The ups and downs of golf and croquet

Since yesterday, the famous Muirfield Golf Club appears to be surprised that it will not henceforth be chosen for future Open Golf Championship now that it has voted to exclude women from membership.

It would seem that the male members of Muirfield are confused as well as being reactionary. Of course, a private male club is entitled to remain strictly male if it wants to be, just as a private female club is. But Muirfield Golf Club is not private. It is a public institution and normally seeks as much publicity as possible in order to raise its reputation — and its membership fees!

There’s another aspect, too, as Jemima Lewis writes in my morning paper: “The Muirfield golf dinosaurs give the dying game a bad name.” Yes, golf generally is declining, both in playing members and in followership. It is part of the cannibalizing effect of a society with so many leisure time opportunities. Tennis is dipping down, too. Croquet is very much on the up.

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