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NEWS: Membership Stance Could Cost Japan Club 2020 Olympic Tourney

Where Olympic golf goes, controversy seems to follow.

Kasumigaseki Country Club, slated to host the 2020 Olympic golf competition, failed to reach a decision to alter the club’s policy of restricting women from becoming full members, according to a Reuters report.

The vote to change the club’s policy was postponed after it failed to gain unanimous support of its 15-member board, which could cost Kasumigaseki the opportunity to host the competition.

“The IGF has clearly stated to both Tokyo 2020 and Kasumigaseki C.C. our requirements that the golf competition be delivered according to the Olympic Charter,” IGF Vice President Ty Votaw was quoted as saying in a report. “If the club does not change its rules, then we cannot support holding the events at this venue.”

The club allows females to become members but they are not permitted to play on Sundays and certain holidays. Tokyo’s first female city governor issued a public statement last month asking for the club to allow female members with no restrictions.

According to Kasumigaseki board chairman Kiichi Kimura, the controversy is a head-scratching annoyance to the club.

“That this situation has developed is a nuisance for us, it’s really perplexing,” he said, according to the Reuters report.

There has been a movement to relocate Olympic golf to the public Wakasu Golf Links, but it is unclear how viable the option is. Two of the world’s most famous clubs – Augusta National (2012) and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (2014) – have voted to allow female members in recent years.


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