Ivan Morris column - Castletroy celebrate stunning success

The advantage gained from playing at home on a course that is renowned for its ‘difficulty,’ from a visitor’s standpoint, only partially explains the stunning performances by Castletroy’s women golfers last weekend in the Munster District Finals of the ILGU Cups & Shields.

The advantage gained from playing at home on a course that is renowned for its ‘difficulty,’ from a visitor’s standpoint, only partially explains the stunning performances by Castletroy’s women golfers last weekend in the Munster District Finals of the ILGU Cups & Shields.

To reach the Munster finals stage, teams were sent into the highways and byways of the province but it was worth the effort because Castletroy’s women captured four pennants in great style with four wins out four when they eventually returned to the familiarity of their home turf – even more extraordinary is that no Castletroy player lost a match!

The new provincial champions will now play in the ‘All-Irelands’ at Courtown, County Wexford on September 26th – 29th.

Senior Foursomes - Castletroy 21/2; Douglas ½. Douglas names first - Aoife Lane (5) & Deirdre O’Hanlon (10) lost to Fiona Corbett (6) & Ethna Leonard (10), 2/1. Tara Gribben (3) & Wendy Daly (13) halved with Shirley Real (6) & Marian Cummins (11). Kate McCann (3) & Deirdre O’Sullivan (13) lost to Anne Marie Byrne (10) & Mary Crowley (9) 3/2.

Junior Foursomes - Castletroy 21/2; East Cork 1/2
- Castletroy names first - Kathleen Argue (17) & Gwynne Walsh (19) defeated Grace McGrath (16) & Sylvia Phelan (19),
4/3. Eimear Cregan (17) & Catherine Byrne (19) defeated Breda Farrell (18) & Fiona Morrison (17), 3/1. Anne McCarthy (18) & Rachel Maher (18) halved with Theresa Roche (15) & Sel O’ Leary (21).

Junior Cup – Castletroy 3; Cork 1. Castletroy names first - Mary Crowley (9) defeated Miriam Abernethy (8), 5/4. Ethna Leonard (10) defeated Mary Lowney (9), 3/2. Anne Marie Byrne (10) defeated Michelle Tobin (11), 4/3. Marian Cummins (11) and Deirdre Deasy (11) halved. Yvonne Cassidy (12) and Amanda Welch (11) halved.

Challenge Cup - Macroom 1; Castletroy 3 – (Macroom names first)
Ann Downey (30) lost to Ena Storen (30), 3/2; 
Meadhbh Loughrey (33) lost to Aine Quinn (30), 1 hole; Noreen O’Sullivan (33) lost to Michele Magnier (31) 2/1; Norma Fitzgerald (33) halved with Miriam Ingerton (31); Margaret Keating (35) halved with Mary Bermingham (31).

Munster Girls Triumph - for the first time since 1992 the Munster girl’s team won the Interprovincial title at Ballinrobe two weeks ago. Bodyle can be especially proud that they are producing stars of the future in Ciara Magill and Tara Whelan, representing East Clare. Lisa O’Shea represented Shannon GC but County Limerick had no girl on the team.

Mags Hayes (Tralee) was an inspiring team captain and Mary Crowley (Castletroy) an able team manager.

Men Only Golf Clubs

I’VE never been a member of a men-only golf club and feel in no way diminished by it.

After all, my mother was a keen golfer. My wife loves the game. My two daughters played golf growing up and although they don’t play now would have little resistance when the circumstances are opportune.

The news that Augusta National has opened its doors to two female members put the spotlight on other men only golf clubs that steadfastly resist change. Portmarnock springs to mind.

I admit that I once gave serious thought to joining the iconic North Dublin club. The idea of it being ‘men-only’ was not the deterrent. I’d have gladly joined for the quality of the golfing experience and contributed my penny worth towards changing the ‘woman’ situation if the opportunity arose.

In my opinion, Portmarnock is probably the best in Ireland when it comes to the overall playing standard of its large membership and the quality of apres-golf talk but I just couldn’t darn afford it! I would have rejoiced at the chance to sharpen my skills in such an environment. I’d have been concentrating so hard that not laying eyes on a woman out on the course would not have registered.

Upon reflection, I’m not proud of that admission because I would have little patience with men who say that they simply don’t want women (or juniors) around - that they inhibit them or somehow diminish the ‘golf experience.’ Women can also be serious golfers. There’s no reason why a woman would not appreciate the ‘challenges’ of courses like Portmarnock.

While I may go along with the philosophy of being a member of a golf club rather than a social club, where the playing of the game is the most important (even, the only thing) I don’t see why a woman could not be as serious about her golf as me, or any man, and be accepted as such.

Women golfers have their faults but so do men and I don’t see the two sexes as oil and water in a golf context.

If Augusta National GC wanted to claim the high moral ground of being instrumental in ‘growing the game’, it was incongruous and self-defeating for it to be men-only.

It deserves a kicking for being so slow about changing the status quo. Why stop at two women?

I also believe that people have the right to join any club they choose, and a private club has the legal right to determine its membership rules even with a gender bias but if they do, they must forfeit their self-claimed leadership role. R & A take note!