Just as quickly as Royal Troon soaked up the winter rain, so the 2016 Open Championship venue has shaken off the latest deluge of poor publicity concerning its all-male membership. The members knew it was coming and they know that there will be another blast at the start of the Open. To a man, the newspaper editors will seize the opportunity to have another run at the story.
It goes without saying that the public will continue to categorise the membership of Royal Troon as “old school” and out of date. Yet the truth is that for every member who falls into that category there is another who sees things very differently – and is genuinely eager that the long-running membership review, when it finally draws to a close, will result in the club becoming mixed.
Take Ken Arthur, who captained the club from 2009-2011 and chaired the championship committee for the 2008 Senior Open Championship. Having first made plain that he is speaking purely from a personal perspective, he says that he sees the introduction of women members as “a moral imperative.”
This former headmaster at Lochend Secondary School in Glasgow speaks of changing attitudes to family life and the growing call for equality. Again, he notes that no golf club can afford to ignore the recent downturn in the game and the extent to which golf continues to be perceived as an older person’s sport.
“Royal Troon is lucky in that an Open Championship venue will never have any trouble in attracting members,” says the 70-year-old Arthur. “That, though, has not stopped us from being mindful of what has been happening elsewhere…” ….. READ FULL ARTICLE