East Lothian golf club slammed over its ‘restrictive’ dress code for women

An East Lothian golf club once dubbed ‘the world’s stodgiest men’s club’ has landed in the rough once again after telling a female journalist she must wear a ‘jacket or a long-sleeved dress’, if wishing to attend the media day for the AIG Women’s Open.

By Gary Flockhart
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 7:00 pm

Hannah Holden, who is equipment editor for the National Club Golfer website as well as a keen golfer, was stunned to receive an invitation to the media day at Muirfield Golf Club stating the strict dress code for event.

Ms Holden said it was “disappointing” that the Gullane golf club, which is hosting the Open just five years after voting to admit women members for the first time, had been chosen to host the prestigious event.

The invitation read: 'The dress code will be smart/casual or golf attire for the morning and pre-golf. Post-golf would be jacket and tie for men, jacket or longsleeved dress for women'.

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Hannah Holden, right, was stunned to receive an invitation to the media day at Muirfield stating the strict dress code for event.

In a post on Twitter, Miss Holden said: “It’s 2022 yet to go to a dinner at Muirfield Golf Club I have to cover my arms and shoulders?

“Why is the Women’s Open at a course that clearly wants to restrict women and only let them be members so they didn’t lose the Open

“Plenty of other clubs that would love to host!”

She continued: “Also to be clear, I am not attending this event and I would not feel comfortable going to Muirfield because of their opinions and views on women.

“As a female golfer I am often put in the position when I am unwelcome or questioned in golf due to my gender.

“How many women are we alienating and losing in this game because of that attitude across golf.

“We cannot change history, and many places had a men-only policy in the past, but there are plenty of clubs that are much more progressive and are actually making an effort.”

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Speaking later to the Daily Mail, Miss Holden said: “Initially your instinct is to be shocked but then you realise it has come from Muirfield and it's kind of what you expect.

“There are a lot of words to say ‘dress smart’ and ‘be formal’ without specifying an exact type of item of clothing.

“When was the last time you got told what to wear? You should be allowed to be trusted without it having to be so specific and restrictive.”

She added: “Obviously they have a very old-fashioned stance on golf in general. The way they picked out women and a specific item of clothing doesn't look great on their front.”

Muirfield was immediately removed from the Open Championship rota after a first vote on admitting women members narrowly failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required in May 2016.

It was restored in March 2017 when the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which owns and runs Muirfield, announced that the rule change had been passed by 498 votes to 123 after a second ballot.

The move meant the club, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, was reinstated as a host of the Open.

A spokesperson for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers said: “Unfortunately, there was an error in the information that was given to journalists invited to this event.

“The dress code for lunch or specially arranged dinners at the club is jacket and tie for male members and jacket or sleeved dress for female members. All dress code decisions in the club are carried out in consultation with both the female and male members.”

"The dress code for lunch or specially arranged dinners at the club is jacket and tie for male members and jacket or sleeved dress for female members. All dress code decisions in the club are carried out in consultation with both the female and male members.”