Debate: Should all golf club competitions be mixed gender?


Is it time to ditch separate men’s and women’s events? Steve Carroll and Hannah Holden are unanimous about splitting genders

When Headingley announced it would run its first ever mixed competition – with men and women playing in the same event – it garnered some love on social media.

It was breaking new ground. It had previously run a white tee medal alongside a yellow tee Stableford, with women playing in their own competition off the reds, and the Leeds-based club was praised for the initiative.

That got us to thinking at NCG Towers – why are there separate competitions at all?

I’ve asked my colleague, Hannah Holden, to join me this week to ask whether it’s time to break down the barriers…

‘WHS should make mixed competitions a thing of the past’

There is nothing more irritating than looking at the Saturday medal sign-up sheet and seeing you’re not eligible to play because it is a men’s only event, writes Hannah Holden. Why should I be limited to only playing competitions during a mid-week ladies’ day? Women do work as well, you know?

Having separate men’s and women’s competitions is a seriously outdated model. It often doesn’t allow women who wish to submit cards at the weekend or men during the week the opportunity. It also reduces the chance for the whole club to mix and play golf with different people.

Now we have the World Handicap System in place, each tee can be sloped accordingly and we can just play mixed tee competitions going forward.

There are no excuses now.

‘It is how we’ve always done it’

I thought we were past separating the sexes, writes Steve Carroll.

In a sport that’s constantly talking about increasing equality and diversity, it’s feels ridiculous that at the smallest level some clubs routinely still split on gender.

I’ve heard lots of excuses down the years about why mixed competitions are a problem: different tees, pars, Stableford adjustments. Now course and slope hold sway. But it’s been a problem only because people make it one.

Maybe I’m looking at this from an ‘odd’ point of view. At my home club, virtually every competition is mixed. The club has been open 16 years and it is how we’ve always done it.

There’s a separate club championship for men, women and juniors but that’s it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s otherwise a board event or a midweek Stableford we all play together.

It isn’t that hard. The era of priority for men, and Ladies days that stop those who work getting on the course, has to come to an end.

Where do you stand on the debate?

So the NCG team are pretty set on this debate. But do you believe separate men’s and women’s competitions still have their place? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us.

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