about a small minority of single-sex clubs within that group is silly IMHO.

    Yes, USGA/R&A– get smart and stop holding Majors at clubs with a history of racism, sexism, anti-semitism, and other less-overt forms of “discrimination”…

    Media– get smart and start finding the real stories in golf as opposed to the same old recycled headlines year after year. By the way– journalism will be OFFICIALLY DEAD if we stop teaching it in schools and let the bloggers permanently redefine its definition and importance. LONG LIVE THE NEW NORK TIMES.

  3. J

    Jul 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    There’s all kinds of ” clubs ” that have exclusionary membership.

    There are thousands of ” clubs ” dedicated to women, minorities, sexual orientation…. All kinds of women’s only clubs.

    It’s a simple principle.

    You either agree with or disagree with exclusionary practices.

    You don’t get to disagree with the ideal of a Men’s Only Golf Club if you think it’s ok for women to have their own gym.

    Stop focusing on the details…. IT’S CALLED A PRINCIPLE. 🙂

  4. james

    Jul 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Why do people feel the need to force their beliefs on others? It’s a private club! They can do what they want in a free society. There are plenty of golf courses women can join, and if you think it’s unfair start your own club, women only.

    They don’t need a legit reason, it’s PRIVATE. There are lots of women only organizations in the world and you don’t see men up in arms about that.

    Forcing them to open to women is absurd. Just another thing for feminazis to latch on to.

    • JJ

      Jul 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      Well said James, I totally agree. Women could care less about being a member of these clubs. They only want to because they are being told “they can’t be.” Any private club should be allowed to make it’s own rules, hence the name “private.” Most clubs don’t allow denim to be worn anywhere in the club. Should jean manufacturers being going crazy about boycotting these clubs? Maybe a bad example, but an example none the less.

  5. H.

    Jul 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Legally speaking, privately owned entities generally have the right to discriminate however they choose, but what is right legally should not necessarily be conflated with what is right ethically. Perhaps there are legitimate reasons for male-only clubs, but I’ve yet to read one here. Sorry, but “guys need a place to escape from women” is not sufficient. And statements like “why don’t the groups that don’t like these same sex golf clubs start their own?” smack of the separate-but-equal doctrine that justified systems of segregation for far too long. Further, equating women’s exclusion from membership at golf clubs with men not being allowed in women’s locker rooms is patently absurd. If “some of the players never come to the media center for interviews,” that’s an issue that should be taken up with the player (as I’m sure accommodations could be made if the player so chooses); it is not a justification for allowing men in women’s locker rooms. As for Allan’s comment, the author of this article never makes the claim that there are no differences in the respective natures of men and women (though some feminists would likely take you to task on that point). However, a difference in nature, if acknowledged, certainly shouldn’t be used to justify discrimination. The mention of Ms. Saxonhouse’s book seems a bit misplaced given its focus (ancient Greek life and texts), but considering Saxonhouse criticizes the Greeks’ fear of the feminine, argues that the exclusion of women is detrimental, and sees unity “not as a seamless and homogenous whole but as a method of incorporation,” it’s unlikely she’d be on your side of this argument. In all, most of these comments merely serve to illustrate the far-too-prevalent opinions that undergird the discriminatory practices (gender-based and otherwise) of our culture. Thanks to Matt M. and Ryan for showing some thoughtfulness regarding the issue at hand.

    • Gregory Moore - PGA

      Jul 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Reading (completely and comprehending) is lost on most people these days.

      My comparison was women members of the media being allowed to do their job on the PGA Tour and male media members not, on the LPGA by way of full equal access to the players.

    • Allan

      Jul 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      The author does not make the claim, hence “my guess is…” Of course, if the author did believe there to exist differences in the natures of men and women, differences that made them dualistic beings as opposed to identical beings with different genitalia, then he would admit that there are sufficient grounds for having gender-based clubs. So my guess is likely to be somewhat accurate, whether the author is aware of what is driving his moral indignation over gender-based clubs or not.

