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I vote we put golf on a new course

REGULAR moths to this puny flame of a column will have detected my disregard - ignorance, if I'm honest - of topicality, the meat and drink of daily newspapers.

But in this instance I am bucking the trend, piqued by the latest developments in what is by far my favourite sport: golf.

ICYMI (Twitterspeak for "in case you missed it", yo), the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews - the arbiters of this titanically stunted game - this week announced it is to ballot its 2500 members on the abolition of its men-only policy. Commendably, in a move as predictable as Vladimir Putin being appointed the chairman of CND, the R&A wants members to vote in favour of the proposal, which is scheduled to take place the same month Tom Watson and his American corsairs try to wrest the Ryder Cup from Paul McGinley's swashbuckling Europeans.

Now. The playing of golf is what I love. Few activities make my heart chirrup as sweetly as when I'm swinging well and scooting round a bonnie park in the fewest shots possible. All golfers will know what I mean. Non-golfers? They should try it.

But the administration of the sport and the nature of many of its devotees - stubbornly orthodox, petty-minded, officious - are the biggest turn-off since the day Tony Curtis went behind a shed on the set of Some Like It Hot for a swift wazz and found a freshly relieved Marilyn Monroe tucking her family jewels back into her Y-fronts.

So, I applaud the R&A's goal. Even if all it means is there will be more X chromosomes among those sheltering golf from the ghastly realities - sexual and racial equality, human rights - of modern life.

My beef is this, though: in my experience a good number of women golfers (lady golfers if we're using the sport's passé parlance) are as obsessed with asserting their seniority over the Baldricks of the game as their male counterparts.

An example. My playing partner and I were once harangued by a female club official after one of us dared to retake a putt on the 18th green in a bounce game. "Practice shots are not allowed!" she screeched before droning on about respect for the course. All this, addressed to two of the club's most diligent repairers of others' pitch marks, men whose replacement of divots borders on OCD, both unseen habits for which we neither seek nor receive gratitude.

In golf, gender inequality isn't even half the battle, and while the likely abolition of the R&A's men-only policy will be a wedge in the right direction, a booming drive is required.

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