Exclusion in golf - Dudes want to play fast on courses w/o flowers and hang wang with other dudes?

Was happily listening to the new Crash Course pod on Pine Valley. Following along the on google earth sorting out which amazing after amazing holes they were talking about. Then, right at the end as @Soly was talking about the vibe of the course - something struck me when he said it’s the “true guy’s getaway hang”. For some reason, that triggered me to think: “uh oh, is this a male only club?” It is, with females only allowed to be invited as guests on Sundays.

This just had me feeling really annoyed.

Augusta and places like Muirfield got (I think rightly) criticized for this practice in their membership - which while technically legal, seems quite wrong. Both have since changed, but Pine Valley has not. At places like Augusta it has been barely a generation where the same arguments applied to not allowing black members, for example. But such exclusivity to men vs women still seems socially acceptable enough in some circles, even justified, or good.

There is, of course, reason in some “private club” settings for male or female only memberships, where sex or gender is part of the point - say the boy or girl scouts, fraternities/sororities, etc. I have yet to see a good argument why golf could even come remotely close to being justified in exclusion on the basis of sex (or any other immutable characteristic). Some would say “it’s complicated” for private clubs like golf courses, but I disagree. Replace “women” with “jewish” or “black” or “openly gay” and we’re (also) in a very dark place - it’s just that those forms of discrimination became less socially acceptable sooner. I have to question in a setting like a golf club why male members wouldn’t want female members at all? I too like having “guy hangs” with my friends, but it seems completely different to institutionalize it in membership vs the truly voluntary nature of say grabbing a table to hang with guy friends at the club.

This brings me to NLU. I know the group is making efforts recognizing and making space for women in a sport and the sport’s culture, which is very male dominated. That is fantastic. Which, I suppose begs the question of how should it potentially address talking about a place like Pine Valley? Yeah, the golf is so fucking good, and the “hang” is probably fun too - but is it a blind spot to simply not even address about something like its male-only membership. And not only that, dare I say, even highlight its male-only hang qualities?

Now, I am not saying Soly or NLU is sexist in any way, shape or form. As it’s been said in recent pods in light of current discussions about race, it’s “not enough simply to be not racist” - it’s important to be anti-racist. In a sport culture that struggles with inclusiveness, including of women - is it enough to just not be sexist, but in fact to be anti-sexist? Is an extremely low-hanging fruit of being anti-sexist include calling out places like Pine Valley, which it chose to highlight in something like Crash Course? I know the focus is the golf course, sure, but the episode did venture in discussion on the culture of the place, too. Admittedly, left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth, and compelled me to raise it here.

Now, perhaps some feel it is completely justifiable for a private club to have such exclusive membership practices - also an argument I’d like to hear out. Maybe, I’m wrong.

/end rant


Hey, new mod guys…didn’t we already have this topic?


I hadn’t seen that as a somewhat newer member. I suppose it’s been covered in generic sense, if you count a thread derailed by Eric Denver (as usual). Nevertheless, I did pose a few different questions in there than discussed in the Cal Club thread, too - specifically how NLU should (if at all) address such questions in their content. But if people don’t want to touch it, that’s fine too.


I had no idea there was a podcast just for Crash Course. Learned something new today.


Just read though most of that thread and now I’d like to light myself on fire. Good lord.

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Looking forward to watching this shit show.


Thanks for starting this post and sharing your thoughts - I hope it doesn’t get derailed. I’ve talked pretty extensively about experiencing golf as a women. Partly because I can be an annoying feminist but mostly because I never get to approach or experience golf not as a woman. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky with so many great golf experiences but at the same time I am well-versed in driving into a parking lot and being the only woman, walking into a pro-shop and being greeted with “you must be Sarah” (because who else would I be on the tee sheet) playing all day and having the closest person I see in my demographic be the cart girl (albeit 10-15 years younger :grin:) and playing course after course that wasn’t designed with my game in mind.

I completely understand that the legal argument around male only clubs boils down to right of free association. However the argument I have never heard being made or asked to be made is what is the motivation behind male-only clubs/what is it about a female free or female limited environment that is necessary for the enjoyment of the game? I’d like to know why my presence would make the experience that much worse for someone. I wonder why that part hasn’t been outlined…

A frequent response is “oh some clubs are women only” “some places have women only events” (usually Tuesday morning…) but that’s a completely false equivalence. The fact is I can’t enjoy or be involved in golf without interacting with men. For me, interacting with men is a necessary byproduct of participating in golf. The inverse isn’t the case. I can probably count on two hands the number of times I’ve played as a single and been paired with women. I can count on 0 hands the number of time I’ve played as a single and been paired with only women. Just like I can count on 0 hands the number of courses I’ve played that were designed by women. But I’m used to it like I’m used to 3 shot par 4s (they’re getting fewer :grin::grin:). Just like I’m used to struggling to buy clubs or “check out this WAG’s instagram” on Golf Digest. All reminders that, while I think way too much about golf, it’s thinking of me a hell of a lot less.

