St. Andrews is having to deal with the women-in-the-club issue

Let's face facts: golf is a game that's slooooooow to change. And the institutions which oversee and represent golf lead the charge -- or dig in their heels, pick your metaphor. But times, they do change, and even the most revered old-line institutions must also change ... eventually.

Last year, the United Kingdom passed the Equality Act, which basically provides for equal protection and treatment under the law of both genders. And that law slams headlong into the front door of clubs like St. Andrews, pictured above, which has a, shall we say, well-defined policy on who can get into their club (certain gentlemen) and who can't (everybody else).

But the Equality Act doesn't play that game, and as a result, St. Andrews is having to consider changes. Roughly speaking, that would mean one of three options:

1. Members and their male guests could come into the club, but no women whatsoever, even in the places where they're currently now permitted. In a letter to members, the club notes, with pleasant dry humor, that "mixed social events would become a thing of the past and the dining room would suffer hugely."

2. Everybody who's not a member gets kicked out of the members' lounge, which, as the club notes, would deprive it of its much-needed ability to inspire envy: "The committee is concerned that this would result in a loss of the special atmosphere of the members' lounge, created by seeing guests being in awe of the club's trophies and memorabilia collection."

3. Give in to the tides of time and let everybody in everywhere. You can hear the sigh of disappointment from here, can't you?

"After much consideration and discussion," the club noted, "as well as a meeting with the past captains and trustees of the club to make them aware of the position, the committee of management is recommending that option three be adopted as the best way, in their opinion, of safeguarding the long-term wellbeing of St Andrews Golf Club."

The club, which dates to 1843, has never had a female member. Club members will decide in late May how to proceed.

St. Andrews Golf Club wrestles with implications of Equality Act [The Courier]