Friday, 20 May 2016

Why Would Anyone Want To Join Muirfield?

In case you've never heard of it Muirfield is a golf club on the coast a little to the right of Edinburgh. It's not just any golf club, though. It has on occasion hosted the Open Championship so it's just possible you have heard of it. And this week it's been in the news, not for its golf but  because its all male membership have voted to continue as an all male membership.

While I can see why an angry PC mob is storming the Starter's Box with cudgels in response to this outrageous sexism, perhaps it would be wiser to reflect a moment.

There's a prevalent notion that everyone should have everything. Any obstacle to that ideal must be demolished in the name of justice and equality. Society thrives on this notion. It's what makes us 'aspire' to better things, a wanky term for greed and envy. It makes us work harder, pay more tax and buy more stuff. But the older I get the more I know that everything isn't for everyone, nor should it be.

Now, don't me wrong, I have nothing against golf clubs. Well, actually I do. I don't much like the way they ring-fence huge swathes of beautiful countryside for the exclusive use of a few pampered and overly competitive show offs. I don't mind the sport itself. If anyone wants to hit a ball with an iron bar around a few miles of coast I suppose it stops them being a burden on society. But there's no excuse for the silly trousers or those milk float Noddy cars they chug along in. Surely the point of a sport is exercise?

But above all is their attitude. While they strut the greens in daft attire with their little clique of fellow club members these modern day squires regard the rest of humanity as nothing better than local peasantry. I speak as a neighbour of a golf club, not one as grand as the lofty Muirfield you understand, but golfers regard themselves as visiting royalty even in the humblest clubhouse. This gives them license to be as rude and overbearing as they wish. They can shout, swear, bark bad tempered orders at any poor sod who inadvertently wanders into their line of vision. They can clamber into gardens to retrieve their ball from the cold frame or green house it smashed without so much as a murmured apology. They think shouting "Fore" allows them to fire homicidal strokes at picnickers within a five mile radius.

And all of this brings me to the point of this post. Much as I dislike them I can see that golf clubs serve a useful function in society. They keep these petty minded little Napoleons away from the rest of us, in much the same way a prison protects us from criminals. They can all gather there and annoy each other with their nit picking rule obsessed anally retentive anecdotes. They can compare their Pringle socks and fluffy club covers. They can swagger around the clubhouse bar in ludicrous knitwear trying to be the biggest wanker. We, thankfully, don't have to see them.

Why would anyone think golfers are sexist?
And what goes for most clubs goes double for a place like Muirfield, where you need six signed affadavits, a declaration from your Bank Manager and an introductory letter from a member of the royal family to even get considered for membership. These bastions of snobbery are nothing to do with a jolly game of golf so much as impressing clients and getting one up on the neighbours. Who in their right mind would want to spend a Sunday afternoon dressed like Terry-Thomas and surrounded by Hooray Henries unless it was in the name of social climbing or the chance of getting within grovelling distance of Tiger Woods at some future Open Championship?

So, if that sounds like your idea of heaven, by all means get the PC army up in arms in pursuit of your membership to Muirfield. Although, personally, you might be better off taking a long hard look at yourself.  You can play golf anywhere. It was originally played over sand dunes with sticks and rocks,  not a Tony Jacklin golf cart or Titleist ball in sight.

Sounds more fun to me, frankly.

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