      My main issue with Ben’s article was its complete lack of acknowledgement or awareness of other alternatives, not necessarily where he fell on the issue. He frames the entire situation in such a way that he shuts the door on alternative ways of thinking about the issues. My allusion to Nietzsche’s Last Man gets at the underlying sentiment of Ben and all people like him; rather than make an effort to understand people of the past as they understood themselves, it’s easier to cast all the instances in the past of everything that currently is considered a prejudice in our modern, enlightened, progressive world, as antiquated insanity or prejudiced bigotry. Every society and epoch has a tendency to think of its own ways as the most natural, and just (or at least as moving in the direction of justice); they each look to history and laugh at the follies of the past, but articles like this only exacerbate the difficulty we have in seeing ourselves in the same way.

      Your belief that my mentioning Ms. Saxonhouse’s book is misplaced likely stems from your not having read it (despite pulling quotes from somewhere). Had you read even the first 5 pages you would have come across a sentence that encapsulates what makes her discussion of issues of diversity and unity terrific and what is missing from Ben’s article (granted, a different piece of writing here on GolfWRX, but it does, nevertheless, matter): “Are the divisions that place men, but not women, in political power natural? Or do regimes such as the one Praxagora institutes, which effaces all such distinctions, destroy artificial boundaries? I do not propose to answer such broad questions. Rather, this exploration of Greek thought is to draw out the various ways of considering these problems, as well as ramifications of one view or another.” Even a modicum of such a sentiment cannot be found in Ben’s article, which is designed to prosthelytize and lead people to believe there is only one right way of thinking rather than to genuinely explore the issue. The fact that you find Matt M and Ryan’s comments to be the only thoughtfulness in this forum might demonstrate your own personal unwillingness to consider ideas other than the ones you already believe. You suggest that there may be genuine arguments for male-only (and don’t forget women’s only) clubs, but that you’ve yet to read one here; my guess is that you have never and will never read one anywhere, simply because your mind is already made up on the issue. You’re like an atheist who says “I’ll believe in God if I see a miracle;” but nothing can be a miracle for such a man, everything has to have an explanation, his understanding of the world simply doesn’t allow for things such as miracles. The problem, of course, extends well beyond the question of gender-based clubs. Such a way of thinking tends to pervade all questions in the world, questions which have been debated and discussed for centuries but which for you and Ben seem to have obvious answers. The answers are neither obvious nor unavailable, but they do require an openness to considering alternatives which go against the grain of our time.

      • Nicole

        Jul 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        Allan, you keep referring to these “alternative” ways of thinking and viewing the subject, yet you mention none. I’d like to hear of these sufficient grounds for having gender-based clubs, because I agree with H, I haven’t seen any on this thread.

        Yes, private clubs can do as they wish, no one here is disputing that… but by denying someone wearing jeans, the club is suggesting your average Joe in cut-offs doesn’t look good enough to join. By pricing memberships obscenely high, they suggest people who make 30k a year aren’t rich enough to have a membership. And so on what grounds are they denying women membership? For one reason: because they are women. Please share, on what grounds is this okay? On what grounds is this not discrimination based on sex? I anxiously await your response, since you so clearly have the answer.

        It may be true that societies “look to history and laugh at the follies of the past,” but don’t imply that everyone of that society views history in such a narrow light. Many of us do attempt to get close enough to the past to see their world a bit more like they did and understand that some things that are not okay now were okay then… Those of us who are capable of viewing the past in such a way are also very capable and often do view our modern world with the same critical eye. But that doesn’t mean we should automatically look at issues that our societal progression has deemed unethical and dismiss them as ethical simply because are able to analyze them objectively. So we take a step out, we view the alternative ways of viewing a subject–– it’s perfectly okay for us to circle back around and say “yep, that’s still discrimination.”

        And lastly, more generally speaking, these answers that you claim are neither obvious nor unavailable… sure, they may not be obvious (so how can you fault anyone for creating a dialogue about such difficult questions, sharing perspectives and provoking people to re-examine their stance, however open or unopen their mindfulness is); however, these answers are most certainly unavailable, because you say yourself, every society thinks itself most natural and just. These answers are most unavailable because these questions and issues are subjective and 100% dependent on each individual’s experiences. If you think you have the answer to this debate, then I eagerly welcome you genuinely explore the issue, to share your knowledge, which we so clearly are all in need of.

