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March 28, 2013

Same-Sex Golf: Four men-only golf clubs (and one for the women)

Posted at 4:54 PM by Golf.com | Categories: Augusta National

With Augusta admitting two female members, here are five more exclusionary golf havens -- and our suggestions for barrier breakers.

--By Evan Rothman


Muirfield, Gullane, E. Lothian, Scotland

Muirfield_600
Muirfield clubhouse (Getty Images).

HISTORY: Since 1891 Muirfield has been the home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, and in July it hosts the Open for the 16th time.

KEEP OUT! Last year, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Muirfield's all-male policy an "unacceptable blot on Scotland's traditions of justice for all." Said club secretary Alastair Brown, "There will be no imminent change."

MISS-CELLANEOUS: In its defense, the club has hosted two Curtis Cups, as well as its first -- and, um, last -- ladies-only Scottish Close Championship, in 1914.

BARRIER BREAKER: To shake things up, we nominate Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Her 2012 attack on a rival's alleged sexism ("If he wants to know what misogyny looks like...he needs a mirror") went viral.

 

Butler National Golf Club, Oak Brook, Ill.

Butler_18
The 18th hole at Butler National Golf Club (Larry Lambrect).

HISTORY: The club hosted the Western Open from 1974-'90, but the PGA Tour moved the event to Cog Hill in the wake of the Shoal Creek discrimination controversy.

KEEP OUT! A member recently claimed the club was in "a death spiral," due in part to exclusionary policies that drive away would-be members. Women are not allowed on-site, which at least reduces undignified flirting with beverage-cart attendants.

MISS-CELLANEOUS: Women aren't permitted, but few men can handle the George Fazio monster. Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald have called the 152-slope track major-caliber difficult.

BARRIER BREAKER: Native Chicagoan Michelle Obama doesn't play -- yet -- but in four short years she and her golf-addicted husband will have a lot more time on their hands.

 

Lochinvar Golf Club, Houston, Texas

Lochivar_18
The 18th hole at Lochinvar Golf Club (Nicklaus Design).

HISTORY: Opened in 1980 and designed by Jack Nicklaus, the 552-yard par-5 ninth hole was included in the book "1,001 Holes You Must Play Before You Die," by Jeff Barr. No dying, ladies!

KEEP OUT! "We do not have any memberships for ladies," club president Pete Van Horn has said. Fittingly, the club was named after a character in a Sir Walter Scott poem concerning a male chauvinist. Women may not tee it up even as guests.

MISS-CELLANEOUS: Lochinvar's website references only two sets of tees; Nicklaus Design's website references a third, "front" set at 6,051 yards. What, not manly enough to mention?

BARRIER BREAKER: Amy Bush, head coach of the UNLV women's golf team, would be a welcome addition. Texas is Bush country, after all -- just don't tell anyone she's not one of those Bushes.

 

Burning Tree Club, Bethesda, Md.

Burningtree
Burning Tree aerial shot by Premier Aerial.

HISTORY: Dating to 1922, it's said the club was formed after a slow ladies' group held up a male foursome at a nearby course. U.S. Presidents have netted honorary memberships. But...

KEEP OUT! ...female Secret Service agents are kept from the grounds. In 1986, a woman agent was forced to run a dignitary's security check from the parking lot. Also, in the 1950s, a female pilot reportedly crash-landed on-site and was rushed out the gates.

MISS-CELLANEOUS: Members' wives—called "the dear ones" in an in-house club history—are allowed to enter the pro shop in December to purchase Christmas presents for their husbands.

BARRIER BREAKER: The Supreme Court's Antonin Scalia is an honorary member, so it would only be, well, justice that his ex-bench mate, golf-loving Sandra Day O'Connor, join the club.

 

Ladies Golf Club of Toronto, Thornhill, Ontario

Ladies_18
The 18th hole at the Ladies Golf Club of Toronto (Courtesy of course).

HISTORY:You thought excluding the opposite sex was solely for the boys? Blame Canada. No fellas allowed at this all-girls, Toronto-area enclave, founded in 1924.

KEEP OUT! Men may play as guests, but full-time membership for the Y-chromosome set is a no-go at the only club of its kind in N. America.

MISS-CELLANEOUS:Reportedly, the spacious women's locker room takes up the clubhouse's top floor and features an elegant veranda; the tiny men's locker room features a urinal.

BARRIER BREAKER:Chris Jones, a Canadian and ESPN Magazine columnist, would be honored to enter No Man's Land: "It'd be nice not to worry what happens when my drive fails to clear the nonexistent ladies' tee."

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