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  • Alistair Tait

Will golf ever pass the Trudeau test?

Justin Trudeau made a bold and welcome move when he became Canadian Prime Minister. He made sure his cabinet was an equal split of male and female MPs. When asked why, he simply replied:

“Because it’s 2015.”

If only Trudeau was in charge of golf. We’d probably be a lot closer to full equality, rather than women still having to play catch up centuries since that first shepherd hit a ball-like stone with a crook on a windswept bit of links on the Scottish coastline.

England Golf has taken a leaf out of Trudeau’s book by electing two women to its board. Moira Page and Sue Milner replace Les Wilson and Doug Poole as non-executive directors. It’s a historic occasion: it means there’s an equal split of male and female members on the 12-strong board for the first time. Chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said:

“They were both excellent candidates and bring with them different attributes from their respective careers and experiences in golf which I know will be invaluable as we move forward as a governing body.
“It was entirely fitting that an historic online AGM resulted in a vote which elevated Moira and Sue to the board and ensured for the first time that there is now equal representation of male and female directors.”

Page is a qualified chartered management accountant with a specialist knowledge of financial management and expertise in corporate governance and strategies, according to the England Golf press release. The Leicestershire resident has served two terms as ladies’ county captain and one spell as county president

Milner has retired from a career in office management where she worked for Rowntree/Nestle in York and latterly with a private high-tech firm specialising in international trade. She currently serves on the England Golf Championship Committee and County Golf Advisory Board. She’s a strong advocate for women’s, girls’ and junior golf.

Will we ever see a world where all golf committees are an equal split of men and women? Wouldn’t that be a huge bonus for the game? How long before, say, the R&A’s ruling general committee is comprised of an equal number of male and female members? Or the championship committee? The rules committee? How long before the chief executive of the R&A doesn’t go by the title Mr, but Mrs, or Miss? And on and on….

How long before golf clubs decide there’s no reason for separate women’s and men’s committees, for separate male and female captains? Why not just have one captain? Why not alternate between men and women every year?

Kudos to England Golf for making this historic step. It’s all part of the growing vanguard towards equality for our great game.

Who knows, maybe in our lifetime we’ll see equal prize money for the men’s and women’s Open Championships, U.S. Open and PGA Championships. Maybe Augusta will instigate a Women’s Masters held in tandem with the tournament they’ve been running for men since 1934, with equal prize money.

Is all this possible, or did a purple pig that just fly past my window?

We can but dream, and why not dream large?

#JustSaying: “You trying to ask me do I wear girdles and bras and the rest of that junk? What do you think I am? A sissy?” Babe Zaharias

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