It has been one of the most embarrassing anachronisms of Irish sport but finally, the exclusively ‘gentlemen’ members of Portmarnock Golf club voted to become gender-neutral in terms of allowing membership.

Without state funding and unable to host an Irish Open Championship for nearly 20 years, the club had stubbornly stuck to the line in its rules which said that members “shall be gentlemen.”

A vote taken in March though, and confirmed last night, saw an 83.4 per cent majority vote for its removal.

You would wonder what kind of society the 16.6 per cent who voted against the change would like to live in but you have to imagine it would be one that any wives, mothers or daughters would feel unwelcome in.

The full statement issued by the club last night reads as follows:

“A vote by the Members of Portmarnock Golf Club, that Rule 3 be amended through the removal of the words ‘who shall be Gentlemen’ has been passed. The result is 83.4% in favour and 16.6% against.

“As a consequence of this decision, the rules and bye-laws of the club will now become gender-neutral, which marks a positive development in the club’s long and distinguished history.

“In welcoming the decision, the officers and committee acknowledged and thanked the membership for their engagement with, their support for, and their constructive contributions throughout the process and look forward to welcoming women as members of the club.”

The question now is whether the club should be rewarded straight away for its belated move into the 21st Century by being given the right to host a 20th Irish Open Championship.

It could even get onto the roster of being a potential host of the Open Championship with that event having returned to the island of Ireland in 2019 at Royal Portrush.

It will probably be best however for the dust to settle and for the actual opening up to the membership to take place and not be delayed and caught up in reference to waiting lists and time being needed to implement the change.

Saying something is one thing, but judgement and praise should still be muted enough until the doing is done.


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