Hannah Holden, equipment editor for the National Club Golfer website and avid golfer, was stunned to receive an invitation to the media day at Muirfield Golf Club stating the strict dress code for the event.
Ms Holden said it was “disappointing” that Gullane Golf Club, which is hosting the Open just five years after voting to admit women members for the first time, was chosen to host the prestigious event.
The invitation read, “Dress code will be smart/casual or golf attire for the morning and before golf. After-golf would be jacket and tie for men, long-sleeved jacket or dress for women”.
In a post on Twitter, Miss Holden said: “We are still in 2022 to go to dinner at Muirfield Golf Club, do I have to cover my arms and shoulders?
“Why is the Women’s Open on a course that clearly wants to restrict women and only let them be members so they don’t lose the Open
“Many other clubs who would love to host!”
She continued: “Also to be clear, I am not attending this event and would not feel comfortable going to Muirfield because of their views and views on women.
“As a golfer, I’m often put in a position where I’m not welcomed or questioned in golf because of my gender.
“How many women are we alienating and losing in this game because of this attitude through golf.
“We can’t change history, and a lot of places had a men-only policy in the past, but there are a lot of clubs that are much more progressive and actually making an effort.”
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Speaking later to the Daily Mail, Miss Holden said: “At first your instinct is to be shocked but then you realize it’s coming from Muirfield and that’s kind of what you’d expect.
“There are many words for ‘dress smart’ and ‘be formal’ without specifying an exact type of clothing.
“When was the last time you were told what to wear?” You should be allowed to trust without it having to be so specific and restrictive.
She added: “Obviously they have a very old-fashioned stance on golf in general. The way they chose women and specific clothing doesn’t look good on their front.
Muirfield was immediately removed from the Open Championship rotation after an initial vote on admitting female members narrowly failed to secure the required two-thirds majority in May 2016.
It was restored in March 2017 when the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, who own and operate Muirfield, announced the rule change had passed by 498 votes to 123 after a second ballot.
The move meant the club, home of the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was reinstated as hosts of The Open.
A spokesperson for the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers said: ‘Dress code for lunch or specially arranged dinners at the club is jacket and tie for male members and jacket or dress with sleeves for members feminine.
“All decisions relating to dress code in the club are made in consultation with female and male members.”