To start, I’ll finish off my Week in Ireland series next week with visits to Baltray, Castlerock and the remarkable twosome of Royal Portrush and Royal County Down. I’ll also post significant news about changes to Cape Breton’s Highlands Links.
A G4G reader sent me a note about a court ruling involving female members and Marine Drive, the venerable private club in Vancouver. I found it quite interesting and potentially influential. I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of legalese, but here is the essence of the case.
Apparently, for a time, Marine Drive’s men’s lounge was opened to women:
Prior to June 1, 2004, the mens only status of the Bullpen (the men’s lounge) was an unwritten tradition. Between February 2003 and June 1, 2004, the Bullpen was open to women on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 6:00 p.m. until closing. As of June 1, 2004, both the mens and womens lounges were opened to both sexes, pursuant to a resolution of the Board.
Apparently that didn’t go over so well with some at the club, and several members that had supported the resolution and were on the board got booted out. The new board wasn’t as keen on the resolution:
On July 15, 2004, a majority of the newly constituted Board voted not to close the Bullpen to women at that time, but issued a notice asking members to voluntarily respect the traditional use of the Club. In late August 2004, through a Board resolution, the Golf Club again restricted access to the Bullpen to men only at all times. The complainants filed the complaint with the Tribunal shortly thereafter, on September 24, 2004.
Well, it turns out the female members who fought against the closing of the men’s lounge to women lost their fight. One judge in the case had this to say:
The Golf Club is a private club. There is a formalized selection process in place under which members are selected. The appellants joined the Golf Club knowing that it considered itself Ëœprivate within any definition of that concept. All members knew upon joining that there were rules restricting access to certain areas of the clubhouse based on gender. They joined accepting the benefits of membership and subjecting themselves to the Golf Clubs restrictions.
So the cost of settling the fact that women at Marine Drive can’t enter the men’s lounge: $160,000.
I’m no legal expert, but what this ruling seems to be suggesting is that within a “private club,” there can be specific rules that couldn’t be applied to the public at large. I suppose, on a grand scale, that would allow men’s only clubs like the National to continue to exist without worry of claimed discrimination.
To be truthful, I don’t really have a problem with any of this. If you enter a club, there are going to be certain rules. If a majority wants those rules to change, they’ll be changed. Otherwise, if you disagree, you might have to find another club. Chose carefully.
In other news, reports in the St. Catharines Standard and the Now on the Tee blog have indicated there is a proposal to move St. Catharines G & CC. Apparently the club has been approached by a developer who wants to acquire the downtown property St. Catherines G &CC currently sits on and swap it (and cash, I’d assume) for a piece of property in a quarry near Niagara Falls.
Here’s what Matt (a St. Catherines member) at Now on the Tee had to say:
The club would then buy a piece of land in the Queenston area in order to build a new 7000 yard championship course, a state-of-the-art practice facility with range and practice holes and a new clubhouse with every imaginable amenity. The members would get to play at the current facility until the new course is completed and the club itself would end up with a nice surplus in funds when all is said and done.
The story has actually been picked up by the local paper, who ran an article about the potential move last week:
Executive members of the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club are mulling the idea of relocating and selling the 18-hole course for residential development.
“We’ve put together a committee that’s doing some due diligence, evaluating all the different possibilities,” said club president Brett Roberts.
An unidentified developer has offered the club the option of buying property in Queenston to be turned into a golf course as part of a residential subdivision, said Roberts.
“Theoretically, what we’d be able to do is build a new golf course with everything configured to our specifications and then being able to sell the existing property,” he said Tuesday.
The club’s consulting architect is Ian Andrew, who referenced a project in Niagara Falls in a blog post here. The image Andrew posted of the project, as seen below make it look quite striking.
Andrew said this of the site:
It was in April that I had my greatest disappointment for the year. I had looked at a project near Niagara Falls with a group of investors but in early April our bid for the parcel of land came up short. The site was spectacular (bits of the routing and images do exist on my web site) and this would have been the perfect place to build my first course.
What happens now? Apparently St. Catharines has a club meeting next week to start the discussion among members.
The site of the new course is apparently the same one referenced by Ian Andrew on his architecture blog in a post found here.