From The Inbox

Gender-specific clubs have no place in ‘fair-minded society’

A women-only club doesn’t justify having a club only for men, reader contends in rebuttal to recent opinion

To reader Reid Farrill, who responded to Alex Miceli’s article about Pine Valley (“If Pine Valley can change, why not other male-only clubs?” May 3): Having a club designated as “women only” does not justify having “men-only” clubs. Actually, both are problematic, but let me explain why this became an issue in the first place. Many people – men and women – use the golf club as a place of business, either for client entertainment or for meetings. In the 21st century, businesspeople may be either men or women, so how does one entertain a guest of the opposite gender in a club that is designated for only one or the other? 

Furthermore, would Farrill think it right if a top-tier course, such as Pine Valley, were designated “women only” and men were giving the right to have a “men only” club at a lower-tier venue? I don’t think Farrill would accept second-class status complacently by saying, “The whole concept of any club is that it is a place for certain affiliated or like-minded people.” 

Excluding anyone for reasons beyond their control (including race, gender, and other genetic determinants) is simply unacceptable in a fair-minded society.

Patricia Dixon
London

Don’t let society bury rights of private clubs
We applaud Pine Valley for its membership policies, albeit to get on the “right side of history” (“Pine Valley votes to allow female members,” May 3). Someone needs to trumpet the rights of private groups before society buries them.

Private clubs – and we as Americans – have rights of association. Groups can choose with whom they associate per our Constitution and Bill of Rights, whether we like them or not.

With the social climate as it is today, it’s easy to forget those rights that private groups enjoy. There are thousands of groups and associations to which neither you, I, nor Jill and John down the street would be welcome. Conversely, there are just as many which we would not be interested in joining.   

I hope Pine Valley genuinely welcomes female golfers, for which they’ll be a much richer club, rather than politically correct “inclusive” reasons.To spin Groucho Marx and his interesting twist, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”: Would you join a club that didn’t genuinely want you as a member?

Failure to stick up for our rights of association leads to a future of forced acceptance of those whose beliefs are contrary to that group’s principles and reason for being.

Gary Stauffenberg
Phoenix

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