Glasgow & West Scotland

Concern over male-only Royal Troon hosting The Open

Clubhouse at Royal Troon Image copyright PA
Image caption Royal Troon is one of two Open venues with an all-male membership policy

Royal Troon should not be hosting The Open golf championship while still not accepting women as members, according to the founder of a body aimed at promoting equality in sport.

The Ayrshire club is staging the 145th Open this July.

It announced last year that it was carrying out a review into its all-male membership policy.

Maureen McGonigle of the Scottish Women in Sport Foundation said the club had to "come into the 21st Century".

Governing body, the Royal and Ancient (R&A), said the issue was "a matter for the club" to decide on.

'Quite surprising'

Royal Troon is one of two golf clubs on the rota to host The Open championship which do not accept female members.

The other is Muirfield in East Lothian, where the event was held in 2013.

Ms McGonigle told BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie: "To have that kind of attitude and be hosting one of the top events in Scotland - I do find that quite surprising and I don't think it is something that should happen.

"I think discrimination in any form, in this day and age, should not be allowed. There has got to be equality throughout.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Open takes places at Troon from 10-17 July

"They (Royal Troon) have to come into the 21st Century and look at the benefits that women bring to a club."

Troon has previously considered itself as a special case in respect of its male-only membership policy as it shares facilities with the Ladies Golf Club, Troon.

Both clubs are sharing the responsibility of hosting The Open via a joint championship committee.

However, last year it said it would "undertake a comprehensive review to consider the most appropriate membership policy for the future".

The timetable for the review is yet be announced.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The R&A said membership policy was 'a matter for the club'

Ms McGonigle added: "There's no need for research. There's plenty of evidence out there that clearly tells you the benefits of including a diverse population within your organisation .

"I think they have to look at the commercial side. Numbers are falling dramatically in golf clubs, women are not becoming members anymore and I think that is because the environment portrayed is not conducive.

"Women are not going to waste their time trying to get into a club that clearly doesn't want them to be there. They'll take their money elsewhere."

Speaking on Radio Scotland about preparations ahead of The Open at Troon this summer, the R&A's executive director of championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, said: "I think it has been well documented that Royal Troon is reviewing its membership."

"The R&A looks forward to its outcome.

"It is really a matter for the club to carry out that review and we can only wait for the outcome and handle it when that review comes out."

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