PRANKSTERS have taken a swing at Muirfield’s men-only policy – by pinning a “Welcome to Jurassic Park” banner on the famous golf club’s gates.
The East Lothian course has announced a second vote on letting women join, with a result expected next month.
Bookmaker Paddy Power’s cheeky publicity stunt labelling members “dinosaurs” drew support after club officials hastily took down the banner.
“I think it’s always important to meet prejudice and misogyny with wit and humour, so hats off to Paddy Power for a true piece of marketing,” said Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton.
“This is still a bit of a black mark on Scotland’s national game and pressure should be brought to bear on this type of attitude which should’ve been consigned to the 1950s.”
The Muirfield club drew fire in May last year after the first vote saw a majority in favour, but fell just short of the two-thirds of members needed to change the rules and allow women to join as members.
Golfing authorities were quick to act, with the R&A swiftly removing the club from the lucrative roster of those to host the Open championship.
Paddy Power claimed the stunt was a bid to encourage members to “do the right thing” in the re-run. It also offered odds on the result – a No vote was installed as 1/2 favourite, with a Yes at 6/4.
In a statement, Paddy Power said: “The decision last May to not admit female members was about as progressive as a Donald Trump policy, and unsurprisingly it’s driven a wedge between stuffy members and the outside world.
“While Muirfield members bury their heads in the sand this time round, we thought we’d prod the beast with our Jurassic sign.
“To be honest we were a bit scared when one of the dinosaurs stormed out to take our sign down, but overall it was a roaring success.”
The Evening News reported in December on a joke plaque “banning” Muirfield members from a bench in West Princes Street Gardens “by order of the female population”.
Greats including Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson have all clinched the Claret Jug at the Gullane club, hosting its last of 16 titles in 2013.
No-one was available for comment from Muirfield, but the club has previously said members are being urged to allow women to join.
A press release issued by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which owns and runs Muirfield, said: “The postal ballot will be independently scrutinised and the outcome is expected to be announced in mid-March 2017.
“Voting in favour of the resolution to admit women as Members is recommended, unanimously, by the captain, captain nominate and the club committee of the Honourable Company.”