        • Allan

          Jul 19, 2013 at 10:25 am

          Surely you can’t believe that “these answers are most unavailable,” that “these questions and issues are subjective and 100% dependent on each individual’s experiences.” Were that the case then you wouldn’t have any more basis for claiming Peter Dawson’s position is wrong than you would in claiming that his position on which ice cream flavor is the best is wrong. But of course this is not the case. You believe gender-based clubs are examples of discrimination and that this type of discrimination is unethical and wrong. You have a claim to something higher than your own personal preference, preference only creating for a situation where everyone does their own thing and has the tolerance of everyone else. But that isn’t the situation here in this article, nor do I believe it to be situation in general. You want Muirfield and all clubs and people who stand for those principles to understand their injustice and end the discrimination.

          My sense from your tone and words is that you do not anxiously await my response and have not completely understood my posts as you believe I “clearly have the answer.” I never made a claim to having an answer, nor do I feel my posts insinuate I do. My posts were directed at the way Ben’s article approached the issue, not with where he fell on the issue. I was only looking for a fair presentation of the issue. One alternative understanding of the question would require one to entertain the idea of something like masculine and a feminine natures, and concomitantly, virtues which correspond to these natures. Entertaining such an idea (which has largely existed since antiquity) would require one to be comfortable with stepping outside of our world today where gender roles are a big no-no, where men and women are confused about who should act how, nay, are completely opposed to the idea that anyone should act any particular way, with our age’s prime virtue being freedom and self-expression. This is what I meant when I said that Ben cares only to understand the issue on his terms; he assumes from the outset that gender-specific virtues do not exist and that men and women should have no interest or freedom to gather amongst themselves without the presence of their counterparts, where men can be men without the presence of women and women can be women without the presence of men. Now of course, it may be the case that such virtues do not exist or that they do exist but are insufficient grounds for gender-based clubs, but by ascribing bigoted beliefs to people who support gender-based clubs Ben and his kind manage to by-pass any consideration of another understanding of the issue, any difficulty in grappling with a very difficult question, and make the whole problem into a non-problem, or a supposed problem with an obvious answer.

          Of course, it is not easy to take seriously ideas that were taken seriously in the past and requires a genuine doubt about knowledge and the precepts of one’s own time. But Ben and his supporters (and to be fair, many of his dissenters as well) do not strike me as people who feel they lack knowledge.
          My sense from your tone and words is that you do not anxiously await my response and have not completely understood my posts as you believe I “clearly have the answer.” I never made a claim to having an answer, nor do I feel my posts insinuate I do. My posts were directed at the way Ben’s article approached the issue, not with where he fell on the issue. I was only looking for a fair presentation of the issue. One alternative understanding of the question would require one to entertain the idea of something like masculine and a feminine natures, and concomitantly, virtues which correspond to these natures. Entertaining such an idea (which has largely existed since antiquity) would require one to be comfortable with stepping outside of our world today where gender roles are a big no-no, where men and women are confused about who should act how, nay, are completely opposed to the idea that anyone should act any particular way, with our age’s prime virtue being freedom and self-expression. This is what I meant when I said that Ben cares only to understand the issue on his terms, not on the terms of those who may believe gender-based clubs are okay; he assumes from the outset that gender-specific virtues do not exist and that men and women should have no interest or freedom to gathering amongst “their kind” without the presence of their counterparts. Now of course, it may be the case that such virtues don’t exist or that they do and are insufficient grounds for gender-based clubs, but by ascribing bigoted beliefs to people who support gender-based clubs Ben and his kind manage to by-pass any consideration of another understanding of the issue and make the whole problem into a non-problem, an obvious answer.

          Of course, this is not easy to do and requires a genuine doubt about knowledge. But Ben and his supporters (and to be fair, many of his dissenters as well) do not strike me as people who feel they lack knowledge, that sense there is more to learn. Such self doubt is what leads one to question the most obvious questions and answers of their time.

