We’ve followed the saga of Kasumigaseki Country Club and their, shall we say, reticence to grant women full membership. Now, new developments.
Normally, private clubs do as private clubs do, but this particular venue is slated to host the golf portion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, hence the steady pressure to join modernity.
In an exclusive report for Reuters, Kwiyeon Ha writes that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has firmly put its foot down: Admit women or we’re taking the competition elsewhere.
Most recently, the forward-thinking folks at Kasumigaseki sat down in the form of a board meeting to adjust the regulation that forbids women from full membership, as well as playing on Sundays. Unfortunately, the gentlemen were deadlocked.
Vice President John Coates, who heads the coordination commission, told Reuters he and the IOC only learned of the club’s antiquated policy during a visit to Tokyo late last year.
“We made quite clear that there has to be gender equality,” Coates said. “If they can’t achieve the gender equality then we have to get another course, but the organizers are very confident that they will.”
Coates remarks are the first public confirmation of what had been suspected: the IOC is leaning hard on Kasumigaseki to get with the (Olympic) program. If they don’t, they won’t be the host venue.
For his part, Coates doesn’t sound too concerned, and you have to admire his frankness. “They either will or they won’t,” he said. “There’s plenty of time to move to another golf course if we have to.”
Indeed. Will they or won’t they? That probably depends on whether the membership feels the sacrificing of their principles is worth the hefty Olympic payout. And since they’re already, you know, rich, it’s possible they’ll vote to keep Sundays for the boys at all costs.
The shocking history of women on the front cover of Golf Digest’s magazine