Martin Vousden on Women

Mar 24 2016

Thought for the Day
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on

Equality for women?
Pro tennis has just witnessed a controversy that led to the resignation of Ray Moore, director of the Indian Wells tournament. He re-ignited the old chestnut of women pros getting equal prize money to men, despite playing shorter matches (best of three sets as opposed to five) and attracting smaller audiences. He said that women ‘rode on the coat-tails’ of the men and quite a bit more in similar vein. Now is not the time to re-hash this old argument and before we get too eager to offer an opinion we perhaps need to remind ourselves that the history of golf is not one to be proud of when considering any sort of discrimination.

Attitudes to women golfers have ranged from mildly condescending to outright hostility. In 1893 Blanche Martin wrote to Horace Hutchinson about plans to create a Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU). Hutchinson was a good enough golfer to have been runner-up in the first ever Amateur Championship (of 1885) and to then win it for the next two years (and would go on to be beaten finalist once more, in 1903, at the age of 44) and was considered one of the leading players of his day. Part of his reply to Miss Martin said: ‘Women never have and never can unite to push any scheme to success. They are bound to fall out and quarrel on the smallest or no provocation; they are built that way!’ If this wasn’t quite explicit enough he added a poetic thought by saying: ‘Tears will bedew, if wigs do not bestrew, the green.’ And then for good measure he put the boot firmly in with the words: ‘Constitutionally and physically women are unfitted for (more…)

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