16 Jul 2013

Men-only golf clubs slated

6:43 pm on 16 July 2013

Politicians and golfers of both sexes have taken a swing at golf's governing body for holding Britain's top tournament at a club that allows only men to be members.

The Royal and Ancient is responsible for running the Open Championship which will be held this week at the ancient Muirfield course near Edinburgh, one of three exclusively male clubs to host the event alongside Royal St George's and Royal Troon.

Britain's Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller says it sends the wrong message to hold the Open at a club that doesn't alllow female members.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has rejected invitations to the 142nd Open, the only major to be played at a single-sex club.

The protests follow a decision by the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia to end a men-only policy before the US Masters in April.

But The R&A has dismissed calls for the Open to be taken away from venues with men-only policies and saying single sex clubs are allowed under British equality laws.