Let club decide membership

The ongoing controversy over the non-admission of lady members by the Augusta National Golf Club is yet another sign of political correctness running wild.

A club, by definition, is a group of like-minded individuals who get together to pursue a common aim or interest. It is, therefore, logical to conclude that, if they put together the ideas and the funds to provide the facilities the club offers, then they have an absolute right to determine the criteria under which other members are admitted. If they want lady members, then all well and good, but if they don’t, then it is nobody’s business but their own.

The argument that, by refusing to have lady members, the club is deterring young people from playing golf is plainly quite ludicrous, as there are plenty of other clubs around who welcome any new members of either sex with open arms, and many who provide tremendous encouragement to juniors.

Nobody has a God-given right to join a club just because they want to. It is up to the existing membership to decide whether they are acceptable. If an all-female, -Jewish or -Muslim organization were to reject membership applications from men or followers of other faiths, would they be subjected to the same kind of opprobrium now being heaped on Augusta? I suspect not.

Also, if the new CEO of IBM, who seems to be at the center of the current furor, is only a very occasional golfer, why on Earth would she wish to join a club where her presence would clearly be unwelcome, unless it is just to make a point? Surely, this would be unworthy of her?

I sincerely hope that, unless their members vote overwhelmingly to admit ladies, the Augusta committee will stand firm on this issue and treat journalists and others who raise the matter with the disdain they deserve.

Chris Rowe

Liphook, Hampshire

United Kingdom

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