New Column — the Battle for Marine Drive

My latest Score Golf column, on the issue of the men’s only lounge at Marine Drive Golf Club, is posted and can be found here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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  • RT:

    Couple of comments to your article.

    You make the point that private clubs discriminate based on ability to pay. This is a different level of discrimination than race or gender. If people do not have enough money, they can earn more if they want to with training, education, work etc…if that is their priority. When people are disciminated against based on race or gender, they cannot change those factors (except in extreme circumstances). The level of discrimination is different and not comparable.

    While I agree with you that there is an increasing trend toward inclusion versus exclusion at private clubs, the fact of the matter is that discrimination still exists at places like Marine Drive and it should be eliminated. Why would a club pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend a policy (The Bullpen lounge) that has generated such controversy?…because of the attitudes of a mostly male membership.

    The mindset of the male member at Marine Drive, knowing that the Bullpen policy has created such a stir to maintain its divisive male-only access to the Bullpen lounge, is clearly ignoring the interests of a minority. Sure, majority rules but in a situation like this where the minority is clearly unhappy, the basis for such a strong fight against this minority has all the trappings of discrimination based on gender.

  • I frankly don’t see how it is discrimination if everything is equal but the view. Now if there were a men’s only lounge and no women’s lounge, I’d see your point. But that’s not the way this is and so I just can’t see the issue. Seems like a ridiculous amount of time and effort wasted on something that is not consequential.

    I’m really tired of hearing about special interest groups and their endless series of court challenges. In this case, the club’s membership voted. Thirty members lost. End of story. If they don’t like it, they can find somewhere else to play.

    Now if this were a really sizeable group of people — say 20% of the club membership, that might be a different case. But as it is, it is less than 3% of the membership. They can spend their time in their own lounge as far as I’m concerned.

    Lastly, I just don’t understand why anyone would belong to a club where they aren’t liked/don’t like other members. Doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Everyone has a reason for their beliefs and a motivation for their actions. Instead of dismissing them out of hand when their actions do not make sense to us, perhaps we should seek to understand. This leads to tolerance, which is a virtue. It also leads to respect.

    I agree that I do not understand why a group would want to join a club where they are not liked / do not like the other members. But they obviously have a reason. Let’s understand the reason and deal with it rather than dismiss it. Marine Drive is dealing with it by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting this small group of people to maintain a discriminatory practice. Those actions represents the values of the membership’s majority. In my opinion, a sad reflection of Marine Drive Golf Club. As their reputation gets further tarnished and damaged, they have no one to blame but themselves.

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