Golf clubs to be hit by anti-discrimination directive

// 5 January 2006

Golf clubs, at least if Hollywood is to believed, are a bastion of the Old-Boy network. So three cheers for the EU for bringing into law a directive aimed at making it illegal to discrimate on the basis of gender if you are providing goods or services.

EUObserver points out what a number of papers have drawn attention to today: golf clubs will no longer be able to operate one set of rules for male members and another for female members (or players in those clubs that allow women to play but not join).

Because private members clubs are exempted from the directive, ironically it is those clubs that ban women entirely that will be able to carry on their discriminatory practices, while those who have travelled half the journey towards reasonableness must speed up their progress into the modern world or close.

As Lord Lester of Herne Hill (who has personally campaigned to get golf clubs to admit women) told the Telegraph:

There might be some reactionary, neanderthal men who may form more such [single-sex] clubs, but if they do, I think they’ll have a rather miserable existence, because mixed golf is more fun.

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