Golf Club Votes to Admit Women as Members

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. dissent / dɪˈsɛnt / (v) – to disagree

    Two out of five panel members dissented from the decision.

  2. reversal / rɪˈvɜr səl / (n) – a shift to the opposite direction

    Several complaints led to the reversal of the policy.

  3. repeal / rɪˈpil / (v) – to take something back

    The city government repealed some of its laws last year.

  4. embrace / ɛmˈbreɪs / (v) – to support or accept

    Our society embraces cultural diversity.

  5. stance / stæns / (n) – a personal opinion about an issue

    The candidate explained his stance on education during his campaign.


Read the text below.

Scotland’s Honorable Company of Edinburgh / ˈcd nˌbɜr ə / Golfers (HCEG) will now accept female members.

Out of 621 members who voted, 498 were in favor of admitting women as members, while 123 dissented from the majority decision. Although the original vote was against admitting female members last May, the removal of the Muirfield [myur feeld] course, which HCEG runs, as a possible host venue for professional golf’s Open Championship led to the reversal. Golf’s governing body, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A), imposed the removal because of its support for female members. However, R&A repealed the removal following the announcement of HCEG’s new decision to admit female members.

Founded in 1744, the HCEG is the oldest golf club in the world and it created the original rules of golf. Until changing its policy on female members, women were allowed to play on the golf course only as visitors. According to Scotland’s minister of sport, Aileen Campbell, the vote demonstrated the club’s desire to keep up with a modern country that embraces gender equality.

Although the vote would take effect immediately, women would still have to wait to become official members. Given HCEG’s current waiting list, it would take at least two years before new candidates for membership – regardless of gender – are admitted.

HCEG is one of the exclusive men-only golf clubs that decided to admit female members. Royal St. George’s and Royal Troon, two Open Championship hosts, welcomed women only in 2016. Likewise, the R&A itself changed its stance on having female members only in 2014.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Why do you think HCEG remained exclusive to men for a long time?
• What other organizations are gender-specific when it comes to membership? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think there is gender inequality in a sport that does not allow men and women to play against each other? Why or why not?
• In which sports can men and women play against each other?