  6. Allan

    Jul 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Ben – Clubs are naturally exclusionary and thus “discriminatory” in some sense; my guess is you have a particular problem with men’s only (and for the sake of logical consistency, women’s only) clubs because you feel there is little difference between the natures of men and women, and thus insufficient grounds for allowing people the freedom to establish clubs based partially on gender. You’re surely wrong on this point, though the modernity you so highly praise in your article has done much to blur the difference. Arlene Saxonhouse’s book The Fear of Diversity has a wonderful chapter titled Women and The Tragic Denial of Difference; reading work such as Ms. Saxonhouse’s would contribute to your understanding of the issue at hand far more than scouring the “twitterverse” for the opinions of profound thinkers such as Steve Elkington and Paige Mackenzie. I was compelled to comment on your article, my first post after many years of visiting the WRX site, because I was struck by the way you unfairly cast Peter Dawson (and those who happen to share his opinion that private clubs should have a right to be gender based) as an outdated, traditionalist bigot whose interest is to discriminate against certain groups. You care only to understand the argument for gender-based clubs on your own terms, making no effort to understand it on the terms of those who hold the opinion. This makes it quite easy to knock down the opposition, but as a writer you do have a certain responsibility to your readership to present the argument fairly and not deny them the awareness that there are other alternatives. I can only imagine that you have completely ignored the alternative view point because (a) it was more expedient to set up a strawman and knock it down, or (b) your understanding of the issue is bereft to the point where you genuinely believe there to be no other alternatives worthy of consideration. For you, I imagine excluding women from a golf club is as groundless as (to use a very famous example from literature) excluding bald men; with thinking like this its very easy to jump on board with your so-called “progressive” ideas, “in step with the modern world.” Needless to say, I strongly encourage you to reconsider the issue, or at least cease writing articles that lead people to believe it’s a black and white case of sexism. The idea that gender-based clubs are akin to race-based clubs is mistaken, despite what you and Ms. Sternberg, and demonstrates a profound lack of reflection on the role of gender vs the role of skin color.

    Of course, a different issue with your article is that you make believe having men’s-only clubs makes the game as a whole less accessible, which is patently untrue as the poster Joe above points out. Luckily for you no organization can escape the pressure of public opinion, and Murfield will eventually go the way of Augusta National and just give the issue up, not finding it worth it to endure the opprobrium of sexist.

    “Formerly all the world was mad,’ say the most refined, and they blink.”

  7. Joe

    Jul 18, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Paige is way off base. Clubs like Muirfield, Burning Tree, and Pine Valley excluding women has nothing to do with how accesible the game of golf is or is not. If you aren’t weathly and connected you’ll be excluded from these clubs as well. There are probably well less than 1000 people that would even be CONSIDERED for membership at clubs like these.

    When well less than 1% of clubs worldwide have these policies don’t tell me its bad for the game. Most of the courses she plays to make a living on I don’t have the connections to get on nor could I afford the green fees, but I can go down the street and play a Muni that Sam Snead won the 1948 PGA on for $25…..

    • nb1062

      Jul 18, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Joe is 100% right. It isn’t any different than having a private club of any type. They get to say who and who cannot play at their club. Many times they exclude people by simply having extremely high membership dues. This is definitely a case of political correctness and the media fanning the flames to get some sort of a story out of it.

  8. aaron

    Jul 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

    In his presser he was spot on in the fact that this is only an issue because of the Media…what a distraction from one of the most exciting tournaments of the year..

  9. Magnumpl

    Jul 18, 2013 at 1:42 am

    When did Augusta allowed women to join? This article sounds like in US you dont have men only clubs for at least 40 years already…

  10. Flip4000

    Jul 18, 2013 at 1:09 am

    I would actually like to see the numbers on how many women actually would pay to be members of the club if they opened their doors to women tommorow

  11. steven

    Jul 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    nothing wrong with signle sexx clubs, i prefer to have females playing however just like some gym which are female only, if you dont like it form your own course.
    people worry too much about these little things, just dont support the club (which you cant anyway) and goto a club that does support it.
    Next will be women playing on saturdays, again nothing wrong with this but i cant see it happening at all clubs. i believe some clubs allow it. Everyone has a choose, and do you really want to be a member of a club that does not welcome females. just look at augusta, the black and female members just to please the world.

    • Ryan

      Jul 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

      I don’t know what is so hard to understand about this issue. It isn’t about men’s only clubs it is about men’s only clubs hosting these big tournaments. Golf wants to be in inclusive sport and grow yet the perpetuate the belief that it is okay to discriminate because they have been doing it that way for years.

  12. Matt M

    Jul 17, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    These sediments are at the end of their lifespan. No matter how you look at it, discriminations is discrimination. Once again with numbers of rounds played dropping why do all of these exclusionary ideals still hold merit with the controlling bodies?

    • yo!