Like I said, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. It’s been ages since I’ve had a really bad experience on the golf course. It’s been ages since I’ve gotten unasked for advice. I’ve had an amazing time getting to know guys from the refuge. I’ve been paired up with great guys and fun playing experiences. But I’m also used to that moment when I win them over. Maybe a great drive, a tidy up and down, a well placed joke. I see that flip switch - cool, she can play/she’s okay/she’ll be fine. Not every time of course, but I’m used to it.

Edit: I know that NLU is trying (and succeeding!) in highlighting women’s professional golf. I also get that they get that they don’t have a huge female following (shout out to the 4%!!) and are a bit sheepish about that balance. If I was to give a word of advice to @djpie @Soly @Tron @Randy and @MerchCzar on female viewership …probably the best thing NLU does is make golf fun. The videos and content make following golf fun and especially make playing golf fun. I know watching Tourist Sauce and Strapped always makes me want to get out and play. One way to appeal to women golfers is to show that playing with women is fun. Seriously, we can be fun to have around! (Long rants notwithstanding of course)


I think this sentence really sums up the entire discussion.

Discrimination… BAD


Guys want to have inappropriate conversations.

Some might say this is a hold over from when it was inappropriate to curse in front of a lady…or something like that.

Publicly accessible golf is much better than private golf anyway.


Fixed that for you.

If some dude thinks it’s acceptable to have “inappropriate” conversations with me on the golf course just because we both can piss standing up then that’s the last time we’re playing together.

If you wouldn’t say it in front of your wife or sister, I don’t want to hear it either.


Next time I’m on the coast or you venture into Alberta, let’s have a game!

I cannot wait for COVID to be over so we can get the PAC NW and/or Western Canada crew together for some of the stellar golf in the region!



Anyways I probably make more stupid inappropriate comments than most people on this site …


Yes, and we like that.



Being a “men only” isn’t what makes Pine Valley exclusionary. Being among the wealthy and connected few that love golf at a ridiculously deep level, understand it’s history deeply and appreciate the game- that’s the primary dividing line, not gender. Donald Trump isn’t a member. Matt Lauer isn’t member. Michael Jordan isn’t a member. Countless multi-millionaires who would love to join cannot. This is not to say @ChickPhilA’s passion would match or exceed that of the membership. But if you’re not at a few other really important clubs or a member of US Seniors or something like that…good luck.

There are “Men’s Clubs” like the Plantation in Indio, CA. where a lot of gross boyish behavior goes down. Then there are clubs like Pine Valley where no bullshit goes down. And by bullshit, I mean nobody is trucking in prostitutes or any shenanigans like that. Ask yourself: ever been to a member/guest where they have a few college age women in bikinis selling mulligans? Was that a men only club? Probably not, and yet, here we are debating what happens at PV…

Talk to people about the shit that goes down at Plantation, Bob O’Link, Cal Club- some truly disturbing and archaic acts. Women play at Pine Valley. They are welcome and enjoy the club.


So it begs the question, why make gender a dividing line in membership of the club at all? Everything else being equal - golf passion, money, connectedness, literally considered second class to humans with penises.


That would be a different, yet also bad symptom of the overall problem of the culture of golf that’s not all that female friendly.


To be fair I was today year’s old when I learned that Pine Valley was men’s only. If PV starts having female members tomorrow that doesn’t change my thoughts. It just seemed like a good thread to jot down some of my thoughts on my takes and impressions


Pretty much everything @Sarah said sums up my experience of being a woman who enjoys golf too. The amount of times my husband and I get paired up with dudes when we play on vacation (it’s never been the case where we are paired up with any other women) and you can tell the dudes are not 100% excited that they are going to have to spend the next few hours playing with a chick. That is until I hit my first drive or, as Sarah described, make a good putt, up and down, reach green in 2, etc… then they tend to come around and we have a fine time.

But the fact that we have to pretty much “proove” something right off the bat because we have boobs and not dicks…it gets old.

Again nothing really to do with pine valley. It’s still crazy to me that PV is soooo close to me in NJ. Maybe one Sunday I’ll get to play there. (One can dream lol).