I felt like this was a great topic to read up on because I worked at a private golf course in Asheville, NC, for close to a year before covid. Although the focus is on women at golf courses in Mexico I felt a strong connection to some of the themes in the chapter as I have witnessed them firsthand.
On a day-to-day basis, I heard my fair share of misogyny on the golf course and practice areas from members and even co-workers. One of the first instances of this was when a very affluent gentleman brought his wife and kids to practice with him below at the driving range. His wife was likely 15 years younger and his two kids were probably 10-12. My direct manager and the club manager came down to where I was cleaning clubs and told me that the guy I just prepared the clubs for was an associate of Mark Cuban and that he was probably a billionaire or something. That wasn’t at all unusual as I’d learned that golf course workers love to gossip about members, but the conversation quickly turned to his wife and something like “so that’s what a billion dollars gets you, huh?”. This clearly set the tone for me as to how women members were treated at the establishment.
As the chapter says, women face a semi-hostile environment very often at private golf clubs which is ridiculous but makes sense based on how golf developed early on. The “boys club” environment at golf courses is a huge problem and the lack of respect women receive, even while on paper they are equal members, is appalling. Going back to the woman I mentioned earlier, she was probably even better than her husband. Watching her practice as my two bosses gossiped about her and her husband she had way better form. I asked my club manager if she was a pro or amateur (as we often see them practice here) and he said he had no idea, showing he just assumed that she was just his “accompaniment” or something rather than a person who was here to play.
I mentioned just now how on paper women members are equal in today’s world but still face many cultural hardships at golf clubs, but it was very interesting to learn from the chapter the journey that took place to improve the equality between genders at gold clubs. It was clear that men felt threatened whenever women tried to get into “their space”. It had nothing to do with the money or skill that the women golfers had, but all to do with the assumption that golf was masculine in nature.
There were even examples in which women golfers discriminated against each other, this time by social class, despite them still being discriminated against by male golfers which I also found intriguing. The author articulated well the fact that in order for some women to feel more equal to men, they had to put down other women, furthering a divide anyway.