A select group of girls and women have become members of Portmarnock Golf Club, a year after it decided to end its men-only policy.
Since the decision was made to allow female members who Sunday independent understands that due to the exclusive nature of the Co Dublin Club, no person, male or female, has been elected through the normal application process.
Instead, several girls under the age of 18 whose parents are members were allowed to join as youth players – as has always been the case with the sons of Portmarnock’s members. Upon reaching the age of 18, the young players will be offered full membership.
Elsewhere, the golf club has invited a select handful of women to join as part of its university program, previously open only to men. These include students from Trinity, UCD and Maynooth.
As a gesture of goodwill, the club has also appointed three women honorary life members. They are Ita Butler, Mary McKenna and Claire Dowling. All three are respected golfers and Curtis Cup players and captains.
A source close to the club said Portmarnock will “be open again for membership applications” later this year when it is believed that between 20 and 30 members will be invited to join.
The initial admission fee for membership in the club, which is considered one of the most prestigious in the country, is 25,000 euros.
The source said the club is unlikely to introduce a gender quota when deciding on the next round of new members.
“A significant portion of the people who are elected full members usually come from players who already have a five-day membership at the club,” the source said. “The club are still considering how to deal with this but I very much doubt there will be a gender quota. I understand they will leave it to the committee to consider potential applicants on the basis of merit.”
Nationwide, 543,000 people played golf more than once on a 9- or 18-hole golf course last year. This is 222,000 or 60 percent more than before the pandemic. A fifth of all golfers in Ireland are women, which compares well with England at 14 percent and Wales and Scotland at 12 percent.
Between 2007 and 2018 there was a gradual decline in women’s golf membership, but membership is now back to pre-Celtic Tiger levels, according to statistics from the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU).
A spokesman for Golf Ireland said: “Over the last 12 months a number of clubs have voted to go gender neutral, which has been welcomed by all.
“This is part of Golf Ireland’s core values as reflected in our recent strategic plan. We would like to see more opportunities for everyone in clubs across the island, in line with our ‘Golf for All’ philosophy.”
https://www.independent.ie/regionals/dublin/portmarnock-golf-club-admits-women-and-girls-as-men-only-era-ends-41538407.html Portmarnock Golf Club admits women and girls as male-only era ends