Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Chicago: The New Capitol of Golf Misogyny
Butler National hosted the prestigious Western Open from 1974-1990, and that tournament has now disappeared from the local golf radar screen. Sadly, Chicago is not hosting an annual PGA event, which is a shame because our area boasts some of the finest golf courses in the world, and Chicago golf fans are some of the most rabid--note the huge crowds at Medinah for the Ryder Cup last fall.
But Chicago is also a bastion of misogyny, with Bob O’Link and Old Elm golf clubs in Highland Park and Black Sheep Golf Club in Sugar Grove all banning women. Bob O'Link, which boasts former Bears coach Mike Ditka as a member, supposedly paid $250,000 to move its gas meter outside of the country club gates. Apparently NICOR's meter reader was a woman and was entering the grounds to read the meter located next to the club house. These jerk weeds didn't want any woman anywhere near their circle-jerk clubhouse so they paid the $250,000 to put the meter outside of the gate because no women are allowed on Bob O'Link grounds.
To quote the Doors Jim Morrison, "I wonder what they do in there?"
Do these Bob O'Link members have wives? What do the wives say about Dad going to Butler every weekend? I know Ditka once said that he could get a wife anytime. That seems to be the prevailing attitude of these jokers!
The two country clubs I have been associated with, Soangetaha and Crystal Lake, are family clubs where mom, dad, and the kids can go and enjoy the golf course, pool, tennis courts, card room, and restaurant.
But Butler National, even in the face of falling off of a fiscal cliff, refuses to change its no-woman policy. Heck, even Augusta National has two women members now, Condi Rice and Darla Moore. If the racists and misogynists at Augusta can admit women, you'd think that sophisticated Chicago business executives would right this extreme wrong at Butler National.
However, even the so-called family country clubs still have antiquated anti-women policies. The wife and I were playing at Illini Country Club in Springfield a few years ago, and we wandered into the club's basement grill room. "Can we get some lunch?" the wife asked the male bartender. "Your husband can, but you can't" he replied. "This room is for men only. Our members like to come in here wearing a towel after their showers and have a drink. Women are not allowed."
I had to get the wife out of there pronto before she caused a scene so we walked upstairs and had lunch in the country club's restaurant. But the wife still seethes when I bring up our Illini grill room experience.
And isn't the whole concept of male-only clubs antiquated? Most public and private golf courses have ladies' days so there is never a problem with male golfers having to wait for women playing in front of them. At Soangetaha the women play on Tuesday nights, Thursday mornings, and early on Saturdays. No one complains because the schedule has existed forever.
If women are playing bridge in the Soangetaha grill room, the waitress closes the door so no one is disturbed in the other part of the restaurant. Men and women co-exist in peace.
Surely, there must be women corporate executives in Chicago who can afford the six-figure Butler National initiation fee. And surely these women would be an asset to this very exclusive country club.
I just want the Western Open to return to Butler. Former TV analyst and former U.S. Open champion Ken Venturi once called the Western Open "Golf's fifth major." Let's hope the Butler members have a change of heart and let women join and then persuade the PGA to bring back the Western.
Chicago deserves a yearly PGA event.