No Man's Land

September 15, 2002

It's out-and-out discrimination! To be barred from a golf club
based on your genitals is an outrage! And for 78 years now!

Augusta National? Nah. The Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto.
Since it opened in 1924, the Ladies' Golf Club has never had a
male member. Thousands of men have wanted to join. Are you
kidding? You'd give your left Titleist to be a member. The course
is gorgeous! Located on the outskirts of Toronto, it's lined with
huge trees and has steep elevations.

But unless you have ovaries, don't even apply.

I know. I tried. The waiting list is one year--unless you're a
man, in which case the waiting list is forever and a year.

"We do not accept men," the receptionist said when I called.
"However, if you know a member, she can sponsor you to become a
guest-card holder. If you're approved, you can play before 8:30
a.m. and after noon, except on weekends, when you can play after
3. And you pay full greens fees as well."

Wait a second. Restricted tee times? Extra fees? What am I, some
kind of second-class citizen?

Still, I badly wanted to play the course. I did know, barely, one
member, Sandy Guluk. Like most women, Sandy has only one thing on
her mind--golf. She plays five days a week, 36 holes if she can,
unless she can play 61, which she did once. She said I could join
her for one (1) round last week.

Driving up to the course, it hits you that the Ladies' Golf Club
has the most beautiful entrance north of Magnolia Lane. The
driveway weaves under the huge trees and up a hill to a graceful,
white-and-green, 82-year-old clubhouse. Seems oddly familiar,
doesn't it?

But if you happen to be a man, don't try to park in the main
lots. Those are female-only lots. Not members only, female only.
A $9 hooker asking directions can park right up front, but I had
to drive another 200 yards around back and park on gravel.

And that was just the start of the humiliation. The women's
locker room takes up almost the entire top floor of the clubhouse
and has a beautiful veranda overlooking the 18th green. The men's
locker room is way in the back, behind the pro shop. It's the
size of Gandhi's closet--one lousy urinal, no TV, no radio, one
crummy golf painting on the wall, no shoeshine guy and no
attendant.

"We're lucky we have this," said guest-card holder Bruce North.
"Until three years ago all we had was an old shack. There weren't
any showers or lockers. You just hung your clothes on a hook. We
used to have to sneak beer in and keep it on ice."

Men aren't allowed on the driving range. Or at the member-guest
events. Husbands and boyfriends are not allowed on the grounds
without a member. And you can just guess how many times men ask
to play through.

"They better not," said one of the club's 650 members. "Or they
get the boot!"

Women are pigs.

Sandy was polite, but there was tension from the start. Our group
included a seventysomething woman, and Sandy had to ask, in a
whisper, if she'd mind playing with a you-know-what.

"A what?" the old lady yelled.

Sandy whispered louder.

"A man?" the old lady creaked. Then she peeked around Sandy's
elbow, glared at me, crinkled her nose and said, "I guess."

This joint makes Augusta seem like the ACLU.

Twice Sandy found my ball 50 yards behind where I was looking.
"Typical male," she muttered. And she didn't seem to appreciate
the little chipping tip I gave her. "Just like my husband," I
think she grumbled.

Still, it was such a good course. Why should some old-girls'
network keep men out? True, it's believed to be the only
ladies-only private golf club in North America, but, hell, 78
years from now there could be another!

Men, let the girlcott begin. Until this is resolved, withhold
sex. When your wife brings you your home-cooked dinner, refuse
thirds. Upon settling into your Barcalounger, snap it back
brusquely.

Look, any Neanderthal knows it's wrong to keep women out of
Augusta National. As soon as Martha Burk can find a woman willing
to eat peach cobbler with a lot of dandruffs wearing flammable
green coats, I say let her in.

As soon as they let one of us into theirs.

COLOR PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA

The waiting list to get into the Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto is
one year--unless you're a male, in which case it's forever and a
year.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)