Blackballing and the Golfing Grapevine

Now officially a member of The St Andrews Golf Club on the basis of two written references from established members, ‘The Kilted Caddie’ has been lucky enough to have had his name put up on the club’s main notice board without being blackballed… 

The legendary Muirfield is the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers hosted The Open Championship most recently in 2013

This is not wholly unremarkable, as I must admit to having rubbed up some people the wrong way in my few years here and I suppose it’s just fortuitous that none is a prominent member of this club.

Now blackballing is a feature of many clubs and I suppose on one level is an important check on membership. However, I am highly suspicious of this rather random, defining and unjustifiable exercise of power.  I believe Ronnie Corbett was thus prevented from joining Muirfield and ‘Fred the Shred’ Goodwin the notorious banker, from the R&A. But on a more parochial level I am sure personal grudges and social cliques must play a huge part. It conjures up an image of a half lit Masonic lodge and something a bit mischievous and secretive going on.

I do know a lovely little doctor in the wee village of Gullane who was a stalwart of that excellent golf club and long harboured a desire to join the neighbouring Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, alongside most of his friends. However, he had a propensity to fall off his bar stool and I believe this underpinned his subsequent blackballing, given that he manifestly qualified on a gender basis.

Now I’m of the opinion that one’s gender nor one’s propensity to topple off a bar stool should be the decisive factor in determining and defining membership of one of the greatest golfing establishments in the world. I mean the ultimate privilege of access to the legendary Muirfield lunch is not a matter to be treated lightly, flippantly or unreasonably. This is serious stuff.


Click here to see the published article.