      Jul 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      it’s obviously discrimination on the basis of gender
      i bet the don’t have nonwhite members either, but i’m not sure
      it’s a private club so they are well within the law definitely in the UK and also if they were in the US
      making the argument that because we have different bathrooms for men and women then we can have different environments is ridiculous
      the only response is to boycott the open, the r&a, and muirfield
      but many european institutions as the are today accept racisms and sexisms that is otherwise not tolerated in the U.S. Anyone who has experience, dealings, and lived in Europe and perceptive enough realizes this.
      … as they say, when in rome …

  13. pablo

    Jul 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I agree with Greg, especially regarding the gyms. And come on, guys need a place to escape from women, and seriously if there is such a demand, then where are the women only golf clubs!?

    • Greg Moore - PGA

      Jul 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      There are some women’s only “clubs” in Scotland though not sure if there are women’ only golf courses. The R&A is a member’s only “club” that has a building at St Andrews. The courses at St Andrews are open to anyone. There are only male members of the Royal & Ancient club.

      Muirfield is a male on golf course.

    • Greg Moore - PGA

      Jul 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Rarely, if ever do the players change clothes in the locker rooms. Change shoes, maybe.

      Some of the players never come to the media center for interviews. Some media may be doing a specific story on a player and there isn’t any interest by the rest of the media corps to interview that player. So a meeting in the locker room is a quiet place to get a few quotes.

      So basically you’re trying to justify years of discrimination (by gender or race) by saying reverse discrimination is okay to make up for past wrongs?

    • Sam

      Jul 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

      I agree with you Pablo, if this is such an issue, why don’t the groups that don’t like these same sex golf clubs start their own, then they will have some place to get away from everything??

      I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal, when there are groups that have memberships all over the world and there are certain requirements to join, but no one cares. If you don’t meet all the requirements, then you can’t complain. This one just happens to be that you have to be a male to join.

      I mean, the PGA let’s females try and qualify for their tournaments or even give sponsor exemptions to play. Will the LPGA let male golfers try and qualify or hand out sponsors exemptions for their tournaments? I’m sure they won’t, so isn’t that discrimination?

      There are bigger issues in the world, then to focus on these same-sex golf clubs, like when they were trying to hammer away at Augusta National, they can do whatever they want, as long as they follow the laws (and they did).

  14. Greg Moore - PGA

    Jul 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    It is interesting to read what an member of the LPGA has to say about exclusionary practices (to be totally honest, I have know Paige since she was 9 years old), when the LPGA itself has exclusionary practices when it comes to male members of the media with a tour media credential.

    On the PGA Tour, any member of the media who is credentialed by the PGA Tour with a photo id badge is allowed access into the player’s locker room. Male or female media are treated exactly the same in this regard.

    On the LPGA Tour the player’s locker room is off limits to any male media, even if they have a photo id badge. This practice also limits the ability of the male equipment company reps from doing their job of putting the player’s weekly allotment of caps, gloves and golf balls into the player’s lockers.

    The women equipment company reps have access to the LPPGA locker room to complete their jobs.

    Seems like their is a disconnect when it comes to standing up for equal rights.

    Don’t even get me started on the women’s only gyms!!!

    Greg

    • Ryan

      Jul 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      I have been around enough meat heads in gyms to know why there are women’s only gyms. They want the ability to work out without getting gawked and hounded over.

      I don’t think the main argument against men’s only clubs is because women don’t want them to have their own place. I think it is mainly the support of tournament dollars and prestige going to these clubs. I believe the PGA has a rule regarding their tournaments not being held at clubs that are exclusive based on race or sex.

      It would probably be wise to read up on women’s suffrage it may give you a clearer picture on men’s vs women’s rights.

      • Greg Moore - PGA

        Jul 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm

        Okay, so you have a reason (not saying it’s a good one) for there being women only gyms. Have any response as to why men are not afforded the same access as women to do their job on the LPGA?

        • Ryan

          Jul 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

          Same reason they have women only gyms, comfort. They can’t be comfortable in a locker room with men around because of the long history of being treated like a possession rather then a human being.

          To tell you the truth I think all press should be banned from locker rooms there are better locations to interviews athletes other then when they are changing their clothes.

          I can’t believe it is that hard to understand. Women were only allowed to vote less then a 100 years ago that should give you an idea of how they have been oppressed, as well as the violent crimes that are perpetuated against women on a daily basis by men.

