Decision not to end the gender divide at Muirfield reminiscent of the dark ages

Members of Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland rejected a proposal to admit women

WHAT a shame that prestigious Scottish golf club Muirfield feels the need to close the door right in the face of women.

In what many people believe is reminiscent of the dark ages, the East Lothian club has decided it wants to remain a male-only establishment.

Yes, sexism has raised its ugly head yet again.

Just last week members of Muirfield, which has always been 'just for men', took a vote to gauge the possibility of women becoming members.

The club's board had recommended that women should be admitted, but there was a vocal in-house opposition to the changes with the 'no' campaigners circulating letters opposing the introduction of females.

When the vote was taken, the club fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed for the change and in turn, nailing the decision that it would remain a men-only club and snubbing female players in the process.

Simultaneously, however, it lost the right to host the Open.

Golf's ruling body, the R&A could do nothing but respond to Muirfield's decision by announcing it would not allow the tournament to be held at a venue that does not admit female members.

And if this wasn't bad enough, BBC commentator Peter Alliss decided to jump into the controversial debate - with both feet - as well.

The former golfer was also criticised after remarking that if women wanted to play at the club, then they "should marry a current member".

While Muirfield may be held in high regard, considered to be one of the most elite courses around, it has now thrown away any chance it may have had to host the Open in the future.

Its vote to see women remain outside has sparked a backlash, which has seen some of the world's leading players among those to voice their opposition to its stance on women members.

At the Irish Open at the K Club in Kildare, world number three Rory McIlroy described the decision as "disappointing", while Denmark's Thomas Bjorn remarked that Muirfield "couldn't join us in the 21st century".

Scottish pro Catriona Matthew said she was "embarrassed to be a Scottish woman golfer from East Lothian after that decision".

Ivan Khodabakhsh, chief executive of the Ladies European Tour, also described Muirfield's decision as "appalling" and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon labelled the club's stance "indefensible".

It is unacceptable that in 2016 we are even discussing taking this sort of vote, never mind the reality of its outcome.

The ban not only paints a poor image for Muirfield, but it paints a poor image of golf.

Nowadays the women's game of golf is rising in success and prestige and is enjoying wider appeal than ever before.

There are hundreds of great golf clubs which treat men and women equally, so why does this particular Scottish club feel the need to treat the female sex differently?

While we should accept that members of Muirfield has the right to choose who takes to its fairways, it cannot expect to be part of the high-profile face of golf if that's the path it wants to remain on.

The members who voted against women becoming a part of Muirfield are both living in the past and sending out a message out loud and clear that females are not valued there.

Given the struggles some clubs have to keep players, is it wise to continuously deny half the population the opportunity to become a member of its facilities? The club must change its ways if it is to compete in the modern market.

The decision not to end the gender divide, holding onto the idea that women will somehow mess up old traditions is as archaic as you can get.

We trust women enough to be leaders in our society, there is no justification to deny them the right to join a golf club.

We're not stuck in the dark ages any more, how can anyone believe that this sort of gender divide is still acceptable?



Dietland is Sarai Walker's first novel and has been described by critics as "leaving chick lit in the pixie dust".

Its main character, Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, "because when you're fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse".

But when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself involved with an underground community of women who live life on their own terms.

At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group called 'Jennifer' begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women.

As Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot and the consequences are explosive.

I have three copies of Dietland to give away. To be in with a chance to win, simply email your name, address and telephone number - along with the answer to the question below - to

Closing date for entries is Tuesday May 31 at noon.

(Q) What is the name of the main character in Dietland?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply


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Competition winners

The winner of last week's Buttons & Dote competition are Eileen McKenna from Mayobridge, Sally Harkin from Kilrea and Gráinne McGillian from Draperstown.


Easy Peasy Recipe

This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is mini tartlets with vanilla cream and fresh berries, courtesy of McKinney's.

You will need:

300g plain flour

120g McKinney's Icing Sugar

125g butter, chopped into pieces

Zest of 1 lemon

7 egg yolks

4-6 tbsp ice cold water

500ml milk

2tsp of vanilla extract

90g McKinney's Granulated Sugar

3 tbsp cornflour

50g softened butter

To make:

Pre-heat oven to 200 °C.

Work flour, icing sugar and butter into crumbly dough, add lemon zest and fold in 1 egg yolk.

Add the water a tablespoon at a time until mixture turns into a smooth dough.

Roll into a ball and leave to rest in the fridge for at least one hour.

Roll or press the pie dough into moulds with a removable base.

Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes.

Leave to cool and carefully remove the pie crusts from the moulds.

For vanilla cream, bring the milk to the boil and stir in vanilla extract.

Beat granulated sugar, 6 egg yolks and cornflour until fluffy. Continue beating the mixture as you pour in the hot milk.

Pour mixture back into the pan and heat gently, stirring until it starts to thicken. Take the vanilla cream off the heat and pour into a bowl.

Add the softened butter and stir until melted.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Fill the tartlets with vanilla cream and decorate with berries and McKinney's Icing Sugar.

Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?

Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?

If so, then we want to hear from you.

You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:

Easy Peasy Recipes,

Suzanne McGonagle,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,





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