Please read the article from the Chicago Tribune about Butler National posted here on Chicago Golf Guy, prior to reading this Opinion post.
Should Butler National Golf Club change its current membership status as a Men’s only club? According to the poll currently running at the time of this post on the Chicago Tribune’s website, the answer is no (roughly 52% believe that Butler National should not change). Are Men’s only clubs a thing of the past? Should the PGA Tour be able to pressure clubs to change their private views? Should clubs exist that discriminate again race, sex, or creed? What say you Chicago Golf Guy?
Well let me lay it on you… After being a member at a private golf course, and dealing with the trials and tribulations of the private club, my answer is yes. Yes, a private club should be able to cater to whomever they want. There should be a club out there for each and every one of us, and Butler National does fill a void for golfers. I am not saying that it is ok to discriminate. But it is ok to put a club out there, and then whomever fits that club can join. For example: Should the chess club also accommodate players who only know how to play checkers, because it is not fair to the checker players that the snooty chess players will not play their game? Should a basketball court be shortened for the elderly that wish to only play on a hoop that is 7 feet high? My point being that if you start a club, and only want like minded people in your club, that you should be able to start that club.
So now the questions stands, should the PGA Tour allow major golf tournaments to clubs that are not open to everyone. Well they already do. Most of the PGA Tour is played on private clubs that are discriminatory on their choice of members. The PGA is ok with private only golf courses as long the discrimination is not written out for everyone to see. As long as the private courses allow one or two “different” members then they can host a major tournament. If you put a sign out front that says “no one eye one armed flying purple people eaters” you cannot host an event for a major golf tournament. If you allow one purple people eater, and then no others, you can host an event. That seems like a band aid on a bullet wound to me.
I say let clubs like Butler National exists as they are. If they decide that its a men only club, and they can afford to do so, it should be their right. Is the PGA Tour really doing right by saying its ok to host here because 1 or 2 members of this private club are “different” from rest. But its not ok to host here because they have no “different” members in the PGA Tour’s eyes?
My belief is that there is no perfect situation when it comes to the social classes of golf. The rich play perfect golf courses, and pay dearly for it. The poor play dog tracks at twilight, because that’s what they can afford. The Chicago Golf Guy falls in the middle on the pay scale, and I’m ok with that. I would love to have a US Open or Major Golf Tournament at Butler National. And Butler National should get that US Open because it is one of the top courses in the Nation, not because of who is a member there.