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Urban Café with Miriam Angila


The Curious Case of Golf Clubs and Male Bravado

By Waga Odongo on Thu, 12/10/2017 - 23:50

It seems almost oxymoronical to talk about equality when the subject matter is “golf country club”. Golf is the most elitist, snobbish, and outright racist of non-sports. It does not qualify as a sport, even if a human tub of lard can play along. You hardly need to go to the gym to swing a golf stick.

It also is the gold standard for sexism in sport. Golf clubhouses were built with the sole intention of keeping women out.

In golf, someone carries your bag with your golf sticks and they drive you around in Pope-Mobile-style golf carts. They probably no longer carry people around in a chaise lounge because it is too slow. It is not so much a sport as a form of exploitation. This is considering that, with the recent rise in oil prices, fuel costs more than myrrh.

Just as football is a solidly egalitarian lower class sport, golf is for those who cannot yet afford polo. It is for people who still have a bit of insider trading to do before they can afford a stable.

People with real money do not play golf; they play polo. There is a line splitting the upper classes between the haves wielding golf sticks and the have-mores with their polo mallets. Just ask Gideon.

Country clubs are inherently unequal places. They are global indicators of plutocracy and signposts of inequality. They cost a minor fortune to join and you still have a silly dressing code that makes you look like a senior accountant.

Country clubs are marketing exercises to relieve glad-handing arriviste social climbers of their recently minted fortune. As they try to slough off their deeply entrenched accent, they desperately try to ingratiate themselves with the older members, who are hostile because they remind them of themselves.

It seems an absurd case of discrimination in the Limuru case. If you let women into your club, they should be allowed to run for positions, right? You cannot promise a mile but end up only yielding an inch.

But I also think these clubs where the privileged gather are essentially none of our business. If they want to have a two-tier system for male and female members, they should be allowed to do so. But the patron joining the club knew about these rules and the law should not compel dinosaurs there to leave the Jurassic Period and join our all-inclusive times.

What occurs when two competing civil rights clash would be interesting to watch. Equality is absolutely fine, but what about the right to association? The quirky bylaws of a private members club shall now be sandpapered by the women’s equality-for-all brigade. It is a case of civil liberties; the right of private members to congregate with men (and a few women) of their choice — and at great expense — on premises of their choice and choose their leaders without involving the taxpayer.

The chief concern to the proprietors of this fine club should be profits. If they think that the members or leadership should be chosen judiciously on account of their sex, they should be free to do so.

Last time I checked, freedom of association was a basic human right. There are women-only clubs, a university, banks, and chamas. We have women-only parliamentary seats... and Valentine’s Day. All men get is the Catholic Church and golf clubs, where they can congregate away from women.

From the look of things, a private club plays absolutely no role in public life apart from the occasional friendship it provides. They should be able to restrict membership or committee membership as they see fit.

Allowing a few privileged women to the top echelons of a golf club will not in any way advance women’s rights. It is not a glass ceiling. And I know no country that uses country club gender composition as a mark of gender equality.

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