          It would probably do you good to take a hard look at what women and minorities have been through to get to where we are today and how much further we/they still need to come.

          • RER

            Jul 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

            If being ogled by men is the problem then why do the women dress the way they do on the LPGA Tour? If you have watched any LPGA event you can’t help but notice the small revealing skirts and shorts. Perhaps men wouldn,t gawk at them if they dressed in modest clothing say 1903 era.

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In the final tuneup before the PGA Championship in San Francisco, many of the world’s best teed it up at Memphis’ TPC Southwind in the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. The final day showcased a stacked leaderboard and plenty of volatility, but in the end, it was Justin Thomas who came from four back to win for the third time this year. This was a quick bounceback after a letdown at The Memorial just a few weeks ago. Winning on the PGA Tour certainly takes stellar play and, typically, a little luck like Thomas’ pulled drive on 15 that skirted off a cart path, over a bridge and into prime position for a late birdie. Had that tee ball found the hazard instead, this article would likely be about Brooks Koepka and his late charge.

Golf is a game of misses and taking advantage of good breaks. That is not to take away from JT’s week of stellar ball striking. He finished the week first in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and second in Strokes Gained Approach. That’s no surprise for the new number one in the world. What is surprising is how poorly Thomas putted throughout the week. It is extremely rare for a PGA Tour winner to lose strokes to the field with the putter, but that is exactly what Thomas did.

In Ways to Win, it is rare that we highlight Short Game as a differentiating factor for winners. That is typically because to excel in the short game, one has to miss quite a few greens. When you miss greens, it’s hard to score. However, Justin Thomas was able to consistently get himself out of difficult situations, minimize damage, and turn bogeys into pars throughout his four rounds.

If you want to be an elite player, you can’t do it with your short game alone. It sure comes in handy on those off days, though. Just how good was Thomas’ short game? He finished fourth for the week in Strokes Gained Around the Green and got up and down inside 75 yards more than 80 percent of the time (including several clutch up and downs late on Sunday). His touch was particularly crucial, given that his putter wasn’t really cooperating.

Again, it is very rare for a PGA Tour winner to lose strokes with the flatstick. Typically the winner is the best putter out of the best ball strikers, but not so this week. Thomas only three-putted twice for the week. However, he lost strokes to the field from three out of nine distance buckets that we analyzed using V1 Game’s putting breakdown.

In four other buckets, he was almost “net zero” in strokes gained with the putter. He only gained strokes with the putter from inside six feet. Making short putts is certainly a big key to golfing success. That is why short misses are highlighted in V1 Game’s post-round analysis: missing short putts is a quick way to compound errors. Thomas is not an elite putter by any means, but he is typically solid in the clutch.

V1 Game makes it easy to keep track of personal bests and track progress in a tournament. Any stat that the PGA Tour gives can be recreated with V1 Game. Here are some quick stats for Thomas’ week using V1 Game’s Personal Bests feature:

Total Score: 267
Best Round: 65
Worst Round: 70
Longest Drive: 347 yds
Longest Holeout: 28 ft
Most consecutive holes without a bogey: 24
Scrambling Streak: 9 in a row
Holes without a 3 putt: 20
Most birdies in a round: 6

Thomas certainly played well when it mattered, resisting the urge to look at a scoreboard throughout the final round and focusing on the job at hand. His patience paid off with his 13th victory in a young career. Short game play is a fantastic equalizer and a great tool for any golfer’s bag. However, Thomas really separates himself with ball striking.

The best way to improve your short game is to miss fewer greens, like JT. For most amateurs, short game practice should focus on eliminating mistakes, such as “two-chips” when you do miss the green. Once you can consistently get on the green and have a putt to get up and down, focus should shift to the long game. Tee to Green play is where the game’s best separate themselves from the weekend warriors.

V1 Game can help you with each of these items.

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On Spec

On Spec: Talking Kirkland wedge, LPGA Tour, and teased irons from TaylorMade & Mizuno

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In this episode of On Spec, host Ryan talks about the recently discovered Kirkland Signature wedges on the USGA Conforming list, as well as what recently spotted TaylorMade and Mizuno irons may have in store
Also with the LPGA Tour back in action, Ryan also discussed why it is a good idea to check out how LPGA players gap their bags compared to players on the PGA Tour.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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