No Longer An Impossible Dream

ST. ANDREWS | There were six members sitting at the far end of the R&A’s Big Room last Wednesday lunchtime. Whilst keeping half an eye on the golf outside, they would almost certainly have been discussing the news that was about to be announced to the world’s press in the CEO’s office upstairs.
Namely that the hierarchy were advising the membership to change their constitution and admit women members for a first time in the club’s 260-year history.
The sextet in the Big Room would remain undisturbed: There was no question of any of the journalists, let alone a female of the species, asking for their thoughts.
What you wanted to know was whether they were worrying that the whole character of their club might change with the advent of women. Or whether they were agreeing that this was precisely the proverbial kick up the backside they needed to move into the modern world.
Yet the latest development is not as sudden as many might suppose. Back in 1867, the members laid out a putting green – the Himalayas – for the ladies. By all accounts, it was rather more than a kindly gesture; they were worried about waiting wives and girlfriends flirting with caddies.
When the women got bored of putting, the men allowed them to play on the Old Course and, as you would expect, the ladies were soon eschewing all advice along the lines that they should not swing the club above shoulder level.


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