Golf, the game for the masses, that everyone can play and enjoy. You can play the game of golf until the day you die. People are playing golf in their nineties, and kids can start playing when they are five years old. It is the game for everyone, but is it. For what ever reason golf has always had some kind of unwritten caste system. There is really never an exclamation on why this wonderful game became this way. Even within the game, there was this elitist attitude with the general public, when it came to golf. The golf professional was looked upon as a lower class citizen, during the first third of the 20th century. During tournaments that were held at country clubs the golf professional was not allowed access to the clubhouse facilities. Speaking of the golf professional, their organization, the Professional Golfers Association of America, had in its by laws until 1961, that in order to be a member you had to be Caucasian. Let that sink in for awhile.
Country clubs are the last bastion of I want to play with my own kind, philosophy. The unwritten rule that many clubs would not allow minorities and people of the Jewish religion is still going on, but there has been some change recently. In the last 10 years there are more country clubs allowing in their first African American members. There are still many all male golf clubs. There are many rules at most country clubs. Women can only tee off at certain times on the weekend, usually after 11am. The clubs try to make up for this my giving women a day like on Tuesday from 8 to 11 when they have the priority. WOW. There’s the men’s grill, and other rules and regulations that do not exist in what I would call the real world. The justification for these attitudes are we paid a whole lot of money to belong to this club and we will make the rules and play with who we want to play and associate with. If this has been the policy for years to exclude minorities in country clubs and treat women as second class citizens, why has there been this gradual change to begin to open up the doors to a more diverse group of people. We all know it has nothing to do with a change in social consciousness or attitudes. It has to with $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Yeah, no kidding. The country club world is hurting, and now needs more members to enjoy all those restricted amenities. This is all well and good. If this leads to more minorities being able to play and enjoy some of the finer golf courses that this country has to offer, great. If this leads to better treatment of the female golfer, wonderful. I am sure we may see more of these positive changes as the golf economic crunch continues.
This has been going on in golf for years and years, and I am not going to make judgements, or go on about golf’s apparent lack of social conscience. My question here is, how did this simple game of knocking a little ball around to put it into a hole, develop this elitist attitude. I am not sure, but here is what I think. As golf became more popular over the years there was one thing discovered about golf when compared with other sporting endeavors. Golf could humiliate you like no other sport could. It’s so simple and looks so easy. But when you miss that first 15 inch putt, make your first whiff, or take 10 shots to try and get out of a sand trap, before just picking up your ball and walking sheepishly to the next tee, you know that there is something wrong with this game or maybe it’s you. Now it’s bad enough to do this in front of your friends, but to do this in front of strangers, or in front of people that you perceive is below your so called social standing, is even worse, and adds to the humiliation. The solution is to simple keep them away, and play with your own kind, to suffer the shame with your dear friends, who know what you are going through. Let’s face it, humility is not one of the traits of captains of business. Golf is simply that game that brings out the worst and the best, out of everyone. It is too mystifying to be believed, and impossible to explain to someone who has not been through it. It is this lack of understanding of golf, that has led this great game to develop this caste system. See you on links. I will be the one walking with my head down while shaking it from side to side.
2 Replies to “Golf”
Vet, the private club where I worked in the 1980s checked all the boxes in your article. There was a men’s grill and a mixed grill. There was women’s day on Tuesday, and only Class A members were allowed to play before 11:00 a.m. on weekends. The Class A was the primary full membership and only one or two women had one out of a membership body of about 500. Oddly enough, nobody (even the women) complained about any of the rules except when the one Class A woman brought out three women to play as her guests during an early weekend round. The old boys had a fit – LOL!
I wonder if any of that has changed. Thanks for the incite.
I was always amazed that after all that spending of money that there were always so many rules. I don’t think things have changed all that much.
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